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Daniela

Doña Daniela asked us not to record her image. So, we recorded her voice, and took photos of the medicinal plants she was showing us. When we asked her why, she told us that the local priest and religious sisterhood would deny her communion if they knew that she was actively practicing her healing work. But she was proud of her garden, where she grows over 35 medicinal plants. She is an herbalist who specializes in preparing botellas (plant extractions). She lives in a small, conservative community in the central mountain region of the DR. Her husband died, but she continues to live in their home, raising her grandsons and surviving on her healing work and the small amounts of money her son is able to bring to her through his informal labor. The main issues Daniela encounters in her community are related to reproductive and sexual health – in particular among the many women who engage in sex work in other cities, and who arrive in her home seeking remedies for ailments like syphilis and gonorrhea.

Daniela shows us the camarón root, one of the many herbs used to treat syphilis.

Interviews

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El Conuco

A conuco is a traditional planting area usually located near or behind a person’s home. The organization of the conuco is rooted in indigenous knowledge, though many of the plants reflect the diversity produced by colonial trade and settlement.