“You’ll be fine, sister. Just let it go.”
The comforting words didn’t come from my BFF, but a Peruvian xamã: a small, dark man with kind eyes, and colourful clothing that stressed his Inca features. Clothing that I was now using to clean my wet face while sitting in the garden of an ancient monastery in Cusco Vieja.
We have just been through a game of coca leaf reading, under a grey, about-to rain sky. For the past 45 minutes, the xamã had told stories about the Inca people from the Peruvian Andes, about how they lived before Europeans showed up in the 16th century. He sang a few songs and told tales about animals, plants, elements. Then, he gave me a few small, dry coca leaves to chew and spread more of it over a piece of cloth and under a small rock.