What I Saw

11 Σεπ 2022

Antonio Mondaini, alias Namindiu, in Cyprus in 1785, was discussing with a priest the method of inoculation in the island.

Antonio Mondaini, alias Namindiu, in Cyprus in 1785, was discussing with a priest the method of inoculation in the island.

When there is an epidemic, the mothers are looking for a healthy and stout boy who has benign smallpox, they choose from his body the crusts derived from the best bubbles and when these crusts are on the point of being detached, these women give it to their children in two ways. Some take from 8-12 in proportion to the constitution and age of the children and skillfully put them in the soup and make them eat it. If they are babies who are still milking, they reduce five or six of these crusts into powder and give it to them infused in a small spoonful of milk.

After 5, 7, 9, 11, till 15 days and sometime according to old experienced women, and aged of 21, 34 to 40 years, the disease is announced by means of a moderated fever which lasts 24 to 48 hours maximum. It is so light it brings neither fatigue nor requires confinement to bed. This is followed by a rush of 10, 15, up to 100 bubbles which spreads over the whole body.

-In which way do you have to prepare the children to be inoculated? I asked.

-Nothing, he replied, you must only see that the child is in good health and from certain signs you must understand that their blood is healthy and calm; they take care to feed them frugally and healthily from the moment they dispense the crusts till the suppuration and they leave it to the cure of Nature.

-Tell me, what should they eat during their disease?

-From the beginning till the end bread and almonds, with almond cream and boiled rice with a bit of olive oil, for drink, pure water or an infusion of barley and when the suppuration comes, ordinary food and they are promptly healed and preserved from any danger; the one that you see here is in full suppuration and he eats everything.

-As far as I am concerned, he said, even if I am obliged to conform my feelings to the orders of the Church, which pronounced the Anathema against these fathers and mothers who expose their sons to inoculation, I willingly close my eyes to the punishment they risk, because I prefer to see them keeping their children alive instead of losing them.

The 'What I saw...' series is made possible with the support of OPAP Cyprus.

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