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Photojournalism

El Curandero de San Eli

The man led me into his house before I gave him much of an explanation for why I was there.

He walked me over to his kitchen table and sat down comfortably, strapped on his portable oxygen and asked what I wanted to know.

“What’s your name?” I asked.

He answered, “Juan Ricardo Sioux Kessler Muños De la Rosa Campos Chavez”.

Feel free to insert hyphens wherever you deem necessary.

Around his neighborhood in San Elizario, he is more commonly known as Don Juan. He is a curandero, or witch doctor.

He was born in San Elizario, the small town on the outskirts of El Paso, and has lived there his whole life, practicing his brand of folk-medicine since the age of nine. The sun rises facing his front porch and sets across his back yard. The edge of his land is marked by the U.S.-Mexico fence.

“It makes a nice sound when the wind is blowing. . . It makes a nice song,” Don Juan said.

Border Patrol agents drive up and down the levees of the river a few meters away from his cows and horses.

Don Juan’s first act of curanderismo and awakening of his power happened when his sister suddenly and inexplicably went blind. She wailed and moaned but none believed her. Don Juan (or little 9-year-old Juanito, at that point) grabbed his sister by the hair and bumped her head repeatedly against the floor. She began to gag. Juanito reached into her mouth and pulled out a wad of hair the size of a fist from his sister’s throat. Her sight returned to her. Those who witnessed the event were awed.

Don Juan explains that his sister had been hexed with a poisoned piece of gum she had eaten earlier; the act of a vengeful in-law.

Since then, he continued practicing his works. He had no formal lessons or master (sensei?) of curanderismo. He professes his wisdom to come directly from up above.

“I talk to the Creator,” Don Juan says about his ability. “They put it in my head and i just  play it like I’m a guacamaya. . . a parrot. I repeat what they tell me, the spirits and the elders. My forefathers.”

He is quick to point out that his ability is present only at the whim of God.

“I cannot do anything if I do not have God on my side,” Don Juan said.

Although people from time to time come to Don Juan with supernatural ailments, the greater portion of his work deals with health problems. He heals everything from simple colds to stomach problems to dislocated joints to cancer.  He’s cured it all.

At all times during his curing sessions, Don Juan prays to God. He lays down the patient and holds his hands over them, speaking to God and asking for his guidance. He calls the Our Father prayer the most perfect prayer.

Don Juan prescribes herbal teas to his patients with instructions on how to take them.

“If I make a contract with you, you ask me for help , I will do as long as it is is God’s best interest and for you to get well, so you can go forward. Get along and pay your bills. Take care of your family. I will help you,” Don Juan said.

c/s

-Raymundo Aguirre

 

-UPDATE-
Because plenty of people have asked to meet with Don Juan I’d like to provide an address:
13090 Petunia Drive, San Elizario, Texas, United States.
Pop that into Google maps and it’ll take you right to the spot (you might have to turn the camera around a bit).
You’ll recognize his house at once, as it is the last house at the end of the road right smack at the border of Mexico and U.S.A.
Outside his house is a large teepee, a statue of a buffalo, a POW/MIA flag, and a collection of old cars.
You seriously can’t miss it if you’re in the area.
If I can find a phone number later, I’ll get that to you,
but for now (as I am living in a different continent now) this is the best I can do.
I really hope this helps in some way.
I’d really like to apologize for not getting this information to you sooner.

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About rayaguirre3

I grew up in San Elizario, a few miles outside of El Paso, Texas. My affair with photography started with the disposable cameras I'd carry everywhere. As the years went by and the cameras got bigger, I became known as the guy with the lens in people's faces. Photography is known to be the art of capturing the moment. I love to be the one who seeks that moment out. Much like life and love, photography is based on perspective. My aim is to provide a new one.

Discussion

12 thoughts on “El Curandero de San Eli

  1. Were can I locate Don Juan of san Eli

    Posted by gabriel | February 19, 2012, 7:33 am
    • Hello, again!
      I was able to find his approximate address through Google maps.

      Address -13090 Petunia Drive, San Elizario, Texas, United States.

      Pop that into Google maps and it’ll take you right to the spot (you might have to turn the camera around a bit).
      You’ll recognize his house at once, as it is the last house at the end of the road right smack at the border of Mexico and U.S.A.
      Outside his house is a large teepee, a statue of a buffalo, a POW/MIA flag, and a collection of old cars.
      You seriously can’t miss it if you’re in the area.
      If I can find a phone number later, I’ll get that to you,
      but for now (as I am living in a different continent now) this is the best I can do.
      I really hope this helps in some way,
      and I’d really like to apologize for getting this information to you sooner.
      I will post it up on the website and the video for others who might want his help as well.

      Posted by rayaguirre3 | July 18, 2013, 7:31 am
  2. Hi; I’m Debbie I live in floresville TX ; I really need your help! I’m scare;tired ;I’m getting sick worse then I am;I really need to know what’s going on with my life? Can you help me? I hear things when I’m out side; I’ve seen a lady and asked her about this and she told me somebody was doing this to me so I could lose everything and everybody so please can I go see you? Please I need help?

    Posted by deborah sauceda | February 23, 2012, 11:31 pm
    • Hello, again!
      I was able to find his approximate address through Google maps.

      Address -13090 Petunia Drive, San Elizario, Texas, United States.

      Pop that into Google maps and it’ll take you right to the spot (you might have to turn the camera around a bit).
      You’ll recognize his house at once, as it is the last house at the end of the road right smack at the border of Mexico and U.S.A.
      Outside his house is a large teepee, a statue of a buffalo, a POW/MIA flag, and a collection of old cars.
      You seriously can’t miss it if you’re in the area.
      If I can find a phone number later, I’ll get that to you,
      but for now (as I am living in a different continent now) this is the best I can do.
      I really hope this helps in some way,
      and I’d really like to apologize for getting this information to you sooner.
      I will post it up on the website and the video for others who might want his help as well.

      Posted by rayaguirre3 | July 18, 2013, 7:33 am
  3. Dear Don Juan
    I am a descendant of Teodoro Holguin of Ysleta,Texas I was so happy when I saw your story on You Tube. I was wondering what can help me with Type2 Diabetes and High Blood Pressure. It was on both sides of my family. It would truly be a dream come true to know the family inYsleta as I have no idea who the are as I was born and raised in Southern California and i would like to come back to my roots and learn the old traditions and healing remedies that go way back in time.
    Muchisimas Gracias Don Juan Y que Dios Te Bendiga siempre.

    Posted by John Edward Erwin | September 19, 2012, 4:56 am
    • Hello, again!
      I was able to find his approximate address through Google maps.

      Address -13090 Petunia Drive, San Elizario, Texas, United States.

      Pop that into Google maps and it’ll take you right to the spot (you might have to turn the camera around a bit).
      You’ll recognize his house at once, as it is the last house at the end of the road right smack at the border of Mexico and U.S.A.
      Outside his house is a large teepee, a statue of a buffalo, a POW/MIA flag, and a collection of old cars.
      You seriously can’t miss it if you’re in the area.
      If I can find a phone number later, I’ll get that to you,
      but for now (as I am living in a different continent now) this is the best I can do.
      I really hope this helps in some way,
      and I’d really like to apologize for getting this information to you sooner.
      I will post it up on the website and the video for others who might want his help as well.

      Posted by rayaguirre3 | July 18, 2013, 7:33 am
  4. I will like to locate Don Juan. could you give us an address and a phone number.

    Posted by ginette bocanegra | December 11, 2012, 12:07 am
    • Hello, again!
      I was able to find his approximate address through Google maps.

      Address -13090 Petunia Drive, San Elizario, Texas, United States.

      Pop that into Google maps and it’ll take you right to the spot (you might have to turn the camera around a bit).
      You’ll recognize his house at once, as it is the last house at the end of the road right smack at the border of Mexico and U.S.A.
      Outside his house is a large teepee, a statue of a buffalo, a POW/MIA flag, and a collection of old cars.
      You seriously can’t miss it if you’re in the area.
      If I can find a phone number later, I’ll get that to you,
      but for now (as I am living in a different continent now) this is the best I can do.
      I really hope this helps in some way,
      and I’d really like to apologize for getting this information to you sooner.
      I will post it up on the website and the video for others who might want his help as well.

      Posted by rayaguirre3 | July 18, 2013, 7:32 am
  5. how can i contact him ?? please

    Posted by karla | January 28, 2013, 7:18 pm
    • Hello, again!
      I was able to find his approximate address through Google maps.

      Address -13090 Petunia Drive, San Elizario, Texas, United States.

      Pop that into Google maps and it’ll take you right to the spot (you might have to turn the camera around a bit).
      You’ll recognize his house at once, as it is the last house at the end of the road right smack at the border of Mexico and U.S.A.
      Outside his house is a large teepee, a statue of a buffalo, a POW/MIA flag, and a collection of old cars.
      You seriously can’t miss it if you’re in the area.
      If I can find a phone number later, I’ll get that to you,
      but for now (as I am living in a different continent now) this is the best I can do.
      I really hope this helps in some way,
      and I’d really like to apologize for getting this information to you sooner.
      I will post it up on the website and the video for others who might want his help as well.

      Posted by rayaguirre3 | July 18, 2013, 7:32 am
  6. where can i find don juan i really need help

    Posted by matthew parker | February 3, 2013, 2:35 pm
    • Hello, again!
      I was able to find his approximate address through Google maps.

      Address -13090 Petunia Drive, San Elizario, Texas, United States.

      Pop that into Google maps and it’ll take you right to the spot (you might have to turn the camera around a bit).
      You’ll recognize his house at once, as it is the last house at the end of the road right smack at the border of Mexico and U.S.A.
      Outside his house is a large teepee, a statue of a buffalo, a POW/MIA flag, and a collection of old cars.
      You seriously can’t miss it if you’re in the area.
      If I can find a phone number later, I’ll get that to you,
      but for now (as I am living in a different continent now) this is the best I can do.
      I really hope this helps in some way,
      and I’d really like to apologize for getting this information to you sooner.
      I will post it up on the website and the video for others who might want his help as well.

      Posted by rayaguirre3 | July 18, 2013, 7:33 am

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