Is this what is called Serendipity?
I went to see Yelfa and Garba, 'my' archivists at the Manuscript library this morning. "What's new? Any thing of interest?" I asked them as usual. Yelfa said that there was indeed something unusual which had arrived; a little treatise on traditional medecine written in Arabic but with sections in Fulani and in Bozo. And the subject matter was particularly on the treatment of cataracts!
Yelfa said the document was complete but did not have the name of an author neither the date, although it was 'very old' according to Yelfa.
It described the method in the following terms:
The bark of the root of the tree Zegene, (the wild date tree which grows at Djenne Djeno)should be cut, dried in the sun and pulverised.
Certain verses from the Koran should then be written in ink on a tablet, washed off and this liquid gathered and mixed with the pulverised Zegene root. In the morning after first prayer the eyes should be treated with this ointment, and also in the evening, after last prayer. The healing of the cataracts would take a few weeks to accomplish in this manner.
"So if it works why don't people do this then?" I asked Yelfa. He said that this recipe was very old and therefore it had perhaps been forgotten.
Should we do a clinical trial alongside the more conventional cataract operations we are planning?