Connecting with our relatives

Following the path


The Shaman’s Journey along the Milky Way

to the Land of the Hummingbird

in October 2019


This is the story of my friend and brother, George Washiru Simon and the Particular events of his life which culminated on the weekend of October 19, 2019 in Trinidad, Land of the Hummingbird.......

Bimichi. Pakuri circa 1957

The haughty Hashiru, began his journey along the Milky Way a long time ago. He learned about shamanic ways from his mother at an early age. His father, who would have been his teacher, died when he was a baby. One day when he was a child learning to walk, his mother noticed a black mole, a birthmark, in the sole of his right foot, when she was washing his feet after he had stepped in a puddle. She had not noticed it before. This was a sure sign that her son would travel to many places and visit many villages. She became anxious for his safety and wellbeing.

When he grew up she sat him down to counsel him, advising him how to behave among strangers and how to avoid possible dangers. She told him stories of powerful men and women, shaman, and how they might hurt him. ”Be careful. I have seen how a powerful shaman made a stool dance, “she warned.“ You never know who you will meet so you have to protect yourself”. She insisted. “The hummingbird is a powerful medicine and a protector”, she continued. “Get one and always keep it with you.“ she advised. On her advice, he took his slingshot and went hunting hummingbirds. He shot one which he preserved with the help of his mother. He sprayed a delicate fragrance over the bird, wrapped it in tobacco leaves and placed it in a calabash gourd for safety When he left his village, at the age of 13, to live in a town, he buried the gourd with its contents at the root of a Hiawa tree.

Kaliko, Haiti 2000

Hashiru lived in Haiti for three years.
One day while he was working in his studio he received a telephone call from his
friend who was conducting a workshop at a nearby hotel. He was asked to go over
quickly as a bird had just smashed itself on the closed glass door at the main
entrance of the hotel. He dashed over and surely, there was a bird lying on the
ground breathing heavily. It was a hummingbird. As he bent down to hold it the
bird tried to fly away but landed in a clump of bushes nearby. He went over,
picked it up and took it home with the hope that it might recover. It died in his
hand on his way home. He preserved the bird and kept it.

Georgetown, Guyana 2009

Hashiru was at the opening of a group exhibition at the National Gallery in
Georgetown. He had a few pieces of his work on show. While chatting with a
prospective buyer, his friend Everley came over to tell him that there was
someone asking for him. Having concluded his conversation with the client he
went over to Everley who was standing next to a lady. They stood transfixed by a
sculpture of a Bell Bird. The woman sported a hairstyle like Botticelli’s Simonetta
Vespucci as Nymph. Everley introduced them. She said she was interested in
acquiring the piece. Without hesitation, Harishu informed her that it wasn’t his
work. It was his brother’s.

With that he turned to leave when she remarked “Lovely shirt”
“Yes“ he replied
”Haitian“ he briskly added and marched off to his paintings.
Standing alone he reflected how rude he was to the lady. He felt impelled to
return and make an apology. He did. They exchanged pleasantries and said
They did not see each other again until after a month when she returned from a
holiday abroad.

Showing some interest in his work, he invited her to view his paintings at the
University. He had been working on a mural on a wall of the University and a
canvas in the University studio. On the canvas, he depicted a woman transformed
into a hummingbird. She offered to buy it.  It was the first of a series he depicted of women transformed into hummingbirds.

He nicknamed her Bimichi after the painting.

Tobago 2010

Bimichi gave birth to their son Kàssakku. (Lokono word that means ‘the exact
moment when night meets day).
To celebrate their wedding and the birth of their son, the family went to Tobago
for a short holiday. While in Tobago, Hashiru went for morning walks in the
garden. There was a large benab in the garden which was used for yoga classes.
One morning he arrived at the benab very early to register for the yoga class. No
one showed up that morning so he decided to do some exercises on his own. He
laid on the wooden floor with his eyes closed in meditation. Moments later he
heard a sound as if an object that fallen from the roof of the building. He ignored
it and continued his meditation. Another object hit the floor. Again, he ignored it,
trying to concentrate. A third object hit the floor. Thinking that someone was
throwing objects at him from behind the bushes, he sat up and looked around
carefully, scrutinizing his surroundings. There was no one in sight. Looking down
he noticed on the floor little black objects. He stepped over to inspect them and
to his amazement the objects turned out to be hummingbirds! Five dead birds!
Indeed they had fallen from the roof of the benab. He collected them and took
them back to his apartment to preserve them.

Since then, he has carefully taken care of the birds including the one from Haiti,
and has taken them with him when he lived in Mexico and Paraguay. They are
now with him in Spain.

Trinidad 2017

Hashiru, the archaeologist, received an email from a building firm in Trinidad one
Wednesday morning. He was invited to travel to Trinidad urgently as they had
encountered human bones in the basement of Red House, where they had been
excavating. He landed in Trinidad on a Friday morning and spent Saturday
inspecting the site. He left Sunday and was back in Paraguay on Monday morning.
That encounter was extended to a 6 month contract with the firm to overlook the
excavation and to report any human skeletal remains.

Trinidad 2019

Harishiru received an invitation in early October to participate in a ceremony to
rebury the bones excavated from under the basement of the Red House.
Accepting the invitation he traveled to Trinidad arriving at midnight on October

The ceremony took place on Saturday, October 19 th At the ceremony he was
being introduced to invitees when something profound happened.

A tall gentleman dressed in white and wearing a feather headdress came
marching across towards him, smiling and with hands outstretched. He
approached Hashiru and handed him a cigar.

“Ba tuca” he said in Lokono, meaning enjoy a smoke. Hashiru accepted and puffed
at the cigar. Handing it back the gentleman waved his hands in his direction
indicating that Hashiru must blow tobacco smoke on him. Hashiru obliged and
blew the smoke on his head, front and back. Again Hashiru tried passing the cigar
back to him. He objected saying ”Tra to be mo“ meaning that’s for you.
Without introducing themselves the two men embraced and sealed a friendship.
The gentleman provided Hashiru with cigars for the rest of the day!

Hashiru did not see the gentleman again until the next day at the Carib Center.
Several foreign guests gathered at the Centre to say goodbye. Some were
travelling home that evening. Hashiru took the opportunity to sit with his new
friend for a chat. They introduced themselves formally.
Standing up, the gentleman extended his hand to Farusha saying,
“I am Francisco. I’m from Suriname


Hashiru introduced himself and sat down. Two other men joined them. They
introduced themselves as assistants to Frederico. They told Hashiru that Frederico
was a Lokono shaman. Hashiru almost choked with disbelief! He was overtaken by
joy to know that his Lokono people did not lose their spirituality altogether. He
felt very honoured to be in the company of a Lokono Shaman.

They chatted for a long while. He wanted to know Hashiru better. Spontaneously,
Hashiru looked the shaman in the eyes and I said “I have cancer”. The shaman
smiled. He was unruffled! In his limited English he said, “I’ll do something for you”
and held Hashiru by the hand and led him outside to the far corner of the yard, in
the darkness. Night had fallen. His assistants followed. There all they stood in a
circle. The shaman held both Hashiru’s hands and said “I’ll pray for you and bless
you with tobacco smoke”. They all joined hands as the shaman chanted in

He got a cigar from his pouch, lighted it and began to smoke. He moved
over to Hashiru and blessed him with the smoke. When he finished, he smiled and
placed his hands on Hashiru’s shoulder and said “I want to do a long ceremony for

you tomorrow.” Hashiru felt honoured and humbly accepted his offer. They
agreed to meet at Hashiru’s apartment at 9 o’clock the next morning.

Lokono Medicine Man

The Milky Way (Hariraro waboroko...The White Way)


Monday 21 Nov. 2019

The three men arrived on time as promised. They sat under a mango tree in the
garden. The Shaman asked Hashiru to provide several fragrances, flowers, a large
container and several bottles of beer. The shaman provided snacks and tobacco.
These were his contributions to the ceremony. While Hashiru and one of the
assistants went shopping for fragrances and beer, the other assistant collected
flowers in a large plastic bucket from the garden amidst buzzing hummingbirds.
The shaman filled the bucket containing the flowers with water and stirred it with
his hand. He began to chant in Lokono. He then emptied the fragrances in the
water and continued stirring it. While doing this, an assistant lighted a cigar and
placed it in the Shaman’s mouth; he puffed and blew smoke on the mixture while
he stirred it. A beautiful fragrance emerged causing havoc among the

They came recklessly close and fearlessly encircled the men! the shaman passed a cigar and a calabash of beer around. They each puffed and blessed themselves with smoke and took sips of beer. Eventually, the shaman ushered Hashiru and his assistants to the root of the tree. They stood there in a circle with the bucket of water in the center. The ceremony began in earnest.

During the ceremony after he chanted, prayed, blew tobacco smoke and he washed Hashiru with beer. The shaman sat Hashiru down in front of him for a chat. Looking directly into
Hashiru eyes, the Shaman said:  “I know you. I saw you in Orealla when I was 17. I watched you come off the boat, walk through the village and climbed the hill. You stayed in a house on the hill “ “Yes, I did stay in a house on the hill when I first visited Orialla some years ago”
astonished Hashiru replied. “I had family in Orealla who moved there many years
ago from my village”. He continued. “You have come from a family of Shaman. Your ancestors were shaman.” He said. “I am not surprised that you are following a shamanic path. In my family line, my ancestors were shaman” he continued.

Finally, as if to shock Hashiru further, he said. ”We have the tradition to follow the
path of the Milky Way, ‘Hariraro waboroko ,The White Way’ he said, pointing to
the sky.
That was astounding! Hashiru was dumbfounded! There was nothing more to
discuss. The ceremony continued with more tobacco, chanting and prayers. At last the
shaman placed both hands on Hashiru’s shoulders and said,
“I will bathe you now. I am your father. Undress” he said laughing. Hashiru took
his shirt off but kept my shorts on in embarrassment. The shaman poured water
on Hashiru’s head and washed his feet.

Before emptying the bucket over Hashiru’s head, the shaman looked into the
bucket and collected a heliconia flower. He lifted it up to the sky and presented it
to Hashiru as a gift.
Finally the men embraced each other, placing their heads together in prayer.

The story of the Journey along the Milky Way was told to Hashiru when he was a

Photos of the reburial Ceremony at the Red House. Saturday October 19, 2019

Artist and his Burial Urns