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"A lot of churches took a stance saying, 'This is not us.' But it is," Goggin says. "I know I'm a white chick from Southern California. I don't know anything about this community. But what I am good at is helping people change behavior." If a church wanted to help people change, she knew what to do.
Goggin helped write a survey of health issues that pastors could distribute; HIV and AIDS were only two of the topics. That way, when pastors stood up to tell their congregations the results, they wouldn't just be talking about AIDS.
With Williams, she also worked on a three-year study on how to reduce risky sexual behaviors among black youth. She talked with kids about why they drank, had sex or did drugs.
"These kids would say, 'If you were going to a party you shouldn't be going to and you missed your bus, that would be God giving you a sign,'" she says. "Kids talked about personal control and God control."
Their answers weren't that far from what she would hear, years later, about the role of healers in Africa.
In South Africa, one of Goggin's main tasks has been translating all the study's materials and measures into Zulu. If she's done her job, the healers will know more about AIDS prevention, and the Western-trained doctors will know more about how South Africans react to infections.
In February, about six weeks after Goggin last left South Africa, Bill Folk arrived again. It was the middle of the rainy season, when the air felt like July in the Midwest. The country was green, the rivers and reservoirs high.
Folk and another doctor, an American biologist who spoke Zulu, had come to make sure things were on track when the clinical trials started. Now the healers were saying they wanted to work with more Western physicians, and some were participating in a separate National Institutes of Health program to learn how HIV was transmitted and what safety measures the healers could prescribe.
Makhathini, the liaison at Edendale, agrees that more healers are interested in learning about Western medicine so they can screen for specific conditions other than HIV and AIDS, such as hypertension and diabetes. And he sees more Western-trained doctors willing to meet with healers.
"They are learning about conditions treated by traditional healers conditions which may be due to witchcraft," Makhathini says. "There are such conditions whereby a person can come and complain of sharp pains in the chest, and the doctor may do all the investigations, only to find there's no evidence of pathology. And the doctors have learned there are other conditions."
He thinks there are several reasons for the change, including a government that's more supportive of the healers than in recent years. But work like Goggin's helps, too.
"She didn't impose her own ideas, but she tried to learn from the insider perspective," he says.
Shortly before returning to America, Folk spent a day at a healer's clinic translating concepts. He looked around at the clinic walls, lined with dried herbs and jars of handmade compounds. Between the shelves, he saw a lone 5-inch-by-7-inch framed picture.
It was a picture of Goggin and the clinic's healer standing side by side, smiling.
When the meeting ended, Folk offered to drive the healers, who lived in the country, back home before dark otherwise, it was a long trip by public transit on roads clogged with wandering cattle and erratic drivers.