HORTENCE ROBINSON PASSES
Belize mourns the loss of another National Treasure. Miss Hortence Robinson ,renowned herbalist and midwife of Ladyville, passed away at 8:52 Sunday morning in Belize City.
Miss Hortence was born in 1923 on Cozumel Island, Mexico. Her father worked in the chicle camps and her mother and grandmothers were midwives to the Maya women and the chiclero families. She first learned of herbal remedies from her childhood playmates, the Maya children of Cozumel. She assisted her mother in childbirth from the age of nine and delivered her first baby solo when she was thirteen. Throngs of health seekers from all over the country found their way to her humble Ladyville home where she was the traditional healer for more than sixty years. She cared for their babies, their grandparents and their unborn. She raised eight children and adopted fourteen over the years. If she delivered a baby that was without a home , she adopted the child . She adopted her first baby at the age of fifteen.
“She saved my daughter’s life with that uterine massage,” said Silvaana Udz. “Belize has lost a lot of knowledge but at least some of it was captured through the Traditional Healers Foundation. We have all lost a cultural treasure.”
Even though Miss Hortence never had the benefit of an education she became teacher to professors, scientists, doctors and nurses sharing her wisdom and hard-earned knowledge with them for the benefit of people from all nations of the world. She was a major contributor to the Belize Ethnobotany Project and identified more than three hundred medicinal plants which were scientifically recorded at the New York Botanical Garden in Bronx, NY. She was given the National Treasure Award by the Traditional Healers Foundation in 1990.
Rosita Arvigo said, “Miss Hortence was a great healer of both physical and spiritual ailments. She had all of the qualities we have learned to look for in a true traditional healer; humor, humility, faith and a life of service to others. In the healers community she was known as Mil Secretos or A Thousand Secrets. “
The wake will be held this Friday at 1 pm in Ladyville at Our Lady of the Way Church. Funeral arrangements will be announced by the family.