Bounce Exclusive: 'How I Dumped My Degree To Become Traditional Bonesetter'
You probably never imagined how far one can go to sustain a family’s line of business.
For Preye Joshua Benson, he put aside his BSc Degree in Business Administration from the University of Calabar to take over his father’s traditional bone setting franchise after his death in 2004.
Benson’s success stories in making a fractured bone whole again reached our ears and we decided to pay a visit.
Nestled inside Balogun Street in Ojo community along Lagos–Badagry expressway, you would hardly believe anything spectacular happens here.
Upon entering the healing home, we were expecting to see patients with mangled bones and dislocated knees reeling on the floor with unimaginable pain.
But we did not see any of that.
We saw only one patient with heavy bandage around his left knee. Benson told us, the room had been discharged of all patients in preparation for renovation works.
Beside the patients’ room is Benson’s office, a small room with two sofas. You would expect an elderly fellow but he was relatively young, probably in his early 40s.
He told Bounce News that his healing home remains a busy place as he treats at least 20 patients with different cases of fractures and joint dislocations every month.
He told us, a woman fleeing from a reckless okada rider along the express way had hit her knee on a road pavement dislocating it instantly.
Sympathetic passersby brought her to him and he re-set the bone back to its place and the lady walked home by herself before the end of the day.
But there was one exceptional case he cannot forget.
It was two years ago. A woman with fractured pelvic had been brought to him.
“It was very serious. When they brought her to me she could not sit down. But at the end of the day, she received her healing.
“But we give the glory to God. That was the most challenging case I ever had in this job,” he said, waving his hand in the air as if that was how he dismissed the fractured pelvic.
Benson had inherited the trade from his father. To him its more of a skill than a business.
His father, Benson Evinbere, had also inherited it from his father, Benson’s grandfather. They are Ijaws from Butu Local Government area of Delta State.
“Our people are reputed for bone setting. It runs in our blood. We are the best in Nigeria,” said Benson, obviously feeling impressed with his success story.
He had started working with his father as a young boy in 1984, learning the rudiments of bone setting. Like every other child, he had also been sent to school as well.
His father even made sure he went to university. After graduation, he got a white collar job but in 2004, his father answered nature’s call and joined their ancestors.
But before then, he made sure to warn him not to let the family business die. So, Benson had no option but to continue from where his father stopped.
“It was difficult but the old man was very open about it. He wanted me to continue. Today, I will not say I regret the decision because it has not been bad. I live in my own house and I can send my children to school. What else do I want?” he said.
However, Benson is a pessimistic about the future.
He foresees though times for the bone setting business and traditional medicine in Nigeria.
He believes the methods may go into extinction, as he fears that even his own children may not want to continue after him.
“Like we all know, things have changed now because of the way the world is changing. My children may not want to take after me. And I cannot force them. But I wish I can pass the skill on to them,” he said.
“Yes, I do regret it. It is going to be very painful. But I foresee it happening because of the way things are going.
“Today, everybody wants to do a white-collar job but unfortunately, it is not everybody that will do a white-collar job.
“80% of the population want a white-collar job forgetting that there is no job that is dirty. It depends on the way you approach it.
“The way the world is going now, so many people want to abandon where they are coming from. But where one is coming from is very important to where one is heading to,” he said.
But does he think Nigeria really needs this traditional healing system?
“Oh yes, we do,” he started.
“This is because even in the orthopedic hospitals, after treatment they still refer patients to us because there are certain aspects that they cannot do because they are not equipped to do it.
“That is why government needs to step in so that this traditional method does not die. The people practicing it also need to be trained because most of them in it today are in it for the money. Unfortunately, the job is not about money, it is about people,” he said.