Ambilikile Mwasapile (76 or 78 years old in 2011) is a Tanzanian retired priest of the Lutheran Church who uses a tree known as mugariga to make a non-flavored drink which he administers to patients reporting various chronic diseases. The main illnesses that people flock to Rev. Mwasapile to treat include symptoms of advanced AIDS, as well as diabetes and heart problems, stroke, high blood pressure or low blood pressure. There has been debate about clinical assessment of the medicine, an irrelevant issue from a theological point of view since Rev. Mwasapile administers what is indeed a miracle cure, not due to its clinical or naturalistic properties - as the tree is believed to be a poison - but through a deliberate act of divinity to create this instance of miracle healing. There is no dispute that many people were healed when they took the potion, but there are also reports that many did not last long in that curative state, partly because - as a theological hypothesis - they were only interested in the medicine in a naturalistic sense, and not bothered by the faith aspect, of avoiding the errors that led them to the state of disease, as well as positively showing themselves to their parish priests or any other religious authority and praising the Lord God about that instance of healing. When a person has ignored one or both of these requirements, as underlined in what Jesus says on healing, and himself citing Moses, it is possible a cleavage arises in the healing instance and it is reversed.
Rev. Mwasapile lives in Samunge village in Loliondo, near Ngorongoro in northern Tanzania, an area marked by the proximity of the world famous Ngorongoro Crater, a volcanic mountain top depression and game park with various big game.There is a reason this place became the centre of miracle healing - as it was not the only miracle healing instance in Tanzania around 2011, but soon district authorities in various places started to physically remove people visiting this or that new revelation of what potion to administer for people to heal. One reason is that the place is close to Olduvai Gorge, which is world famous for the discovery of footprints, cave paintings and artifacts of primordial man, dated variously from Zinjanthropus (1.75 million years before the modern era), then homo erectus and finally homo sapiens. There are credible projections of how humans started spreading around the world from the spot, with nearly areas like Laetoli (on the other side of the border in Kenya) sharing in discoveries of footprints, artifacts, etc. When one recalls what has been said around the world (for instance by the late Dr Harold Camping in the United States, an indefatigable broadcaster who spread the message of the 'end of the world' on May 21 of 2011) this connection with the ancestry of man makes sense. Still it is a wider issue how the two are put together, but when one sees a divine sign of authenticity of Olduvai Gorge as part of human history, a rethinking of Genesis is possible without abandoning the problematic of divinity altogether but casting it in a different way. This involves clarifying how the human race was uplifted from its original animal state, outlining the various stages taken to reach the period that is identified with Adam, and then the planetary shock of the Great Flood. From then on, human society has an idea, however faint, of the presence of God - a vital field structure for further intervention of divinity in shaping up human history. It is not an area of research that is pursued intensely, yet.Six articles on the subject appeared in the Tanzanian leading national language newspaper Mwananchi in April–May 2006 on the stages of human salvation, from Olduvai.
Vision of healing
Rev. Mwasapile told people at that time that he had a vision in which he was instructed to make the potion he administers. His vision was of a tree that provided medicine and that many people would come to be healed. Upon waking, in the daily routine that followed, he met a woman who had the AIDS affliction and she told him that she came for medicine, but details are not available right away how she learnt she could get medicine, though it appears she was also given in dream. Or if the retired priest had started a bit earlier to give traditional medicines, but what he started administering at that point was altogether different and not the usual run of herbal aids or cures available routinely. Rev. Mwasapile followed his vision, went to the bush and took portions of the tree as directed, made the drink and gave it to her,and she was thus the first beneficiary of that miracle cure.
The woman told her former boss who had fired her due to sickness. The boss had a sick child suffering from brain damage, and he took the child to the retired priest, was given the same potion and the child fully recovered, which underlines its miracle character and not clinical properties, as brain damage and AIDS symptoms have no clinical parallels whatsoever, save in the need for accelerated generation of body defences, and that is conceivably where the medicine would anatomically focus, so as to work in the same way for all patients. Still this isn't a function attributed to the tree, but rather owing to a specific act of divinity in that direction, an issue too many pundits tended to obviate from addressing for not wishing to tread on the sensitive toes of this or that section of priests or religious followers. However it is clear that no realistic assessment of the potion administered by Rev. Mwasapile is useful by relying on the chimeric scientific pursuit of testing its compounds to see what properties it had, issuing a license to that practice and other laughable initiatives of public authorities at that time. As word spread, people started steaming to the area, obtaining life saving and even body renewal medicine for as little as Tsh500 contributed when a person obtains a cup, such that the medicine place, Samunge, became a glittering tourist spot for a few months. It is said that up to 4,000 seekers of the cup used to come to the place at its peak, but it dried out if in large measure when people started realising that it wasn't a final and unfailing medical intervention, and on the whole hardly anyone raised the issue of observances of healing and thanks giving protocols. The old priest was himself reminding those receiving the potion, but finally it was a matter of the attitude they came with. It is unclear if any of them would be seeking spiritual guidance from the retired priest, whereas as a miracle worker he was supposed to be able to give moral instructions as well, a sphere it is impossible to compromise with the priesthood.
Several overseas newspapers reported that event, but on the whole it was not a faith event but a medicinal curiosity, which seriously mistook that event for another visit to a medicine man, thus ensuring that many of those who took the potion, owing to their visible and unabashed contempt for the faith side of it, would sign their disease reclamation warrants even before they left Samunge village. The number of pilgrims visiting per day as of early 2011 was relayed to some leading newspapers like US daily New York Times.
Some panic started building up on sanitary effects of unexpected gush of people to the area, and volunteers quickly put up the necessary structures, while government officials were more inclined towards a banning of the faith healing and potion administering, than coordinate arrangements for quickly sorting sanitary inconveniences.
Newspaper reports regularly picked up what notable visitor had been to the place, Notables who have visited Rev. Mwasapile include legislators and cabinet ministers locally, and scores of personalities especially from eastern Africa, among are cited the wife of DRC president Joseph Kabila.
- Mwasapile now eyes new site for services, The Citizen, March 21, 2011
- Tanzanian 'miracle' pastor Mwasapile calls for a break, African Outlook, March 28, 2011