same as his grandfather, after leaving the harvests
Eduardo Armijo occupied himself repairing the
shoes of the people in El Monte. The town's
football team were his main clients. "Since
I was a kid, I would spend all the time looking
at my grandfather. And when somebody told him
'get the boy outta here, he's just bothering',
he would say: He's not bothering, he's
But heritage went further.
After his death "Master Nene" adopted
his grandfather job. So, he became a bone-composer.
Since then, he gets lots of patients from all
over, people whose legs, arms, hands and ribs
he touches with his fingers, until giving the
precise hand-pressure for the bone to get back
in place. First, he commends himself to Saint
Francis, El Monte's patron, and also to
the Child of Malloco, a popular saint from a nearby
town, whose more than a century-old legend is
about a child who was abandoned at a small chappel
and died young, becoming a miraculous figure.
"I'm good friends
with the Malloco priest. I go there to see the
Child, and he says But El Monte belongs to Saint
Francis. Yes, I say, but I go
one Sunday to Saint Francis, and the next to the
Child. Oh, that's some Faith you
have, he answers".
The Virgin of Fatima
is also one of his devotions. "I asked her
for two sons first, and then two daughters. And
that's just what She gave me. Then one of
my daughters got very sick. We didn't know
what to do with her. We took her to a hospital
in Santiago, saw a lot of doctors; we made everything
we could. And then the Virgin gave me the name
of the doctor that I should take her to. So we
did and she got cured".
To preserve popular traditions
is one of Master Nene's main motivations.
He is also a good "payador" (folk rhymer),
and can improvise some verses without one asking.
"I'm a composer for 'payas' (verses)
and bones", he says proudly. The memories
of his childhood at the countryside still cheer
him up. "When we reaped potatoes, we had
to spend there the whole night so noone would
steal them. We made a fire and roasted pumpkins,
potatos and onions to eat. It was nice".
The transmission to his grandchildren of what
the composer's work is, is something he's
now taking care of. "My grandfather said
to me: Some of your grandchildren will also be
composers. And there's now a young kid who's
always looking at me. He's going to be the
Without discrediting medical
knowledge, Master Nene offers his lessons to whoever
may ask. "What doctors do is put casts. They
have their studies and their techniques. And when
there's a broken bone, there's no
other way. But for sprains and dislocations doctors
sometimes even send me their patients". Based
upon his genuine knowledge, Master Nene doesn't
need to charge for his work. Good will and eternal
gratitude are major rewards that guarantee him
a happy and worry-free life, based on community
solidarity and elightened by faith.
happy just to be able to help. In one way or another
people respond, and thanks God we live peacefully.
We have never lacked anything".