Imagine you’re born to into a family where your mother is a Mexican Catholic and your father is a white, practicing Buddhist, growing up as a young boy in the Southwest where people call you a "coyote," or half-breed. Your own racial ethnicity makes no sense to you in a world more racially divided as ever. Coming into this world was even more turbulent because as a baby you nearly died from a staph infection. Your life is marked from then on with tragedy and suffering: poverty, poor education, homelessness, the death of your beloved father and teacher from alcoholism. You spend years living in your own personal hell, having abandoned your Christian roots but not yet ready to accept your true calling and fighting off the "spirits" you see and hear all around you. But through the chaos and from a very young age you know beyond all shadow of a doubt that your purpose here on Earth is to become a healer, and one day you finally find your way out of the darkness. Meet Michael Ortiz Hill.
Now imagine you’re born in a poor village in Zimbabwe and nearly die from a naval infection. When you’re a young boy your father is murdered by women in the village deemed to be witches. Your family, struggling through poverty and political persecution, is forced to pass you from home to home in the hopes that you’ll find both work and some means to an education. While the country you’ve always known as home is being torn apart by the South African apartheid, you’ve grown to be the best teacher the region has seen, but there’s no escaping the government and you unwittingly become part of the British South African Police. This journey has also taken you away from the strict Christian upbringing you know in your heart is not the way you were meant to worship God. Soon you learn to listen to the spirits of your ancestors and answer the call to become a healer. Meet Mandaza Augustine Kandemwa.
This is the shared story of Michael and Mandaza, two men who have answered their call to be peacemakers and healers while the world is being ravaged by war, death, and disease. It is also a story of surrendering to this call and being initiated by the ancestral spirit world. And, perhaps most importantly, it is a story of brotherhood in the deepest sense: Two men from different worlds who share the same destiny and have come to call each other "twin brother." This is not simply a story about breaking racial divides, it is the memoir of two contemporary shamans, uniquely told in parallel to one another, each sharing his own story of how he became a sacred healer, or nganga, in traditional Bantu African medicine and came to know the other as spiritual twin. Together their shamanic work spans the globe: one twin working among the poor in South Central Africa, and the other interweaving Western medicine and shamanism as a registered nurse at the UCLA Medical Center.