Food for Thought: Don't Put All Your Eggs in the Zambian Basket - By Whitney Lukuku
It was 2001 when I went back home after 21 years. I found my elder sister the only immediate family member alive and my brother in law, their children and their grand children on the verge of starvation. After all the excitement of welcoming the lost one, my sister came and let me know they had no food. I had to board a minibus back to town to buy bunga and other food stuffs.
A few days later I visited my chief and suggested to him that I would like to have some farm land. He willingly apportioned 300+ hectares to me. When I came back I filled a 20-foot container with clothes, shoes, bicycles that I got from the local dump some in good condition and some needed minor repairs. I had computers in there and yes school supplies. I figured if they sold those things they would generate enough money to work the farm which they had started tilling the old-fashioned way.
When the container arrived everyone at customs wanted a piece of the action. They were quoting astronomical figures for clearance and storage. My only way out was to find a charitable organization to clear it under their name. Somehow a former Secondary School (that is what we called them then) classmate who had a charitable organization showed up and after telling him the story, he promised to get it for me. I gave him some money for incidentals. After a year or so he finally got the goods cleared or what was left of them. I did not hear from him. My people said they did not receive the goods. When I finally got him on the old land line, he said: “We were going around the Kitwe round about and the goods tipped over onto the street and they were all looted”. It took me a long time to get over that lose.
I went back in 2007 and found they had made some progress. They had hand stumped and cleared 10 hectares which were flourishing with maize. I was impressed and promised them a tractor. When I came back I bought a medium sized Massey Ferguson put it in a 20-foot container with a trailer and various farm implements. I knew that there was no duty on farm equipment, so I was not worried about the clearance fiasco. This time everything arrived but created another problem. Everyone wanted to use the tractor. Even the remotest relatives were complaining that they were not benefitting from it. One day my nephew was riding it by the bar (if we can call it that). A distant relative came out and stopped him and demanded to drive it because he had every right to do so. “Mr. Lukuku is my uncle too.” My nephew gave way and sat on the fender as the interloper took the wheel. He drove right into the main road and the tractor was struck by a speeding transport truck. He survived but my nephew died.
Time went on, I always had to send money for fertilizer, weed killer, bags to get them to a point where they would be self sustaining which was the idea from the start. At one point, I think 2012, they did very well. But then the next year they blamed the draught for dismal harvest and the following year 2014, they blamed witchcraft that someone was found naked in the farm according to the reports I was getting.
I went back in 2015 and found they had built a brick house, with corrugated iron sheets and new furniture. Perhaps that is where the money went. I helped them again with fixing the tractor and the trailer. Two years after I came back they decided to sell the farm. I told them to sell half, but they sold it all. I was upset with them, so they turned around and bought 150 hectares somewhere else. I used some of the money to buy a minibus. Another nephew ordered it from Japan. It brought its own problems. People thought it was a cash cow. My nephew stopped answering phone calls because everyone wanted money for their children’s school fees and uniform or for whatever was ailing them. My nephew’s plan was to save and buy a bigger bus until one day: His own distant nephew assaulted the driver at the bus station. “Nkacoca ico. tukafilila munsenga”. This was heard by the station manager who decided to get our bus off the station. It got stripped of all licences. I told my nephew to sell and that I am done helping the people back there. My conscience is clear. I am glad I did not put all my eggs in the Zambian basket I would have ended up in the poor house!
Food for thought.
"Saskatoon Health Region Gains Another Rural Doctor" - Dr Andy Mtambo
We would like to wish the Mtambo family well in their recent move to Saskatoon! Please see link for full online article on "sasdocs.ca" featuring Dr Andy Mtambo and for further information regarding physician placements and recruitment in the Saskatoon region.
Article released on 18th September 2013
Saskatchewan residents are benefitting from better access to physician services. Another family physician is practicing in Saskatoon Health Region thanks to the most recent intake of the Saskatchewan International Physician Practice Assessment (SIPPA).
Dr. Andy Mtambo is a successful graduate of the May 2013 SIPPA class and is practicing in Lanigan, one of 91 new doctors practicing family medicine in Saskatchewan since SIPPA’s inception in 2011. SIPPA assesses International Medical Graduates (IMGs) on their medical education and clinical ability before allowing them to practice medicine in the province. The program runs three times a year (January, May and September) and can assess up to 90 physicians annually.
“Our government has introduced a range of physician recruitment initiatives, and we’re pleased that over 300 more doctors have come to Saskatchewan in the past six years,” Rural and Remote Health Minister Randy Weekes said. “Recruitment of internationally trained doctors is an important part of stabilizing our physician workforce. I congratulate those who have passed their SIPPA assessment and are now providing care to Saskatchewan residents.”
“We are extremely pleased to have Dr. Andy Mtambo and all of the recent International Medical Graduates that completed SIPPA joining our team in serving the communities throughout Saskatchewan,” said Dr. George Pylypchuk, Senior Medical Officer for the Saskatoon Health Region. “Their expertise and commitment to high quality healthcare will be of tremendous assistance to patients and families in Saskatchewan for years to come.”
Saskdocs continues to recruit physicians to the province in collaboration with the health regions through: direct recruitment initiatives; establishing relationships with medical students and residents; advertising locally, nationally and internationally; and attending career fairs at home and out of province.
Family physician IMGs seeking more information on SIPPA and the opportunities that are currently available are encouraged to contact saskdocs at firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll-free (in North America) 1-888-415-3627 or 306-933-5000.
For more information, media can contact:
James Winkel Laura Herman
Communications Manager Communications Officer
saskdocs College of Medicine
Phone: (306) 933-5094 University of Saskatchewan
Phone: (306) 966-6059
Did You Know ? - By Mr Saul Phiri
Mountaineers Celebrate 60th Anniversary of First Everest Climb in Nepal
Wednesday 29 May, 2013 was the 60th anniversary of the conquest of Everest. It was marked in Kathmandu, Nepal, with a ceremony honoring climbers who followed in the footsteps of Edmund Hillary, a New Zealander and Tenzing Norgay, a Nepalese.
A week earlier, the 80 year-old Yuichiro Miura, a Japanese mountaineer, became the oldest person to reach the top of Mount Everest. 80 is a good time to start gardening, but Yuichiro Miura opted to climb the mighty Everest. However, he does not plan another climb of the world's highest peak. He said, “I almost died.”
Of the 3,755 climbers who have scaled Mount Everest, more than half are Nepalese. The passion and dream of standing at the summit of Mt Everest, the top most point on earth, is irresistible. Standing atop the mountain and overlooking everyone else on earth brings about the feeling of self fulfilling, confidence, and the overwhelming satisfaction of the conquest of the Mighty Everest-The summit of courage and determination!
DID YOU KNOW that the Everest has so far claimed 236 lives since the year of its first foreign expedition in 1922? With such a high death rate, mountaineering is and will still remain one of the most dangerous pastimes. The July 2012 edition of the MACLEANS Magazine had on the top page of its cover a title: “DEATH ON EVEREST: THE UNTOLD STORY. Shriya Shah-Klorfine’s last hours on the mountain and the obsession that drove her there.” Shriya was among the very few Canadian women who climbed the Everest Mountain. Shriya had a passion and a dream. Her goal was to become the first Canadian woman of South Asian origin to scale Everest. And on her website, read a welcome message. “Nothing is impossible in this world. Even the word IMPOSSIBLE says “I’M POSSIBLE.”
The cost of this vacation is not cheap either! An expedition can cost as much as $50,000. You need a Nepalese government issued mountain climbing permit which will cost you an extra $10,000 to $25,000. The whole itinerary to ascend and descend the mountain is not less than 60 days.
Personal climbing gear above the Base Camp consist of not less than 60 pieces among which are balaclavas, ski goggles, axes, pee bottles, tents, climbing helmets- you dress up like you are going into Space!
Passion knows no boundaries, and in mountain climbing, the penalties are fatal. There is one cardinal rule of mountaineering and that rule is, “Start early and know your limits.” Climbers are advised not to attempt to reach the summit after 11 a.m. The area above the last camp at South Col is nicknamed the “Death Zone” because of the steep icy slope, treacherous conditions and low oxygen level. If there is a traffic jam, climbers will wait for a longer period for their chance to go up the trail and they will spend too much time at higher altitude. Many of them will be carrying limited amount of oxygen not anticipating the extra time spent up there in the death zone. One climber was 400m away from the summit but he had to abandon the climb because of frost bite on his toes. He says, “400m does not sound much to people who haven’t been in the mountains but it is still 6 hours of very hard labour and you must get down too.” “You get out of breath just standing up from lying down!”
Now what can happen to the body as you approach the peak of the Mt Everest?
At high altitude, the brain can swell (Cerebral edema), causing insanity or hallucinations, disorientation and even death. You have to deal with temperatures well below -40°C, frostbites are common. Lack of oxygen, exhaustion, extreme cold, are other climbing hazards. At this altitude, even a doctor can do little to help because of limited resources, real definitive care can only be done at a hospital. Chronic sleepless, headaches, vomiting and dizziness are all symptoms of altitude sickness. O₂ (Oxygen) saturation at 6,400m is about 60%. At the summit of the Everest, at 8,848m above sea level, (8,850 meter-the cruising altitude of Jumbo Jets), there is only 30% of oxygen that exists. If you walk in a hospital with an O₂ Saturation of less than 90%, the doctor will seriously consider hospitalising you.
At base camp, with only 50% O₂, the body reacts to lack of O₂ by producing more RBCs (red blood cells), and as a result climbers absorb more O₂ per breath. But as their blood thickens, the climbers are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke. These are all very extreme challenges to a human body. Actually most of the deaths have occurred on the descent from the peak of the mountain to Base Camp 4; “The Death Zone.”
Despite all these dangers, more and more people keep going to the Everest Mountains because the Everest is one of the natural wonders of the world. It has some the world’s most spectacular mountain scenery. Could this be your next destination for your vacation?