Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Ending the year 2009 in Thyolo with a bang

Today is 30th December and it’s just a few days from New Year. I am told the former President of Malawi is not well and I wish him a quick recovery .
I am currently in Thyolo district, home of the new president , and I am completing the blindness research that I stopped due to absence of fuel in Malawi that happened for a few weeks . Now there is fuel in town .
Today I am in chiromo village ,near Luchenza , and this is one of the villages under the Member of Parliament honorable Mutharikka .Naturally apart from seeing a few blind people ,you expect everyone to be happy in this constituency ( as its where the big man comes from and the Mhlako wa Alommwe is strongest ).I see this old blind man ; and asks how the rains have been so far ; and he replies that you people in Government did not give us the fertilizer you promised because we did not cast a vote ; and so why do you care about the rain.
When I finally tell him that he has a cataract that needs to be operated on in Thyolo hospital, he doubts if he will come, as he says he has no confidence in this Government. I as an outsider, is surprised that this old man who did not get the free fertilizer coupons thinks that unless something happens he will not get the free surgery .
As I move round the village in a Government vehicle , I get numerous complaints about the big man-spefically to do with how the fertilizer issue ; and I am asked to donate some funds for completion of a church in the centre of the village . I definitely say “No” as it would be likely that I would be put in jail if I tried to defame the big man by donating small monies to his constituency (I don’t have the monies anyway).
But am glad we have harvested a good number of blind people and have asked to come to Blantyre in Jan 2010.I will be performing surgery on them.

By the way I have missed the job promotion again this year; and from rumours I get in thyolo am tempted to think that it’s probably to do with my place of origins; as colleagues from different Regions have all been promoted.If only the big man knew that this blind person i am treating is from his village, am sure he would have influenced my promoton.After all i am long overdue and qualified.But he has wrong advisors who only want to promote tribalism .

Imagine am mistaken as being a Lomwe and all these things are being said to me in confidence ; but I am only here for seeing eye patients and I am afraid to reveal that i am not from here incase i maybe stoned.

I have been told i should always remember I come from the dead Northen Region of Malawi ; though I may now probably settle near Ndata farm (to feed from the big man’s savings)in southern Region and be a Lomwe for life.

Kamuzu many times said we were all Malawians and completely discouraged regionalism; thuswhy i can confidently go and treat eye patients in thyolo . But things are slowly changing -who knows where i will be next ?

Will be posting pictures from Ndata farm soon

Any way Happy new year once again .

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Monday, 21 December 2009

Happy Christmas and merry New Year

It is that time of the year when we gather together with families and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ I am particularly privileged to be at home in Malawi this year with my family .Last year I spent Christmas in Rwanda ,was conducting a survey of trachoma .This year i get to know a bit more about my daughter Tapiwa.

All I can say is that the Lord be praised for keeping me healthy throughout in 20009, and I do not take it for granted .if you are in Malawi you would know how many well deserving people have left this country (died) ; most of them if given a chance would have loved to go on with their lives . But I was among the many chosen not to be a statistic (at least for this year) .I believe I have served him better.

The scarcity of fuel remains a big issue in Malawi; thanks to our politicians.

As from BICO, it is my hope that several people that I operated on will have sight to see this Christmas properly and that I will be helping many more in the New Year.
By the way, I plan to update my blogging profile in 2010; am just keeping my fingers closed.

God bless

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Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Thank you for your nomination about the blog

A recent opinion poll has ranked my blog as one of the top 100 interesting blogs from Malawi.
The internet research was conducted by an old classmate and friend of mine who is based in Virginia, USA and whom I haven’t seen for 21 years.
He has acknowledged that in 1982 when we used to swim together in the mad running water of Jubile river in Ezondweni , Mtwalo ,Mzimba while our cows went around eating others peoples maize stalks ; he did not know that those experiences would be shared through internet many many years later . He also acknowledges the fact that for boys who used to sit on the mad floor and lose writing pencils everyday at Ezondweni Model school,and constntly wishing if we were born in another country and blaming God for our problems ; it a blessing that I can have a blog with less blasphemy.
He goes on to say that at that time we had no reasons to thank God for, but now we have many.
His views are shared by many other respected Malawian bloggers; who suggest that if I only seriously took some blogging lessons ( for a few dollars) I could probably produce some blogs that are more palatable and more beneficial to the nation of Malawi .One blog in particular , quoted that “for a man who can manage to see the following places in Malawi within a week: Chididi in Nsanje , East bank in Chikwawa , Kunenekude in Mwanza , Namitambo in Chirazulu and Mulibwanji in Mangochi , all of them extremely boring – and still blog about them !!! deserves some special award “. I am glad that people have realized that the work I do and the places I visit are not all fun, but somebody has to do the job, unfortunately for this time its me. No matter how boring the areas I visit are –some Malawians come from there and they need a visit.
Some bloggers have rated the blog as one o the worst 100 and least likely to be educative .That is what opinion polls are about.
I dedicate this blog to the volunteers of Nancholi Health centre in Mangochi Distrct that appear in the picture "with me included" .They recently did a good job in identfifying a lot of blind children .
What’s the prize and suggestions for the future?
Most readers suggest that if I stop blogging about the past and boring communities that I visit and concentrate on the good life that there is in Malawi (Lilongwe, Blantyre) and how I am part of that, one day I may be nominated by the majority of bloggers in Malawi and appear at the annual Entertainers awards that takes place yearly at end of December, Mount Soche Blantyre. Moreover they advise that unless I change my writing styles I may never move from rural “Kwabaluti” in Blantyre where I currently stay ( I am sure you haven’t heard of where it is) to more important places like Namiwawa, Sunnyside and Nyambadwe where the rich and famous live .
I am still young in the blogging sector; and I like writing about blind people and the poor communities they live in; hence I prefer to live in similar communities.
Hence I refuse their award that is based on bribery about my writing skills.
However my colleague from Virginia thinks that if he ever gets back to Malawi, we should go back to Ezondweni Village Mtwalo together and have a good laugh of what lives we used to have .I personally do not think he will ever get back to Malawi.
You can also rank my blog. Do you think its one of the worst 100 from Malawi?
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Fuel crisis in Malawi affecting Blind people in Thyolo and elsewhere

You are not the only one wondering how this can be possible.
What do young and old blind have to do with fuel crisis in Malawi? After all they are from the rural areas of Malawi, never had a driving license in their life; and will never drive .More over they rarely see vehicles in their community.
The first time I heard that there was no diesel in Malawi was about four weeks ago when I was doing my research in Thyolo ; to be more specific around Bvumbwe area .When I went to the diesel station at Bvumbwe there was a lot of diesel around ; and I was told the problem was only in Blantyre. Continuing with my journey I visited villages around Bvumbwe health centre hoping to learn some Lomwe ; only to be told that the traditional authority (TA ) Bvumbwe is a Ngoni descent from Ntcheu and that all his people are Ngonis (did you know that?) .For me , my assignment was simple , to examine the blind and visually impaired so didn’t care whether you were a Ngoni or Lomwe (Muhlako ; as long as you were blind you were my client ) .We anticipated that we would harvest around 200 blind people from Thyolo and that they would all be helped through a sight restoring operation schedules to take place in Blantyre at Queen Elizabeth Hospital .
The next few visits were scheduled for Ndata farm, Makande tea estate, Luchenza, Mangazi , Boidi , Kwethemule ,Mauwa and Chitimbe and we were going to be there for at least 10 days . But we did not complete the work, only stayed for 2 days and I have not been back since then. Will tell you the reason why! Fuel crisis.
I overheard some people discussing that the present lack of fuel in Malawi was due to shortage of forex ; but with my ageing grey matter I could not figure how the two were related (excuse me , I still haven’t yet figured how ) . It was of course a relief when I heard the high authority announcing that the crisis was due to Mozambican Government blocking the passing of trucks with fuel from South Africa to Malawi and this initially made some sense to me .But eventually I started wondering that for my 40 years that I have been in Malawi (perhaps more important for the 16 years that I have been driving) I have never heard of a fuel crisis in Malawi ; even during worse days when Kamuzu the other “Ngwazi” was in bad books with Mozambican president the late Samora Machel ;we still had fuel in Malawi .At that point having smelt a rat , I decided to stop thinking about why we were having fuel crisis and concentrate on seeing my patients in Thyolo. After all, being a senior citizen and doing good work to help the poor and the needy, I did not think anyone would deny me fuel to go to the field but I was wrong again (excuse me I am old).
Within two days the fuel crisis had accelerated, and all diesel in Thyolo and elsewhere was gone.
I tried to maneuver around using my influence (“good” corruption) but could not succeed in getting fuel anywhere.
Unfortunately all Chiefs from areas scheduled for visits were told to mobilize and gather patients at particular places on the given dates; and with this fuel crisis everything came to an end .
I have been rendered a liar ; have had people calling and asking when the trips will be rescheduled, and as long as the current situation continues I do not see myself doing any more community work.Please do not arrest me for my freedom of speech.

I am still drawing my small salary and working in Blantyre (I dont think I should stop) , but of course I am no longer going to the field as a Community Ophthalmologist.So do you now see how the blind from Thyolo and elsewhere have been affected by fuel crisis? Unfortunately they do not have anyone to speak for them; some of us may lose our jobs for being their advocate.
I can be sacked for other reasons , but not for my incompetence, because I am not the one responsible for the fuel crisis.

Meanwhile I have time to sit down at the lake and take some drinks while I wait for the numbers of blind people to continue rising up. Hopefully with the good policies of the current Government (that I fully voted for and support) that gives enough free fertilizer to all its citizens (compaired with only a starter pack from the previous Government), those blind should still be able to farm and get a bumper harvest next year. Otherwise I instead of the “fuel” crisis may be blamed for not having visited them and advising them to go for an operation, yet I know they can see again.
I rest my case on fuel .

Any good advice on what I should do?
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December 1 depressing AIDS DAY

Another World AIDS day is here.
Unfortunately this year am unable to blog about it .
I am overwhelmed with the amount of relatives I have lost to AIDS in Malawi this year .
Moreover , I am saddened by the news that my fellow Malawians have started ABUSING the life saving ARV drugs .Some of them are using them for brewing local brewery ; while the others are using ARV's in chicken feeds so that their chickens lay extra large eggs which will fetch more money when sold. The society we are in is unbelievably corrupt .I lost an Uncle when ARV's were not available and have lost several brothers and sisters since the ARV's have been around. I know several relatives who are currently on them now.
Well , I have been asked to wear something RED tomorrow but I am not going to do it because its so depressing to me .Imagine a young working professional lady aged 36 years and living not far away from where we are will be buried tomorrow in her village. She died 2 days ago.
Imagine how many articles on HIV/AIDS we scientists have published since the advent of HIV 28 years ago (1981) ; and the Nobel prizes we have received ; yet we are nowhere near solving the mystery .People are still dying everyday.

But there is a GOD out there ,who knows when and how the enemy will be destroyed.

As for now AIDS/HIV is here to stay .

Rest in peace all those who have been affected .

have you been touched too or you know someone who has ?
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