On the morning of Friday 28th December Ife Piankhi was admitted to hospital in Uganda after a suspected stroke and bleeding on the brain. This is a very serious situation and condition. Hospital services in Uganda are NOT free so Ife and her family will need assistance with meeting those fees to make sure Ife gets the best care possible. The medical costs for Ife in the hospital have been set by the hospital at £12,000. This is an enormous amount of money that the family will not be able to achieve in such a short space of time. Every penny raised will go direct to the family in Uganda. Your generosity will be very much appreciated and blessed. ￼
I arrived in Cape town on the 13th September unaware it was winter. I had to find my own way from the airport because our cars were not due to arrive for another month. I can understand why people don’t see South Africa as a part of Africa because by the look of Cape town you could be in any European city. With its skyscrapers and tarmac roads it seems too developed.
But this is Africa and this is where my journey begins. For the next 200 days I will be living with 12 people I don’t know. Apart from our online attempts at conversation and planning we are complete strangers. It was a challenging decision to be a part of the team. Six months away from home, no salary but an opportunity to see a continent which I love very much. Everyone I spoke to (bar one who is a mother and understands the pressures of being a single parent) thinks its a journey of a lifetime and one they wish they could take. So here I am after consulting with my children and significant other. I am the only Black African woman on the team and also the oldest. Its a young group the youngest being 21.
I fill my mouth with it. Never mind that I am lactose intolerant and in a few hours my stomach will be gripping and bloated. I will release gases and hope I am not in the company of others. If I am, I will attempt to hold it in or release it without making a sound. Impossible.
Every other person in Kampala has ulcers. It is a national epidemic that is not on the radar of the World Health Organisation (WHO). It’s all HIV, Ebola and now the Zika Virus. We are under attack from new strains of bacteria which are now resistant to treatment because of the antibiotics our doctors prescribe like sweets. One of the unfortunate side effects of antibiotics is that they are not selective in choosing which bacteria to kill. All the good bacterial colonies in the gut die along with the bad. Doctors give you the pills in small envelopes with the name of the tablet (sometimes) and the numbers 1×1 or 3×1 written on them, to determine when and how many of these you should take. There are no instructions other than that. Maybe if the drug is particularly harsh on the stomach they would suggest taking them with food or liquids.
Picture this…………..humanity lives in small communities of people who have enough land to feed the whole group. They make their own clothes and shoes. They have a borehole but no electricity.
They use use solar energy to cook with, heat their water and light their homes. They allow no plastic into the community. They meditate everyday, exercise and use herbs to heal their sick.
When conflict arises they meet in a heart circle and hear each others complaints in order to find a solution. They will talk until they reach consensus.
Since the beginning of the year I’ve been encountering issues of ethics. We talk a lot in Uganda about corruption and how it stops us from developing at a reasonable rate. But my question is what happened to the African Ethic so often spoken about by historians?
When I first started reading African history there were so many accounts of the ethics of Africans. The Ethiopians were seen as the most pious of races bringing religion to Europe with their divine stature. Kemet (now known as Egypt) had the system of Maat as its spiritual foundation and I think it did them well, because their civilization existed for over 10,000 years.
I don’t believe in coincidences, I think all things happen for a reason, even if at the time we don’t understand why. Everything has a purpose and a reason.
I realized that the other day after my bag got stolen by a boda boda rider that the events in my life are meant to encourage me to reflect on the quality of my relationships.
There is a saying that ” misery likes company”. You have those friends who seem to come around when either you or them have problems. Lamenting on the situation (often negative) but never coming up with solutions.
So now we begin again, I’m not sorry to see the back of 2014, its been a trying year for many not just me.
Resilience is the ability to overcome challenges, to fall, down but get back up again, to keep moving and learning from our mistakes.
I’ve touched and been touched by countless young people, who inspire me to be thankful, to stay strong even when it seems people are against you. I’ve learnt to listen more to my children, to receive their feedback and reflect on how I can be a better parent to them. This is not understood by a lot of people who see the youth as people ‘to be seen but not heard’. I want to hear from the youth more, I want to learn from their energy and perspective because we are living in very different times with challenges that humanity has not faced before.
This week I posted on my FB page that my purse was empty and this was a blessing because it forced me to look at how I am in the world without money. To be honest it wasn’t pretty. I was visited by anxiety, doubt, frustration and a lot of fear.
When I reflect on my life, I’ve always had enough to do what I wanted and if I didn’t I would just work until I made what I needed. For the first time in my life my purse was empty and I had no clue where the next coin was going to come from.
I got issues, I wont deny. Been crying alot lately and I don’t know why
(but now I do, its a supermoon tonight).
Just when I think I have overcome the pain, I find the emotion has not gone, its just moved deeper into my body.
So last night I meditated on release. Repeating the word over and over, I sensed the tension in my hips, and my neck.
Its not important to name the emotion you want to release but to allow the release to happen.
The body has such great wisdom, and I’m growing in my awareness of it. I no longer want to repress anything, holding
Its funny how life is sometimes. When i changed my name to Ife (meaning Love in Yoruba) i didn’t understand how profoundly it would impact on my life. In Africa a name is supposed to mean something to the holder: a tendency or aspiration that the person is meant to live up to.
I’m discovering that love is challenging. Most of the time the love we show is about our expectations mostly. Recently i found that Ife can be found in the language and people of Lugbara
(Arua, West Nile Uganda) and it means to give, which is interesting because most of the time we do not Love to give but to receive. Its tricky because when you are loving people tend to see this as a weakness and seek to take advantage. However its not about allowing yourself to be a doormat, but allowing the universal love to enter us and flow outwards into the world.