Our ancestors are turning in their graves

Each profession, intellectual or manual, deserves consideration, whether it requires painful physical effort or manual dexterity, wide knowledge or the patience of an ant. Ours, like that of a doctor, does not allow for any mistake. You don't joke with life, and life is both body and mind. To warp a soul is as much a sacrilege as murder. (Mariam Ba so long a letter)

Image result for nakayima tree uganda Image may contain: 1 person, baby and closeupAmoi Petelina with one of her grand children 

Our ancestors are turning in their grave.
At least I know mine is
Down at the compound still stands the grand fenne tree
Slightly bent over the now deserted birth house
I still remember running   up and down as we gathered Chasmanthera dependes (lubowa)  to  make a  decoction   for the birthing mother   that  was just  brought in , 
she had  had a retained  placenta and  the  following  day she was   able to  go home  with her  baby .
And yet  you  say it is primitive, utterly harmful,
 Our rituals are mortally sinful, they are ignorant and diseased.
  My ancestors are  turning in their graves

Don’t get me wrong, everything good can be bad too
Plants are powerful but they can be harmful too
The witch doctor that gives you the evil potion is different from the medicine man that provides the antidote.
When Zehneria minutiflora (kifo) is placed on someone’s footsteps,
 They may not be able to think clearly.
And yet, the leaves of the same plant, when infused can be used as a bath to treat Bad breath and odor. 
You should have seen the  elders 
 Many  joined the ancestors at 110 years or more 
 Not   a single strain of grey in their  hair
 They  walked with grace and vigor
  To this day, stories are told about how the spirits taught them the language of the plants
   And yet with spite,we  call it barbaric and backward
 Our  ancestors are turning in their grave

            But you should see the sophisticated one
The sight of her invokes sympathy
Her lips are red hot like that of a wild cat that has just dipped its mouth in blood
The skin so pale with the feet so swollen when   she walks,
 You can hear the sound of her foot steps from a mile away
   When She sighs, you hear the horn of the train approaching
 She sweats medication; the sophisticated one is a living dead.
   I don’t understand her chosen way of treatment; they are way too complex for me
Just like I don’t understand the need for surgery to reconstruct the   hymen
Or to do a breast reduction, when everywhere I turn
 I can see  Oxalis corniculata growing everywhere.
And yet ,she swears her lungs out not trust her life with plants
Our ancestors are surely turning in their graves

Don’t get me wrong
I have worked in the hospital
  I still remember so well running to the third floor
  And he was on floor and there was blood everywhere
 Quickly we had our   gloves on and on the count of three
  Lifted him up   back to his bed  
  My hand was full of flesh, his skin was peeling off
 More like a snake moulting, the pain through his body is only second
 To the eternal hell fire
An infusion of kazaana would have helped or even a ritual.
But you see that is not the way for the sophisticated
 The hospital is a place for repressed emotions
Every morning we mobbed around like robots parting our lips to reveal the teeth
 As the protocol so demanded,
 In the eyes of the young you could the fatigue of old age
 And in the eyes of the old, the desperate cry of a child
 There was misery everywhere.
 I saw it all, broken ribs during resuscitation, blood, needles
The moaning in the waiting room
The patients came in sick and left looking like zombies
 If they didn’t die
    And yet she says the rituals, chanting and smoking is primitive
My ancestors are truly turning in their grave

Don’t think I despise her ways at all
The complexity surrounding her decision is mind blowing
 The amount of medication she has to take just to survive is beyond disbelief
 That she is even alive, is a miracle
As  said by the ancestors , “death comes from death and life from life
 How can the sterile medication she takes restore life? I wonder
The complexity of her chosen ways has left me with profound respect
For conventional medicine
 And while it is true that many of us are most likely alive because of it
Herbal medicine deserves its place too
Show me any hospital that distributes good luck in bottles
 And I will show ten plants, you can chew smoke, steam or infuse
 Nothing is perfect and is not without flaws
All I’m asking for is a fair ground to play
 Because how can a system designed to prepare people for death
 Determine the fate of one that actually believes in life?
 A poem by  herbalist Anna Athieno  (BSC)
Takecharge of your health . health is wealth


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