Author Archives: The Last Immigrant
All about Fats – Trim and Tone with Pleasure (S²ER²)
It is common knowledge that our health is usually what we eat. The risk of many health issues such as obesity, stroke, heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases could be minimized with a healthy nutritious diet. There are many risk factors (excess fat, sugar, salt, smooking …) that could contribute to poor health. Our main focus today however will be on Fats. Read the rest of this entry
The Case of Monique and the Healthcare System in Cameroon: Be that Voice
Well, there is a new trend among fellow friends nowadays on social media, I don’t know if I should call it political correctness, or being cool or just wanting to be the ultimate smart person or maybe some really do mean it. My problem with some of these persons is, they do not know when to draw the line. They will tell you Cameroonians have lost their reasoning and their sense of objectivity etc. because they are telling a story these persons claim is one-sided or has loop-holes. True, social media and the press at large, do blow things out of proportion; True, it is often good to know more, seek the other side to a story before drawing conclusions, BUT…. (I will come to my BUT shortly).
We all know the latest happenings in Douala, Cameroon. The case of Monique, a pregnant woman who died and was cut open in front of a government hospital by a female relative in her attempt to save the woman’s twin babies. This story went viral on social media, with most Cameroonians calling out and exposing the inadequacies of the Cameroon health system, while my other learned colleagues on the other side are bashing the woman, with some saying the babies were already dead so the hospital did nothing wrong. Now, what these learned friends of mine fail to understand, is, most people are not actually saying the hospital staff killed those babies. They might have, they might have not. With no proper examination by a competent staff, we cannot know. What we know is, someone who is not a health worker, took it into their hands to give birth to the babies. Thus our questioning – how come, what circumstances, will prompt a woman to cut open a dead pregnant woman in front of a medical center to save her unborn babies? That is the question that I think should appeal to every single person’s humane side, be you a health worker or a novice in issues of health. What will push someone to commit such an unethical act? What went wrong and where, if at all? That I think is the question most Cameroonians are asking. And I am happy I could actually see this question making its rounds on some Facebook timelines, in spite of how much others tried to make them look stupid.
Sometimes, it is not only about hearing both sides to a story. Sometimes, you need to look at the situation at hand, analyze it and use it to bring out the other side or whatever sides to the story there is. That was my BUT in the first instance.
In the USA nowadays, when a black person is shot by the police walking down the street, what happens? RAGE. People are angry. They start screaming, they want answers. They go to the press, on social media, on the street. Not one of them sit back and say – no wait, stop acting stupid, let’s wait and hear first from the police officer. We need the other side of the story before we can do something. No, you don’t hear that. And you know why? Because it is not the first time a random black kid/person is shot by the police in the US. People are fed up. They do not care about the other side. They do not care about what actually happened. It keeps happening and happening and they just want it to STOP!
It is the same case with what happened at Laquntinie hospital in Douala. It is not about this one “isolated” situation. It is about all those other situations that have been happening. Not only in Laquntinie, but in hospitals all over Cameroon. It is about all those patients being turned down simply because their families couldn’t afford basic check up payments. It is about all those kids, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers who die, because the system is so fucked and messed up such that, there is no concern for human lives, it is only concerned about the money. The social media Rage in the case of Monique is a cry to let it STOP! It is the people saying NO, it is ENOUGH! It is not about hearing two sides to a story, it is not about who is right and who is wrong in this one particular case. It is about making things RIGHT, the past, the present and most important, the future. It is about putting a system in place that works, it is about the common citizen having faith in its nations healthcare facilities and its health workers. It is about me, you, walking into a medical institution with an emergency and getting adequate treatment. So please, spare us with your smartness and sharp minds. We are average Cameroonians and we think like average people. Let Us!
To humor my very smart friends, we finally heard the “other” side to the story. The minister of public health, Andre Mama Fouda made a public statement to this unfortunate event. Mark you, Mr minister himself is a medical specialist.
Mr Minister claimed the family brought in the woman in the hospital knowing she was already dead and… wait, let me tackle this first. I am not smart oh, I am just an average Cameroonian. But Mr Minister, how can the family be sure their wife/sister was dead? Are they in any way/form qualified to declare a person death? From my basic knowledge, is it not a medical official, precisely a practicing med. Dr. who is supposed to determine this? I stand to be corrected please, I am always willing to learn.
Ok, Mr Minister continues, saying the family came in with the woman knowing she was already dead, but asked if they could perform an operation to remove the fetus, as according to tradition, they can’t bury a pregnant woman with fetus. The hospital officials claim they can’t undergo such an operation and send the family to another hospital, to Laquntinine…But, HOLD ON. Mr Minister, seriously? Did the health personal of this hospital even carry out an examination? Who were these persons? Was it nurses? Was a med. Dr. involved? Did they determine time of death and if the Fetus was still living? More questions, more confusion.
On arriving Laquntinie, a medical student saw to the family, without taking a look at the patient, he sent them to the maternity. At the maternity, the midwives confirmed death and sent the family to dispose the “corpse” at the mortuary. How did they determine death? By looking at the pupil, checking pulse and heartbeat. No, pop pop pop and bam, Dead! My question to you Mr. Minister, are midwives trained to determine and declare the death of a patient? Was this case ever handled as an emergency? Why was a medical doctor not involved?
The saga continues. At the mortuary, the assistant there told them he saw the baby move. They should take the woman back to the maternity and have her operated. Family jumped into the cab again, ran to the maternity where they were turned down (for the 3rd time) by the health workers and sent back to the mortuary. Now, you can see the desperation and frustration mounting. The family was left on their own, the mob gathered and the inevitable happened. The family took matters into their hands and did what they had expected the hospital to do for them. If one, just one single person of real authority, specifically, a medical doctor had taken time, talked and explained things to this family, maybe this whole mess would have been avoided.
Now Mr Minister and certain learned friends of mine and some medics are condemning the woman who took matters into her own hands. She cut the “dead” patient open herself to remove the babies and now she is in jail. Is her action unethical? Sure it is. Is it criminal, maybe yes, maybe no, that is for the courts to decide. Is it humane, it sure damn well is. Her unethical action was born of frustration and desperation and the inner conviction to set things right. My fellow humans, you seem to undermine the strength of desperation. When you’re desperate, you undertake exceptional sometimes unbelievable measures. You go crazy, you start hearing voices, logic and common sense desert you. And when there’s a mob, you pick out one voice, the one voice that is telling you to do that thing that needs to be done. The mob spoke to this woman in her desperation, and she listened. She doesn’t need jail. What she needs is psychological help, she must be in a very dark place right now, she needs the help of the same institution that failed her and pushed her to her actions.
Let me tell you a personal story. Sometime ago in my teens, I can’t remember exactly how old I was then, in my hometown Limbe, Cameroon, I got into a cab. It was a full cab, with 5 passengers. 3 behind and 2 in the front passenger seat. I was sitting with an elderly woman in front, and I was the one near the door. When it came to my stop, the brakes failed and the cab couldn’t stop. We were going down a slope, faster and faster. The cab driver panicked, we all panicked, the people in the street panicked and there was loud screaming. At that moment, I saw myself confronted with death and my mind was whirling. In the midst of all the screaming going on inside the cab and out on the streets, I heard one voice, one person screaming, “open the door and jump.” Wow, what a sensible thing to do, it was either dead or life and that person was the only person telling me how to live. My muffled up brain told me if I wanted to live, I had to heed to that voice, I had to jump. Without hesitating, I opened the door, the driver screamed for me to stop, too late, I already made the dive. God, the Cosmos and the heavens alone knew how I came out of that unscathed, at the pace the car was going down. A few km down, on level ground, the driver was finally able to break the car and everyone got out safe. I received a thorough scolding from everyone, the driver the passengers (even the one who screamed to jump out) and the onlookers. I couldn’t get it, I was shivering, I was in shock and I was scared. A woman ran into the circle, took one look at me and asked them all to stop. She took me in her arms and held me until the shivering stopped, the whole while whispering to me “don’t worry child, it is ok, you are fine now.” She repeated shhhhhh over and over until the shivering stopped. And then, she took me home. It is more than at least 18 years today and although I can’t remember her face, I can still remember her smell and her soft comforting voice, as much as I can remember that voice that told me to jump. I was in a desperate situation and I listened to the only thing that made sense to me. I could have died, I could have been seriously injured, but at that moment, it was my only means of survival. I was saving myself
Basically, what I am saying is, the lady who cut into the dead woman was in a similar situation. She was frustrated and desperate. She has been turned down by the persons who were supposed to be her helper 3 times already. She felt helpless. And then the mob came, and with it that one voice. That voice that told her exactly what needed to be done to “save” the unborn children, the children she believed were still alive because a hospital worker told her so. So she did the unethical, borne out of ignorance, desperation and frustration. You can’t blame her Mr. minister. You can’t blame her you medics. You can’t blame her my very learned friends. I won’t even dare blame the individual health officials. What and who I will blame is you Mr. Minister and your shitty healthcare system in place. You and your bogus system and structures are a laugh. And you have the audacity to arrest that poor woman, because as you rightly said, she was not qualified to undertake such a procedure. What did your “qualified” personal do to stop this from happening? What has your “qualified” personal and structures in place been doing to stop such over the years? We are tired Mr. Minister. We want it to STOP
My dear humans and citizens of the world, let us all be that VOICE that needs to be heard. Let us turn that one voice who will push you to desperate measures and use it to bring a positive change. Don’t let them fool you. You have the powers to make it happen. What happened to that woman and others before her is an act of negligence and disregard of human life. Her sister/non relative acted in desperation because our healthcare system let her down. Be the Voice, show your frustration, show your desperation, tell Laquntinie this has to STOP. Tell Andre Mama Fouda and his government this has to STOP! Use your VOICES and SCREAM LOUD, Louder than you have ever done in your entire life. Call out the callousness and ignorance of our leaders. Speak Out, SHOUT OUT! I want to hear ALL Cameroonians screaming, bloggers go on your keyboards, Friends shout out, on Facebook, twitter, Instagram, whatsapp, on the streets, wherever you think can have an IMPACT. Let your VOICE be heard, because ALL LIVES MATTERS!
This might be the Story, that one story that will bring the change we all so desperately need. Damn it, if you feel like blowing the story out of proportion, do it. Don’t let anyone intimidate you or talk you down that you’re stupid for doing that, or that you lack reason. If being stupid or having no reason is gonna make it Happen, then by all powers invested upon you, be stupid, and be loud in your stupidity. You don’t need to write a story. A simply hashtag message will do .. #IamMonique #AlllivesMatter #SaveOurMedicalSystem #healthcareforall! Be as creative as you can. Just let your voice be heard, for you, for me, for our children, for keeping innocent people out of jail, for standing up for what’s right. Don’t stay behind the fence. Be Courageous, Be Bold, Be Heard, BE THAT VOICE!
Why we gain weight: Errors we make while dieting
Welcome to Week 1 of our series on Trim and Tone with Pleasure – S²ER²: The secret to lose weight and keep it. Sorry for posting one day late. As promised, for the next 8 weeks, we are going to inform you and give you useful tips on nutrition and how best to consume food. Not only that, but we are also here to help you lose weight and keep it – without going hungry, without giving up on any nutrients. Yes, you can lose weight on a full and saturated stomach. Last week, we had some basics on the necessary tools for weight loss. Today, we will delve a step deeper and discuss some of the reasons why we gain weight and the errors we make while dieting. These are necessities to know in the process to your perfect body size.
Dieting: Why we gain weight
Calories Intake: If you eat more calories than you burn, you gain weight. This is a popular knowledge for being the number one factor why we gain weight. While this is true, there are many other factors that contribute in our piling up the kilo. Just keep in mind that, to maintain your weight, you need ca. 2360 kcal/day. To lose 0.5 kg/week you need an intake of ca. 1,860 kcal/day. To lose 1 kg/week, you need an intake of ca. 1,360 kcal/day. Minimum calories intake for weight loss for women is 1200 kcal/day and 1500 kcal/day for men.
Multiple Diets: Actually, diets are supposed to make you lose weight. But if one diet follows the other, they tend to make you fat instead. This is so because, when you start a new diet, your body realizes this and it goes into an automatic “saving” mood. It uses less energy so as to get along with the tight supply. When you end your diet, your body continues in its saving mood and saves up the increased calories (for rainy days). What happens is a jo-jo effect. Your weight climbs up. This is especially true with crash diets.
Fats: No other food nutrient has as much calories as fat. Fats contain more calories than proteins and carbs put together. While our body easily absorbs fats, it uses up carbs for energy. Thus consuming carb rich foods such as bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, vegetables and fruits, will not only fill you up, but you will take in fewer calories as well. How much fat you should consume and its health benefits/damages will be the topic of our next week issue.
Stress and Heartache: For some people, when they are stressed up, when they want to calm down their nerves maybe after a stressful day at work or a stressful presentation, or they just want to feel good after a stressful situation, they turn to food. Eating comforts them. For others, they turn to food because of boredom or heartache, making you eat erratically, most often the wrong things, gaining more weight.
Age: as you grow older, your metabolic process slows down and the muscle percentage in your body drops. Already at the age of 25, your calorie intake should reduce. If you keep eating as usual and also do not exercise, you start gaining weight slowly but continuously.
CWT Chicken stew (4 pers.) Read the rest of this entry
Trim and Tone with Pleasure – S²ER²: The secret to lose weight and keep it
Have you ever dreamed of having the body of a top model? Have you ever passed by the stores and see this amazing size 2 dress and think “if only I could wear it?” Have you ever opened your Facebook page and first thing you land on is your size “0” friend’s picture? And then you have these countless fashion magazines, fitness coaches on TV, all telling you, you can have that body in 2 weeks, 4 weeks.
Well I am here to tell you, yes you can, but not that quick. Those tv adds and magazines are misleading. To lose weight AND maintain it, you have to go slow. Slow and Steady, Eat Right and Exercise Right (S²ER²) are the key formula to a lifetime of weight loss and Slim Fit. Quick fixes do not exist in losing weight and maintaining it – as they do not only make you to eventually gain back more weight, they are also a huge health risk. Be skeptical of any diet that promise records in a few days or weeks. You do not only want to lose weight to look good for the moment, you want to lose weight to stay forever fit and trim. And that is what this series is all about. Read the rest of this entry
STRIPPED (A tale by Arrey Echi)
The afternoon sun was boiling and almost everyone was stripped to their waist, bare backs soaked in sweat. The metallic click of iron and brass as the motor boys went through their work provided a kind of soothing music which, coupled with the hot sun sounded like a midday lullaby to lure an errant child to sleep.
Sleep was out of the question however. That Sango needed to come and collect his car today and there was still much work to do. ‘But how can one work under this raging sun?’ Achale wondered. Not too long ago, he looked around to be sure that he was at Bonaberi after asking himself time and again if the town suddenly sprout wings and flew closer to the sun. ‘Chai make place no ever hot so!’ He exclaimed.
Tiptoeing around the others, Achale made his way to his favourite spot; a place he accidentally discovered and which has since then served as a sanctuary. Lowering himself to the ground, the cool breeze was a welcome relieve from the blazing midday heat.
He was suddenly lost to the heat and sounds around him. Everything became a blur as his mind zeroed back to that long ago moment that seems to have happened a century ago but which actually was just a couple of years now.
He was his own manager and had several people under him. Nevertheless, hearing the stories of those who have traveled abroad, he felt he was in limbo while the real action happened abroad.
He sold his small but expanding business and went in search for the Patron as people referred to the guy. Funny thing was nobody knew his actual names. Patron was what everyone called him.
Money changed hands and Patron got to work. Within a month, all Achale’s documents were ready and he was about to soar the skies to the land of plenty; a land which he had been made to know flow with milk and honey.
Little did he know the excitement could become his worst nightmare.
Closing his eyes, he could well picture and smell the hot dogs and hamburgers he used to eat. Pictures of the pristine whiteness of the snow during the winter months, which usually made him shout in glee like a kid being offered its favourite toy.
All these swept past before a smiling Achale until the smile died when he reached the moment he was handcuffed and led away like a common thief.
As fate would have it, his visa had expired for a while and he was living undercover for almost a year when his luck ran out and was arrested and sent to jail, where he was stripped of all what he possessed and shipped back home like a common criminal, stripped of all dignity and pride.
The loud bang of metal penetrated his foggy brain and like a dose of cold water, he was brought back to the reality that was his now.
With a sigh Achale grudgingly walked back to join his colleagues, the memories neatly tucked away like a precious treasure chest, leaving a bitter-sweet taste and waiting to be dug up again during one of those boiling but gloomy days.
The tears flew and the frustrations mounted with no snowy weather to quench the heat, the iron bore the anger and frustration like it was responsible for his being stripped.