Friday, December 7, 2007

Taste of Courage

Maybe it is appropriate to test, but not to taste courage.
I was going to begin writing that it is a beautiful day in Kampala. Fact is, only I find it beautiful.
But why not? Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Beauty is a perception. What an insight. No absolutes in beauty, but a perception. One man’s (and woman’s) meat is another’s poison.
I woke early, as usual. Went out to listen to the birds sing. The sun promised a beautiful day, on the rising. But there was something to the west which was not usual. A cloud, a mist of smog was hugging the ground. And rolling out over the city.
I could see the sky then. It was wrapped in grey cloud, wool that is an unwashed grey, high above everything. But now I cannot. Because the cloud that was hugging the ground has extended right round the city. I can barely see the green of the hills. I know it is there. I know it is a living entity just beyond the mist, or smog or smoke, or whatever it is.
There is a grey feel to the day, the morning.
And a grey headline in the Monitor newspaper. The Medical Workers Union is telling medical workers to leave Bundibugyo.

THE Uganda Medical Workers Union, an umbrella association of about 20, 000 health workers has asked under-resourced and unprotected medics attending to Ebola patients in the worst hit western district of Bundibugyo to leave immediately.

"All (health) workers who are not provided with protective gear should not work on suspected Ebola cases and (should) leave straight away," the Union chairman Dr Apollo Nyangasi said yesterday.

No, I am not working in Bundibugyo. No, I am not one of the under-resourced and unprotected medics attending to Ebola patients.
Yet I would not endorse the unions call. We are human beings. We all fear. We all are weak sometimes. Glorifying our fear and clothing it in the needs of the day takes away something within us. Our humanity.
Maybe, just maybe. Well, since I am not there, I must be a very biased judge. But I would say, let those who cannot work, not work. And those who can work, let them work. Ultimately, we are still human beings. Fragile entities, capable of intense fear, and courage beyond the call of duty.
The taste of courage. It can be very rough on the palate.


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