Essays from Uganda
HEALTH CARE AT MY SCHOOL in Uganda by Walasana Emmanuel
In this piece of my writing, I express the state of health at my school. My name is Walasana Emmanuel. I am a male, aged eleven and in Primary Six. I love studying and my future study destiny is being a health care worker, preferably in a school or any other institution to help students or pupils.
We are currently out of school due to Covid 19 pandemic but I feel relieved and safe with my life in terms of health welfare. As much as I love studying from my school too. There are some factors like failure to get better health services while at school which worry me. My friends and I have always found it difficult to settle in school well since in most cases our studies are always disturbed by lack of good health services majorly because of our sickbay being in poor conditions.
A sickbay should have been that place we call our hospital at the school setting. It should have been that place where most of our health concerns are addressed. Why then should my school sickbay be the source of some of my health problems? How good is it for a believer to fear paradise? At first I loved visiting the sickbay for the basic health care like getting painkillers, anti-malaria drugs, flu treatment and simple blood tests. To my dismay, none of the above has ever been successfully handled. Did you know that pupils in my school fear the sickbay more than any other place? Some of the challenges are as explained below.
Inadequate facilities like few beds make it difficult for the sickbay to contain us. Falling sick cannot be time tabled. What is the possibility of thirty patients sharing four beds? This is unbelievable but true. I well know that a bed is meant for one patient at a time. This problem makes other children and I unsafe at school as it instead exposes us to other unhealthy conditions.
Each and every one would feel happy knowing the conditions they are being treated for. The absence of test kits for malaria and other illnesses has always made our nurse medicate us by her choice not by condition. She imagines the sickness and she offers the best she can. Maybe she had a microscope and test kits, her work would be easy. This would make her independent at her work and hence work with enough evidence. Learners would also have more hope in her and in return trust the sick bay with her lives. If only my pocket money was enough, I would contribute it to our school to buy a microscope because our nurse needs it. It is one of the tools she studied to use and I feel she is incomplete without it. Imagine transporting test samples to other health centres for testing. This puts the life of our nurse at risk and at the same time it delays our effective treatment. Every school sickbay should have a simple laboratory with all the simple equipment not forgetting my “wish” a microscope.
The limited space at my sickbay is yet another problem that makes it unsafe for me and other children. Different children come from different homes with different diseases. The congestion at the sickbay has always been a worry. Boys and girls in the same rest room, not good enough. Imagine putting together patients of measles, malaria, flu, chicken pox, diarrhoea, dysentery, wounds etc. This provides a suitable environment for the breeding of germs, infection and re-infection. In addition there is no privacy. My science teacher told me that hospitals have different wards in order to promote privacy and limit the spread of infections or diseases among the patients. At my school, the sickbay is a source of all troubles. You visit with malaria and at the end of the day you harvest flu and others. Should I visit my sickbay for health care anymore given that such conditions still exist?
We have resorted to self-medication while at school, which practice puts us at risk of over or under dose since we don’t have enough knowledge on medicines. The conditions at our sickbay need to be improved as soon as possible. The mentioned conditions above make us fear to go to the sickbay but instead smuggle some drugs with us into the school for use at our own time.
Our teachers who are our parents at school have not taken enough follow up on our health care at school. Teachers should work together with our nurse so as to ensure our welfare. The bad working conditions at the sickbay require a joint effort. Our nurse is helpless and feels abandoned.
We all have to agree that one nurse cannot effectively handle too many children. As we are many, we need more than one nurse so as to attend to all the children with different health problems.
The Tree Project Uganda
Mutagubya Adrian Paul P.7
I am by the names of Mutyaba Adrian Paul, who is very passionate about the environment. Since my childhood, I fell in love with trees of all types which are richly grown in Uganda.
A tree is a tall plant with a track and branches made of wood. It can live for many years, trees gather light for photosynthesis through their leaves, and this process creates food and medicine for human purpose as we shall see later in my environmental tree story.
While at home my grand pa shared a good story with me about trees. He said and I quote.
“One of the reasons trees grow big is because of their ability to create woody issues and this process is called secondly plant growth.”
One of the major purpose of trees in my country Uganda is to get wood out of trees for furniture and out of this, my grand pa got big sales and he was very happy for reaping big in such an economic activity.
As a young boy I got to know that trees give us clear air to breath. They absorb carbondioxide and produce oxygen and in fact I was also told that one acre of trees can provide enough oxygen a year for people to breathe.
Ugandan trees especially absorb some of the bad pollutants in the air hence living us with a better cleaner air.
Trees provide us with food. As we shall see later in one of my maps of trees in my region, you will see the various types of trees that give us food and fruits on Ugandan soil. Fruit trees grow all over the land, for instance in Uganda, in Luwero district people grow oranges for human consumption because they are delicious and medicinal.
Trees are naturally beautiful in Uganda, my grand pa for instance planted trees all over the garden and it created a beautiful scene and shade as shelter, windbreak, to protect houses etc.
Trees provide comfort when you have a tree in a compound; you easily relax and feel fresh after a walk with a given fresh air.
At my age, without a tree at home and at my grand pa’s ancestral home, I would be sad. We normally jump, climb, and sorts of games while we develop various skills and friends as young people. Therefore trees are good for children.
Trees prevent soil erosion: Those large roots keep the soil in place and firm. Without trees, we would be living in a wasteland.
Trees give us wood: If I would count things in our home, most of them are made of wood. For instance, furniture, windows, doors, papers and many more. We depend on wood to fulfill our basic needs and so many luxury items as a result of trees.
Lastly trees increase the quality of our lives. They work for us in so many levels. They help us to keep us healthy, they give us wind, the lighting modes, they also control our stress as we rest and finally add economic value in our lives.
Mariam Naiga P.5
Why do I like trees?
Having the beautiful green scenery mostly during wet seasons. I can’t say that they are not good because of their importances in various seasons per season, hour per hour depending on climatic changes and these are, they help in rainfall formation, provide to people, source of medicine from their coloured leaves boiled with water later after cooling a patient or victim is to take it. Trees act as a home of some of wild animals which add on government revenue through taxing the tourists, the products got from trees for example charcoal, wood and many others promotes market between the neighbouring countries.
How does a tree grow?
Once it is rainy reason, farmers begin to prepare their gardens or land basing on what they want to plant. For example one plan for planting trees, one should have the following i.e. seeds, land, capital, labour to work in gardens etc. in order to start up as well as proper spacing is required for a tree to have enough water under the ground under the process called osmosis by the help of roots which later other parts of a tree in the social firmly to support the other parts of a tree like shoot system (stem) which later bring branches, flowers and finally bears fruits which can be eaten i.e. a mango tree bears mangoes, orange tree bears oranges, guava tree bears guavas, jack tree bears jack fruits.
Vivian Namiya P.6
Can trees get diseases?
A disease is a small living organism caused by either a bacteria, fungi or virus. A disease destroys plants and in animals sometimes kills. If we are to tell more different trees are attacked by several diseases it can either attack leaves, roots or the whole tree for example if we are to look at hardwood trees they are attacked by leaf spots, the stem rotting in some trees is caused by tar, cassava mosaic commonly in cassava. Most trees when they are attacked by diseases i.e. rotting of roots and stems can lead to falling of the trees and the yellowish colour on leaves makes the tree to shade off the affected leaves.
Were Elvis P.6
How to grow trees?
Different trees grow in various ways but most of them grow by seeds and they are classified under conifers. They mostly bear fruits and those which are purposely grown for flowers (decoration) are known as ferns for them they do not bear fruits or seeds.
The trees are of many values to us, they possibly help in rainfall formation, provide us with firewood used for cooking food, some trees also provide us with herbal medicine for example when boil leaves and roots of some trees with water they provide us with herbal medicine mostly for flu, cough, malaria and other diseases, trees also provide us with shade during sunny days, some trees provide us with softwood purposely which helps us in paper making.
Labong Trevor P.7
Challenges affecting trees and their impact
If we are to tell more, trees can be attacked by diseases which can hinder them when they are growing or during growth. For example a mango tree can be attacked by leaf rust; anthrax, nose attacks, mostly leaves and leaf spots common in hard woods, tar spots mostly on stem of some trees. Some diseases cause rotting of roots also lead to falling off leaves from the tress and cause leaves to develop a yellowish colour.
This is one of the various reasons why people chop down trees i.e. other trees are chopped down to get firewood used for cooking, to get timber used in building houses, they are also chopped down /cut down to get charcoal used for cooking in stoves, for easy settlement, to get land for farming. It has greatly damaged the environment by causing deforestation in Uganda and African countries where we have these practices.
Deforestation means the massive cutting down of trees in an area and this is common practiced in some areas of Africa. It has got a number of impacts as follows, deforestation has led to seasonal changes, due to cutting down the trees it has led to soil erosion, caused desertification and flooding of water, destruction of people’s properties.
Shariff Ndugga P.7
What is a tree?
A tree is a wooden plant having a single stem with its height at the same distance from the ground; mostly trees are always green during rainy season except during dry seasons some shade off their leaves to reduce on the rate of transpiration and also change in colour in some trees from green to brown. These are two types of trees and these include; the natural and artificial planted trees. These types fall under their examples i.e. natural trees include; Bamboo, Mahogany and artificial or planted trees. Here are some of the examples like pines, mango tree, Avocado tree, jack fruit tree, guava trees among others.
In my environment I recognise some trees which include mango tree, guava tree, orange tree, Avocado tree, which bear fruits during their seasons for example a mongo tree bears fruits twice a year (every after six months, jack fruit tree bears its own fruit every after eight months).
Ketra Katiiti P.5
Can trees provide food for me?
Food is something we eat to become satisfied and can be easily digested and worked upon by enzymes in the stomach.
Basically some trees provide food for both people and animals. The food provided is mostly notorious food which help to improve on somebody’s weakness like little blood, night blindness, flu, headache, restores the worn out cells for example mango fruit provide us with vitamin useful to our body, the juice from the fruits is also advisable by health workers in the hospitals to be taken by the patients mostly who have taken poison.
By Ketra Katiiti P.5
Josephine Namayanja P.4
Are trees important in climate change?
Climate itself is explained as the average weather condition recorded for a long period of time. It is mostly carried out on rivers, seas, lakes, oceans and this is known as sea breeze not only in water but also occurs in trees or forests mostly where they are many trees in that place or area receives much rainfall season being that trees help in climate change hence the leaves when heat with sun, the water found on leaves mostly in the morning it evaporates and goes up in form of vapour which form a dark cloud called nimbus cloud and later fall/come as rainfall. The rain helps in crop growing, used for domestic work for example drinking, cooking, washing clothes and utensils, building, irrigation in gardens and many others.
Joseph Ssebakijje P.6
The impact of deforestation in Africa
Deforestation is the cutting down of trees in large numbers. As we said, it is not advisable for people to practice it because it is locally known as destroying the beauty of the environment or our surrounding. Deforestation has got a number of impacts or disadvantages as follows, it has led to global warming which has caused prolonged drought, (too much carbon dioxide which cause holes on the sky layer and leads to little rain)
Deborah Nakitto P.6
Why are people chopping down the forests?
Another word to mean chopping down the forests is known as cutting down and this is common in trees. It is an illegal act mostly in Africa and this can lead to imprisonment or paying court fines when someone is found cutting down trees without permission of the government.
However, it is illegal but people still chop down trees for a number of roles, the tree husks are bid down mostly suitable to provide warmth in poultry birds, to make doors and pencils which helps the pupils in writing and drawing for road construction mostly done in rural areas to reduce on the poor transport, also when constructing an air field where the planes can land.
By Deborah Nakitto P.6
Denise Nantale P.7
What is a tree?
A tree is a wooden plant having several branches on its stem with the same distance/space from the ground. Many trees have strong branches which help people and some animals to pick ripe fruits and also resting, other plants with weak stems get support and sunlight. Hardwood trees basically provide us with hardwoods mostly used for building houses, wooden tables, chairs, cupboards and some other wooden ceilings. Trees are used as scare crews in garden when properly dressed with either clothes or grasses to scare pests from destroying crops, trees, when designed well can work as posters representing different things mostly here at towns and busy roads which can be made in form of Jesus Christ on cross representing church and many more things made out of trees.
Trees where I live draw a map of trees in my area
Trees where I live have a beautiful scenery once you step up in my environment they welcome you by the moving wind which blows and shakes the leaves on branches and the conducive shades which attracts people to sit under them for relaxing and refreshing their minds, doing other personal work for example washing clothes, revising books, carrying in some lessons and other meetings.
- Has a yellow juice reach in vitamin C
- Has a strong branch which enables people to climb it and pick the fruits.
- Has a hard seed which are resistant to bad weather conditions
- The fruits take long to get ripe
- Has big fruits
- Produces milky and sticky fluids inside the fruit
- It produces many seeds with hard shells
- We get proteins and fats from eating jack fruit
- It has weak branches not suitable for people to climb
- Some orange trees have thorns which pierce people when they are trying to climb.
- Orange juice is reach also in vitamin C.
Right from the word go,as a toddler, I saw trees, studied on trees and enjoyed trees. I know values, benefits but I have not heard of disadvantages. So to me as Agaba, trees are of an advantage in my society as we shall read ahead of my story. Their values, their diseases and why people cut them off. here we go.
How trees are important in climate change
As trees grow, they help to stop climate change by removing carbondioxide from the air; they store carbon in the tree and soil and release oxygen into the atmosphere.
Climate change means long term change in a global climate for instance slow increase in temperature of the earth’s atmosphere.
Trees can get diseases
Trees can get diseases caused by fungi or bacteria they infect the tissues of trees. The vessels that conduct water and food through the plant as it so read, it interferes with the ability on the plant to use nutrients and afterwards the leaves start to wilt, start to drop and defoliate. Some of the diseases include the following; leaf rust, pine needle rust, leaf spots.
The roots can also appear to decay and the lower truck layer of the tree starts getting brown spots leading the tree to die off.
Why people cut off forests
In Uganda mostly, people cut down forests to make way for various plantations where products such as bananas, pineapple, sugarcane, tea, palm and coffee are grown so the farmers think it wise to cut the forest such that the soil will sustain the crops.
People cut down forests for so many reasons this is because people need to build store houses and other commercial building, people also cut down forests to clear land for agricultural use in some cases for wood and firewood for their home to build or cook food.
The impact of deforestation in Africa
After a long study and research of Uganda’s Mabira forest, the study concluded that changing land use from forests to crop land reduce rainfall over the neighbouring trees due to changes in surface of the temperature which affects the formation of rain clouds.
The loss of trees in Africa and other vegetation in most of African forests has caused climate change, deforestation, soil erosion, fewer crops, flooding and an increased green gases in the atmosphere causing environmental problems in sub Saharan Africa.
Finally my message to all Africans as a young man, we must stop cutting down trees and protect the forests to stop climate change because if nothing is done, we may lose everything hence Africa remaining a desert.
Gabriel Egesa P.6
We can make medicine out of trees
We can make medicine out of trees which can generally cure some diseases to people, for example, if we get mango and Avocado leaves added with water and boiled, we form a herbal medicine which cures malaria, stomach pains, flue, cough among others.
Avocado leaves when boiled, with water and given to people who are anemic, increase on the rate of blood in the body. It’s practiced to families which cannot afford to go to hospital mostly done in rural areas with cases of sickle cells and many other diseases.
Some trees provide us with food for example a mango tree provides us with mangoes which gives us Vitamin C, jack fruit tree provides jack fruit reach in carbohydrates, Guava tree bears with guavas reach is Vitamin A.
Joel Mukisa P.4
Can I make medicine out of trees?
A medicine is a drug given to sick people in order to help them or to save their lives from sickness they are suffering from. It may be a highly deadly diseases or which weakens someone’s health way of living. Trees probably provide medicine. We can get medicine from trees simply by either building with water or squeezing the juice out of leaves and mixing it with cool water and then given to a patient to take or drink. In all the medicine got from trees it has no any other side effects or causing harm to people unless when it is misused for example taking over doze.
Joseph Bbosa P.7
How to grow trees?
Before you plant a tree, you must have land. Then you dig the planting hole. You therefore have to trim the roots and generally massage it and remove the necessary stalk.
After that you have to place the tree into the hole, stalk it and tie it. Finally you have to water the trees thoroughly and mulch it. So the trees will start to grow by its self. You will have to prune the tree sparingly and only if necessary.
Among the tree fruits that have gained popularity in Uganda are Avocado, oranges, guava, mangoes, jackfruit etc. trees in many way improve on our diets and control hunger in local communities and rural areas. They contribute tremendously on food security in our country. When I went to my grand pa’s home for instance, I almost starved when lunch delayed but then one option for me was for the jackfruit that acted as food security for me until food was ready.
Trees as medicine
Trees provide us with leaves, roots, berries and fruits most of which have medicinal properties that cannot be found anywhere else in nature.
For so many years, mostly in my village in Masaka district, trees have given us wonderful herbal medicines and played an important role in our lives. When I get sick, before running to the pharmacy my mother always checks herbal trees in the garden where most of them can treat various common ailments like malaria, measles, skin rushes etc.
Medicinal wood is very important and usually, you cut pieces of wood from the tree and boil for an unextended period of time of which you can get a certain dose for drinking. To cure certain diseases, most of the syrups in pharmacies are as a result of herbal research and applied in doses. Tree medicine usually stays for long.