Hii nimeikuta Kwanza Jamii.com Samunge Is Not It But there are many reasons to promote a lie Babu wa Loliondo, Mchungaji Mwasapile, akitoa dozi By Pat Patten Before Samunge, each major hospital in the Arusha area typically saw two to three critically high blood sugar cases per week. They now see eight to ten a day. Diabetics, most of whom were well controlled and living otherwise healthy lives, went to Samunge to be cured. They are now going blind, suffering kidney failure, experiencing swelling in their hands and feet, and getting diabetic sores on their extremities. They are dying. They need not be. They will leave wives and husbands and children behind for no reason except for irrationally placed faith in an untested cure. A classic example is an elderly diabetic whose condition was well controlled with pills for years. Several months ago, he started looking quite awful. He had started overdosing his oral diabetic medications because the normal dose was no longer controlling his blood sugar. He did not consult a doctor, but had himself increased his dose to a toxic level. Using properly diagnosed amounts of injectable insulin freely available from government health services he would live a normal life. He did not want to use insulin. Instead, he went to Samunge. There, he was trampled by the crowds who hurt one of his legs quite badly. He had to wait in line five days to drink the cup. But he did; and he proclaimed himself cured. Except for his newly acquired limp, he absolutely looked better, no question about it. But what was the real reason for his improvement? He had stopped taking the toxic overdose of his diabetic medicine. So of course he felt better. He told all his friends about the miracle cure. His happy reprieve lasted only a short time. He has since been admitted to the hospital several times to try and balance his blood sugar. He does not tell his friends about this. Behind every apparent cure, there is a simpler alternate explanation. A more tragic example comes from a middle aged woman with seven children. Her high blood pressure was successfully controlled for many years with medication. She went to Samunge. She took the cup and returned home. She stopped taking her medication and would not have her blood pressure taken any more because she believed. Several weeks later she dropped dead from a massive stroke, leaving her husband and children behind. Nobody reports the connection with Samunge. What about this womans deep faith and her husbands and her childrens deep faith when their mother falls over, full of faith and very dead? All these deaths are so unnecessary. What destruction is being done! One cannot in any way, shape, or form, say that this is Gods will. Similar cases exist with AIDS patients. Again, speaking with doctors all over Arusha Region, we find hospitals filled with formerly well-controlled AIDS patients who have taken the cure. They are dying. The mortuary at the hospital nearest Samunge is overflowing with the dead. Attendance at AIDS clinics generously funded by foreign organizations is dropping. A well designed, well placed medical program in our country risks losing significant funding because centres are not being frequented as before. And thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, who need not die, will die. There is a widely reported story, of a woman who claimed to be cured of her AIDS. A clinical officer at the hospital (who falsely presented himself to the press as a doctor) verified the cure. But, there is more to this story. Some time ago, the woman and her husband went for HIV testing. He repeatedly tested positive. He subsequently died. She, on the other hand, always tested negative. After his death, she went to Samunge, drank the cup and went back to the hospital to be tested. Surprise! She tested negative. The clinical officer has since received a disciplinary letter; but the damage has been done. People are placing their faith in a lie, not perhaps on the part of Pastor Masapila, but on the part of a clinical officer who misrepresented himself and the situation. All sorts of people benefit from these lies. Bus, lorry, taxi and minibus operators are thrilled with the extra business. They do not want the flow of sick people to Samunge to stop. People selling exorbitantly priced food on the way to Samunge are thrilled. There are four helicopters from several countries newly based at Arusha Airport. They cater to the well-to-do who want to go to Samunge in comfort. Helicopter owners are thrilled. Carpenters and masons in the area are thrilled to see their own businesses booming. Proponents of a road across the Serengeti through Loliondo are thrilled with the commotion in Samunge. Now they say the road is essential for people to get to the cure. Police benefit from the 5,000 shilling tax levied on Samunge-bound Tanzanian cars or 10,000 shillings from Kenyan cars, sometimes levied several times. We are talking about hundreds of millions of shillings. There are many reasons to promote a lie. There are also religious reasons. Members of a mainline church can now claim that one of their own, not a Pentecostal, is the preeminent religious healer in the country. Using these lies as a means of promoting a church, a belief system, a political agenda or any ideology, is worthy of none of us. Factual stories about the cup not curing are abundant. Medically verifiable stories of cures are totally absent in the media. Whose interests are being served, only the profiteers? It is not responsible for civil or religious leaders to promote such death-serving beliefs. It is not enough for someone in authority to say that there is nothing harmful in the potion much less actually promote it. The potion may well be medically safe to drink, but the catastrophic medical and spiritual harm this phenomenon has created goes largely unreported. There is an important place for faith in our lives. Samunge is not it.