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The Healing Cup: When Faith Meets Needs - A Categorial Indictument of CCM's Policies

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by Mzee Mwanakijiji, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. Mzee Mwanakijiji

    Mzee Mwanakijiji Platinum Member

    Mar 15, 2011
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    By. M. M. Mwanakijiji

    In their hundreds they come. No, in their thousands. Sick people, and those suspecting that they are seriously sick they all come. People in pain and anguish, desperate people young and old, Christians and Muslims they all come. Old Maasai women and men from the foot of Oldonyo Lengai adorned in their traditionally decorated garbs, some with their babies on their backs, they all come. People of other tribes from far away like Kilimanjaro and some from Dar-es-Salaam and further South they all come, and many more coming from adjacent countries like Kenya and Uganda as well and as far away as Europe and the Middle East; they all come.

    In their hundreds they come; No, in their thousands. To a remote village of Samunge in Northern Tanzania about 400 kilometers from Arusha City, Tanzania's tourist capital. All these sick people some with their caretakers and others alone are flocking to meet a retired Lutheran Pastor Rev. Ambilikile Mwasapile (76) from whom a cup of liquid herbal medicine will be taken. A medicine that seems to be extremely potent with powers to heal some of the incurable diseases the modern Western medicine are still struggling to even understand. Diseases such as diabetes to heart conditions, from back pains to cancers and even more astonishing this medicine is claimed to have power cure to cure HIV infections. Yes, in these extremely hours of their needs in thousands they come.

    Some on foot and others on bicycles and even many more others on motorbikes and a lot more in their cars - luxury cars, tourists trucks and even government issued cars. Indeed, hundreds have made this pilgrim journey as it were on buses and now there are reports of people coming in choppers. The filing line to get the medicinal cup is insanely long indeed; with cars and trucks waiting for days to get to the house compound of this seemingly unimposing figure accompanied by a handful of assistants all dressed in casual outfits - loose shirts, pants and shoes.

    As the crowd surged and fearing mass hysteria and getting ahead of any potential disaster over the past few days the Arusha regional Police force has stepped in to provide more police officers (general police and riot police) as well as traffic police to control the flow of vehicles to and fro the little village.

    It is estimated over 7000 people have reached this village in the past few days. The village is located few miles from Loliondo Game Reserve one Tanzania's best national parks. Loliondo Game Reserve is known the world over for its pristine beauty, high concentration of wildlife and for quite sometime now by its controversial hunting permit that granted a UAE royal family a license to hunt wildlife in the reserve. This infamous deal remains controversial almost twenty years since it was signed; human rights and environmental activists have called the deal a "hunting with impunity permit" after the pictures and details of brutal hunting techniques employed by the royal hunting party came to light.

    It was here in Loliondo the first case of a major corruption scandal to rock the Tanzania government in early 1990s occurred. The Loliondo Gate as it was then known became the symbol of grand corruption and its impacts still being felt even today in most parts of Loliondo. But people are not coming here to protest hunting or to hold rallies against the Arab investors or the government - of course some still do that. They are here in Samunge for healing, at least that's what they say.

    Yes in their hundreds they come; no in their thousands. Police officers, teachers, politicians, businessmen, farmers as well as young college students, they come just to get the ever increasingly famous the "cup of Loliondo". Pastors some in their roman collars and other religious figures - yes even bishops have come here believing that this medicine will heal their bodies and strengthen their belief in the supernatural workings of Divine Providence. Even after some Muslims and other Christians leaders have admonished their faithful not to make the journey here people have summarily ignored them.

    In fact some of the former colleagues of Rev. Mwasapile have indeed blessed his medicine arraying fears that superstitions beliefs were somewhat involved - of course to these people the belief in God is not superstition at all. There are no magical chanting here, there are no incantations around a pentagram; indeed there are no amulets or lucky charms given to cast away evil spirits from "possessed people". Just a cup of hot herbal medicine taken only once per person per lifetime - nothing less or more. Just a Cup of Loliondo and "thy body shall be well".

    But, it is not free. It costs only 500Tsh per person equivalent of about 0.33 Cents USD. The demand is very high, and the supply of medicinal plant scarce but the price has remained the same and according to the pastor it will remain the same for a foreseeable future. Other providers of different services around the area have used this opportunity to make quick money for themselves; the cost of bottled water around the village for example has doubled and the bus fares from Arusha to Loliondo has almost increased five folds. The cost of the medicinal cup I think in itself is another reason why people come here. It has made it possible for even the poorest of the poor to afford to make the long journey through rugged roads to reach here few miles from Lake Natron. For sick people this is a strange new world; if they were to buy medicine from a local pharmacy for their infirmities the price would be relatively high and becomes an obstacle for getting better treatment. So they come.

    They come in multitudes not because the cup of Loliondo promises immortality. It does not. Not because the cup promises the sick people that they would never get sick again. Not so; but because it promises them immediate relief from current conditions that have troubled them and from which they have given up hope of any cure or healing

    So they come in their hundreds; no, in their thousands. Not due to any scientific basis of the powers of a little plant known locally here as Mugariga (angelica archangelica??), none whatsoever. So far, there has not been any scientific tests done on the plant or on its supposedly potential healing powers; in fact only recently the the Tanzanian Government has dispatched a scientific team to visit Babu (Grandfather in Kiswahili) and to take some samples from the plant for laboratory testing. The aim is to at least get the scientific understanding of the nature of the powers of this little plant the size of small orchard plant. The government wants to establish and gain an understanding of what the fuss here is all about. But the sick people and their families are not waiting for official word from the government to have faith in the cup of Loliondo. They are the witness of its powers. No microscope nor test tube would change their minds. At least not yet.

    So far we do not know yet all the side effects of this medicinal drink and in fact some people have even questioned the manner in which people share cups putting them at risks of contamination from water borne diseases such us typhoid and cholera. For this reason, as soon as the number of peopled in the past weeks increased Rev. Mwasapile and other concerned people demanded that the government would intervene to provide some basic sanitary facilities (such as portable latrines) as well as more cups and bigger aluminum bowls that are used for boiling the plant. The government and other institutions have answered this call and some basic facilities are being placed around the area. There is a possibility that even the Red Cross would be forced to provide tents here. But all these health concerns have not made people fear from taking the medicine or being here.

    In fact, it seems nothing said or done will change the minds of these desperate and very inflicted people. To most of them this not just about the plant or the Cup of Loliondo as it were, it is about faith. It is about a belief that God in his eternal mercies and grace has bestowed upon this frailly man a gift of healing and that the herbal plant is just a point of contact - a channel of healing if you will. So people are flocking not because they know if they drink this medicine they will get better; not really, but because the man giving this cup has faith in its powers to heal the very sick. This is an important distinction because otherwise somebody else could have started boiling the same plant in the same manner. So far there are not copycats yet.

    Drinking the cup of this medicinal water from Loliondo could be compared (loosely) to drinking holy waters of Lourdes, France or the holy waters of Zamzam in Saudi Arabia. In all three, it is faith that brings people to these points of contact of what believers hold to be God's healing powers. These are not just any water although they share the same chemical properties they are to believers holy waters. Someone divine has endorsed them; so is the case with the herbal water from the cup of Loliondo.

    This belief in the powers of herbal medicine of course is not unique to Tanzania and indeed the belief that there are gifted people among us with certain healing powers is not an exclusive domain of Africans. Almost all societies and cultures from time in memorial have had such individuals in their midst. From China to India, from Europe to South America, from the US even to the Middle East, people have gone to great length to receive healing from unconventional traditional medicines. Many will swear under the penalty of death to the powers of the medicines and indeed many have lived (and continue to live) to witness of the powers of traditional medicine the world over. Even in Tanzania this is not a new tradition at all. Only now in a very unique way it involves a former pastor with the blessings of his church behind him; this is incredibly unique.

    According to Rev. Mwasapile, it all started in 1991 when through a dream he was directed to use the plant for healing. For sometimes he ignored the dream until Fall last year when he decided to take seriously and obey it. In the beginning no one in the village believe him until some people from the town started spreading the word when they get back homes in good conditions. The rest as it is said is history.

    There is no way to predict how it will all end. It might continue for a little while especially if the results from the lab show that the plant has some medicinal properties. Then, probably more permanent facilities will be built and as the signs now show the little unassuming village in Loliondo might become a little town that becomes a symbol of hope to millions of people especially in these troubling times.

    However, there are those who fear (and somehow rightly so) that a cult of personality is building slowly around Rev. Mwasapile; this has some people cautiously following with interests what is happening in this formerly sleepy village. There are also fear that if the situationis mishandled or hastily brought to a halt something more drastic and dangerous might happen here reminiscent of Jonestown massacre in the US in late 1970s or the Uganda cult deaths under Joseph Kibwetere where 500 souls perished in March 2000. Most social critics like myself would urge the authorities to use wisdom and proceed with maximum caution as one would approach a troubled nuclear facility.

    The whole episode could as well be a moment that would cause our nation to reflect on itself on the nature of its healthcare services, its accessibility as well as the relationship between tradition/herbal medicine and modern western medicine. For as it stands now this is not even about the plant anymore; in fact it is not even about the Medicine man Rev. Mwasapile; I would propose that it is about the needs of the people and the faith that sustains them.

    When a nation such as Tanzania with inadequate health facilities and most of the time with very expensive healthcare services what options are there left for the people? When a health system such as the one in Tanzania which in so many ways is seen to have been embedded with corruption from bottom up and corrupt elements that remain unchecked what hope do poor men and women of Tanzania have? How long should Tanzanians inflicted with a myriad of diseases continue to go to India to get health care services that could otherwise be available at home? In a nation of 40 million people where not even a single world class referral Children's hospital exist, what hope do families have when tragedies strike?

    It is for this reason what is happening in Loliondo in fact is another categorical indictment of the failed health policies of the ruling party -Chama cha Mapinduzi. The current ruling elite has created and sustains a health system where the very powerful and wealth people can easily get world class health services in Europe and India while the poor majority continue to suffer at the mercy of a struggling health system. The President for example, ministers, members of parliament and other top level government officials have created for themselves a system where the tax payers will foot their health care bills for annual medical checkups and treatments in Europe and India's best hospitals while the poor majority of Tanzania only need such services when are in dire conditions. Such is the plight of these people who come to see Babu to get the cup of Loliondo.

    I would propose that the poor majority of Tanzania are left with such an attitude as that of the Psalmist when he cries as if in pain and misery of the heart "I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?" and he confidently answer with an assurance of a person filled with an absolute faith in Providence (not in men) and he says "My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth." Yea indeed! the maker of the Mugaruga plant! This my friends does not make any sense, it defies logic and any known scientific proposition. This faith in something greater than ourselves has a way of sustaining a people in ways that only the afflicted understand.

    While to others faith is very irrational - In fact it is, to others there is nothing more rational than getting healing from any source of healing available to humanity. Yes even divine healing - whatever that is. It is here then, through the cup of Loliondo where faith of the people meets the needs of the desperate people. As most of us are still contemplating if we too need to make the journey here. May be we are not yet at the threshold of desperation but as history is the witness when we get to the precipice of own mortality we too will see the rationality of going to see Babu!

    Only time will be the final arbiter on what is happening here.

    So they come, in their hundreds; no in their thousands!
  2. Tangawizi

    Tangawizi JF-Expert Member

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    Here again Mzee at his best! Loliondo! God Almight wants Tanzanian to remember that the downfall of our country started there,Lol!
  3. Chamoto

    Chamoto JF-Expert Member

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    Reading your work is like experiencing a mental orgasm.
  4. Mzee Mwanakijiji

    Mzee Mwanakijiji Platinum Member

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    ooh my.. I have never heard that before!
  5. Zak Malang

    Zak Malang JF-Expert Member

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    Thumbs up!
  6. Kaunga

    Kaunga JF-Expert Member

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    Great article, we couldn't get a better great thinker who is is also a great poet!
    check the plant online, it's scientific name is Angelica archangel
  7. Mzee Mwanakijiji

    Mzee Mwanakijiji Platinum Member

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    tuna uhakika ndio mmea huo huo? maana huo mmea una madawa fulani na yanahusiana na kupunguza maumivu na kusisimua kinga..
  8. WomanOfSubstance

    WomanOfSubstance JF-Expert Member

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    More please...hapo kwenye bold
  9. M

    MsandoAlberto JF-Expert Member

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    Thank you for remaining great.

    I agree with you in toto. At least with failed health policies we will have a sip of Loliondo Cup. I ask myself, what will we sip for the failed education policies? Failed economic policies? Etc

    To which distant poor village shall we flock to in our desperate need? Who will be our trusted Rev?

    And, MM, I get myself thinking, the power of faith. When in such desperate need faith is the only hope. Combine the two, faith and hope. Trust will crop up somehow someway. Then, there isnt turning back. One will do all that needs to be done. Its a belief already.

    What happens when we have the political Reverends? If one emerges and all of us rush to him in our desperate need resulting from failed education, economic etc policies?

    When it happens no one will be ready just like when Babu emerged. He emerged well after retirement. When many had forgotten about him and his service then as a pastor!

    I am ready for the other Rev. In our desperate need he will emerge. And we will rush to him. He will cure us. We will believe in him. And time will tell.

    Again, thank you.
  10. Michael Paul

    Michael Paul Verified User

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    Thumps Up...

    Was there... and after reading i saw myself there again...

  11. Jatropha

    Jatropha JF-Expert Member

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    Toka zama za kale mwenyezi mungu anapowahurumia waja wake baada ya kuzidiwa na maradhi kumuotesha mtumishi wake mmoja kuhusu mti huo na hutumika kama dawa ya maradhi yaliyopo wakati huo. Mathalani wakati Ulaya ikiwa karibu ya kuangamizwa na ugonjw awa Tauni Mtakatifu Michael the Archangel alimutokea "Monk" na kumuotosha kuwa miti huo utawasaidia wagonjwa wa Tauni. hiyo ilikuw ani Mwaka 1665.

    Cha ajabu zama za kale mt huo ulikuwa hautumiwi na watu wenye kisikari kwa hupandisha level ya sukari mwilini. Lakini Hapa Tanzania wagonjwa wa kisukarei ndio wanufaika wa kwanza.

  12. MWEEN

    MWEEN JF-Expert Member

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    Mzee MM,

    "Kuishi kwingi, kuona mengi" We learn new things throughout our lives.

    By the way, Congratulations for the article. Can you OR somebody else translate it to Swahili (Kiswahili fasaha) and not adulterated.
  13. pumbwes

    pumbwes Member

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    Post of the year 2011. Congrats MM.
  14. Wambandwa

    Wambandwa JF-Expert Member

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    A touching poem MM,
    You've relived my fate and plight!
  15. Butola

    Butola JF-Expert Member

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    Daktari: Mgonjwa Loliondo amepona Ukimwi Send to a friendMonday, 14 March 2011 21:40


    Mussa Juma, Loliondo na Deusdedit Moshi, Dodoma

    DAKTARI Joachiam Mbosha wa Hospitali Teule ya Wilaya ya Ngorongoro ya Wasso, amethibitisha kuwa mmoja wa wagonjwa wa Ukimwi aliyekwenda kutibiwa kwa Mchungaji Ambilikile Mwasapile, maarufu kwa jina la 'Babu', huko Samunge, Loliondo amepona Ukimwi.

    Wilia John Lengume (30), juzi alikuwa kivutio kwa mamia ya watu baada ya kutangazwa na Mchungaji Mwasapile kwenye ibada iliyofanyika katika Kanisa la Kiinjili la Kilutheri (KKKT), Usharika wa Sonjo iliyoshirikisha mamia ya watu. Akizungumza katika ibada hiyo, Mchungaji Mwasapile alisema Lengume ndiye aliyekuwa mgonjwa wa kwanza kumtibu.

    Akizungumza na Mwananchi kanisani hapo, Lengume alisema baada ya mumewe, John Meneyi Lengume kufariki dunia mwaka 2002, aliamua kwenda kupima na kuonekana kuwa na maambukizi ya Virusi vya Ukimwi (VVU) lakini baada ya kutumia dawa hiyo alisema sasa hana tena virusi vya Ukimwi. Alisema kwa muda mrefu mama huyo alikuwa akitumia dawa za kupunguza makali ya ugonjwa huo (ARV) katika Kituo cha Afya Didodigo wilayani Ngorongoro.

    Akizungumza na Mwananchi jana kuhusu kupona kwa mama huyo, Dk Mbosha alisema: “Hiki kitu kilituchanganya sana, nakumbuka mimi ndiye nilimpima mwaka jana... ikabidi niwaeleze watu wa maabara Hospitali ya Wasso ili wafuatilie aliyempima awali huyu mama na nilimweleza aache kutumia dawa kwani hana HIV,” alisema Dk Mbosha.

    Dk Mbosha alisema alihamishiwa katika kituo hicho cha Afya cha Digodigo zaidi ya mwaka mmoja uliopita na alimkuta mama huyo akiendelea kuhudhuria kliniki na kupata ARV pamoja na ushauri wa kulinda afya yake lakini alianza kuona mabadiliko makubwa ya afya yake na ndipo alipoamua kumpima tena.

    Aliamua kumpima mwaka jana baada ya kuona 'CD4' (kinga za mwili) zake zinaimarika kiasi cha kutohitaji kuendelea kutumia dawa hizo za kupunguza makali.Aliamua kumhoji kujua siri iliyokuwa imejificha katika mabadiliko hayo ambayo alisema yalikuwa ya haraka haraka mno na ndipo alipomweleza kwamba alipata tiba kutoka kwa Mchungaji Mwasapile.

    Lengume alisema licha ya mumewe kufariki, mtoto wao mmoja pia alifariki dunia lakini baada ya kutumia dawa ya Mchungaji Mwasapile, maisha yake ni mazuri na ana mtoto mwingine mchanga anayeitwa Evelyn ... “Namshukuru Mungu na Mchungaji Mwasapile sasa nimepona na ninaishi maisha mazuri tu.”Alisema baada ya kuanza kuugua, mchungaji huyo, ndiye aliyemfuata na kumuomba amtibu akimthibitishia kwamba atapona maradhi yaliyokuwa yakimsibu.Hata hivyo, kitalaamu bado haijathibitika kupatikana kwa tiba wala chanjo ya Ukimwi.

    Ushuhuda wa Mzee Mtaki

    Mwingine aliyejitangaza kupata ahueni kubwa kutokana na maradhi yaliyokuwa yakimsibu baada ya kupata tiba ya mchungaji huyo ni aliyewahi kuwa waziri katika Serikali ya Awamu ya Kwanza, Mzee Ali Said Mtaki.Mzee Mtaki (81) ambaye aliwahi kuwa Mbunge wa Mpwapwa katika miaka ya 1980, Mkuu wa Mikoa ya Dodoma na Singida kwa nyakati tofauti, Naibu Waziri wa Viwanda na Biashara, Mbunge wa Afrika Mashariki na kuwa Mwenyekiti wa Chama cha Usharika Mkoa wa Dodoma, alikuwa anasumbuliwa na matatizo ya kutetemeka kiasi cha kushindwa kutembea na kuzungumza vizuri.

    Akizungumza na gazeti hili nyumbani kwake Mtaa wa Nyerere Mjini Dodoma, Mzee Mtaki alisema tangu anywe dawa ya mchungaji huyo Jumanne ya wiki iliyopita huko Loliondo, sasa anaendelea kupata nafuu siku hadi siku.

    Akiongea kwa kujiamini alisema sasa anajiona kama amepona na anaweza kuendelea na shughuli zake ikiwamo ya uwakala wa bima... "Si unaona nilikuwa natembea kwa shida, kuzungumza kwa taabu, sasa hali yangu ni nzuri nafanya kila kitu bila kusaidiwa.”Akielezea safari yake ya siku mbili ambayo ilimfikisha kijijini Samunge, Loliondo anasema alifuatana na mkewe, Amina Mtaki ambaye naye alikuwa akisumbuliwa na ugonjwa wa kisukari na mgongo. Anasema naye pia amepona.

    Anasema safari ya kutoka Dodoma hadi Samunge iliwagharimu Sh60,000 kila mmoja na baada ya kufika huko walikuta umati mkubwa wa watu ukisubiri kupata tiba hiyo. Anasema aliwakuta watu wa mataifa mbalimbali, Waafrika, Wahindi, Wazungu na Waarabu... "Watu walikuwa wengi na kila mtu na matatizo yake lakini Mchungaji alikuwa akiwasisitizia kwamba habagui watu na haangalii dini au uwezo wa mtu."

    “Katika mkusanyiko huo nilibahatika kukutana na Askofu Thomas Laizer wa KKKT, Dayosisi ya Kaskazini Kati akiwa amefuatana na mama wa kizungu. Nilikaa karibu na mama yule wa kizungu ambaye sikumbuki jina lake. Nilimshika Askofu Laizer mkono tukasalimiana na kuongozana naye kuelekea kwa Mchungaji Ambilikile."

    "Tulipofika kwa Mchungaji, Askofu Laizer akamwambia mchungaji kwamba ana wageni wake, hivyo mama yule wa kizungu akapewa dawa na mimi pia nikapewa na mke wangu akapewa pamoja na kijana wangu japo yeye hakuwa na tatizo lolote la kiafya."
  16. M

    Maganiko Senior Member

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    "...As most of us are still contemplating if we too need to make the journey here. May be we are not yet at the threshold of desperation but as history is the witness when we get to the precipice of own mortality we too will see the rationality of going to see Babu!


    Hii ndo point ya msingi kabisa kuliko zote. Nimesoma posts za Maggid and Jenerali (katika Eastafrican) wao wanacriticize bila kutazama chanzo. Pili kuna watu hawajawahi kuuguza wagonjwa na kwa mfumo wa huduma za afya katika nchi hii Mungu tu ndo anajua. Ila kilichonivutia kwa Babu ni vipi ameweza kuweka discipline katika huduma zake? Wanasema kila mgonjwa lazima apange foleni na huduma ni kwa taratibu zilizopo. Kwa nini watoa huduma zetu wa serikali wanasindwa kufuata taratibu zilizowekwa? Rushwa, kujuana, njia za mkato etc. Pathetic!

    Ningependa nimtazame Babu kama mtu:-
    -anayeweza kutoa matumaini kwa mamilioni waliokata tamaa kwa maisha;
    -anayeweza kuweka taratibu (za huduma) na kuzisimamia bila kumtazama mtu usoni;
    -very simple licha ya kuwa na waumini wengi mpaka sasa yet hajaharibiwa na sifa na utukufu kama wanasiasa wetu;
    -kutokuwa na tamaa ya kucapitalize na kutumia matatizo ya wengine kujinufaisha binafsi (kwa maana ya kumaintain consistency ya bei ya huduma licha kuwa na demand kubwa);
    -kuwajali na kuthamini mchango wa wasaidizi (wafanyakazi?) wake (rejea mgao wa hiyo TZS 500/-)
    -kujinyima na kufanya kazi kwa moyo wake wote

    Ni wangapi sisi "wasomi" na wanasiasa, elite community tunaweza kufanya na kutenda kama Babu yetu wa Loliondo?
  17. Shalom

    Shalom JF-Expert Member

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    Ninaposoma Biblia na kuona pale Mungu anaposema kuwa ataleta tetemeko la ardhi na kuwameza, Warusi na Wairan watapotaka kuishambulia Israel nilikuwa sielewi vizuri. Baada ya akuona hii iliyotokea japan sasa nimeelewa nini kitawatokea!
  18. Jatropha

    Jatropha JF-Expert Member

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  19. K

    Kakalende JF-Expert Member

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    Great article!

    I thinks this paints a true picture of our society; many may not admit this fact but that's a reality!
  20. N

    Nyauba JF-Expert Member

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    MMKJJ nikupongeze kwa mada nzuri inayochangamshaa na kufikirisha akili.

    Babu nampongeza kwa kufuata principle ya kijamaa kati katika huduma yake,''Business with human face''.