Tuesday, April 04, 2006

PENURY AMID PLENTY

Author: OSORO P. J. NYAWANGAH

Who owns our natural resources? Why the people are so poor and desperate in rich Lake Victoria Basin

Lake Victoria (Nyanza as called by local people) is the second biggest Lake in the world and the father to Egyptian riches, 40 years ago it had over 320 old fish species; now it possesses only eight species1 It’s basin is potentially the riches region in East Africa and occupied by so poor people, it’s environment in such deep criss1 Why?

The Lake’s resource wealth is further increased by the fact that its soils are among the most fertile in East Africa. The varied and rich cultures of its peoples, its breath taking scenery and abundant wildlife and the thorough vastness of the Lake make it potentially a prime tourism destination.

Factor in region’s capacity for agricultural variety output, industry, hydro- electricity, the gold and other mineral deposit in such places as Tarime, Serengeti, Musoma, Geita and Kahama in Tanzania, and Macalder in Kenya. And again, you are looking at the richest region in East Africa. Yet, The people of this great Lake; the Luo, sukuma, Haya, Baganda etc. are among the poorest in the world. Official statistics put poverty level at an average of 49% of East African population. Malnutrition is wider spread, high child mortality, protein deficiency in this protein rich Zone. Add to this, the economy, social and environmental cost of the deadly HIV/AIDS, whose incidence in the Lake world and a stern picture begins to look very sad.

There are many activities taking place daily in and around the lake: agriculture, Fishing, Irrigation, Mining etc. But all in vain! The people remain poor amid all riches; they are yet to enjoy the fruits of being granted with this golden prize. Most are blaming their governments for not implementing effective strategies towards the basin development.

Waste in the Lake Victoria basin is a two-way highway. *Flowing down into the Lake is the waste and high population generated upstream and taken through by twenty big feeder rivers (10 in Kenya, 6 in Tanzania and 4 in Uganda). All these and other smaller ones drain their contents into the Lake, taking with them the same severe disease. Untreated sewage from municipalities, rural towns and village, toxic effluent from industries and sediments (which is carried in huge tonnage daily)

All East African countries are the major contributor to the lake pollution but are doing the least about it. Because of lack of sewer, treatment works; largely unregulated agro industries dump untreated effluent into the rivers or direct into the Lake. Pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers find their way into the Lake without forgetting the entire weight of village’s waste, which also rolls down into the rivers ending their journey into our precious Lake. And to crown it all, the water from the lakes is used directly for-domestic consumption.

The fish species have disappeared due to the quality of water in the Lake and around the shoreline, where most of the Fish would breed in the littoral zone. The water hyacinth, which was first noticed in the late 1980’s, has also been a big threat. And the other reason is the introduction of the Nile Perch (the vocacious carnivore).

*Leaving the basin, flows the regions wealth; for all of it’s problems, however, the lake basin also contains immerse natural wealth. It sustains the largest fresh water fisheries in the world. It’s waters are rich fishing grounds, so rich in fact that the agents of various foreign owned fish processing companies riding daily in fleets with truckloads of the lakes wealth. Landing points are always overcrowded with incoming trucks, leaving contented. On each departure, their trucks are taken with the lakes harvest, belching smokes and fumes of dead fish. Of the huge tonnage from the points around, the local residents are left with the dried skeletons of processed fish for their meals; eating fish by the lake is luxury! There is a lot of money going out leaving the fishermen poor; they sell their catch at throwaway prices because they cannot store it. (Their prices go as down as USD 0.25 per Kg which fetches USD 6 in Nairobi/Mwanza markets after being processed into fillet and at least fetches twice on the international markets).

The regions challenges are enormous; waste and poverty make awful bed fellows and have spawned and evil child; debilitating culture of dependency. Such altitudes indicate the extent to which many feel that they have lost out a stake in managing their own resource. Poor Lake Victoria’ you are no longer the PEAR OF AFRICA.

HOW TO ACHIEVE TRUE HAPPINESS:

Person’s life is full of wealth; gold and all types of minerals are found in MAN. Unless you dig for them, you cannot possess true happiness.

“ Happy are the pure in heart; they will see God” So goes the gospel (Mathew 5:8). Have you ever stopped to think of who decides on your happiness life in the world? Is happiness God made or chance? Can a person create his happiness life? You and you alone are in control of your life direction you can drive your self to true happiness or to rags! But in order to be happy, one needs to concentrate on happy thoughts. People always ignore the compliments paid to them by others, yet dwelling on unkind words for weeks. They tend to remember compliments for only few minutes or so, but do not forget insult for years. By so doing, you become garbage collector who carries around trash thrown long years ago. You will have to suffer the consequences if you ever allow your mind to be occupied by bad experience.

Remember, you being in control of your own mind (heart), you should make happiness and joy the center of your world. These are always within you; all you have to do is to be sure you are connected with this place inside you. Then build your life around joy. When you are triumphant, you can be creative because you become open to new Ideas.

For those who were thinking that they could not create their happiness and had given up stresses, I console them and tell them that all is not lost; they still have time to have renovate happiness and be successful if they comply with the following gateways.

*RELAXATION: This is very important for joy and peak performance. As you relax, your metabolism comes into balance. You say yes for the defeat and start afresh, and by so doing you become laid back and happy. *CRITICISM: This is a useless act, accomplishes not any positive results. Do not do it to yourself or others. Thinking negatively about your self-challenger or other people is the greatest cause of limitations in our lives. Never moan, groan and grouch to any one who will only listen, but do to a person who can do something. Complaining to irrelevant person will only add to your stress. *NEGATIVE THOUGHTS: This kill, like HIV/AIDS, negative thinking is a killer; it affects the mind, body and emotions. Your thoughts create your physical reality. If you don’t get rid of negative thoughts, expect negative results such as withholding, dislike, poverty, poor image, unhappiness and misery. *EDUCATION: This like the ocean, it has no end. Educate yourself and be armed with knowledge. Learning is lifelong experience; get it from older people or those who have succeeded and ahead in the game of life. Read books, newspapers, watch TV, the Internet etc. You still have time for this since it’s the key to good life. *CARING ONESELF: Love yourself and take care of your body; you live once and for good! Make sure you care for your self if you want to live a long and fulfilling life. It is your own task; no one else can do it for you mind your diet, hygiene and exercise for your physical and mental fitness. Feel and look good by working on your body. Laugh so as to make all kinds of wonderful things happen to benefit your body and mind. Get yourself at ease and be relaxed; the more relaxed the less pain you feel. *CREATIVITY: Life itself is creation, so this is the best time for you to create whatever creative nature you instead for. Work hard and be contented with your work. Build your family by working hard. Choose a paying and legal carrier, enjoy your work and make sure you are not enslaving your self for working for the sake of money. *COMPLIMENTS: Pay full attention to the people with huge egos. They always have strong desire for recognition; yet have little concern for those around. They do not give compliments but thrive for! You should realize that it’s healthy to acknowledge a work well alone. Have a self-respect and integrity and keep your word. Cure all kinds of disease affecting your happiness and harvest best results such as love, caring, good health and success in you life. This relies on your self-ACT NOW.

About the author: FREELANCE JOURNALIST DISTRICT POLITICAL PARTY SECRETARY AND AFRICAN CULTURAL ADVOCATE

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