LAST NIGHT

As I poised to solemnly write

About the one thing I earnestly miss-

Yet the one thing that always tear me apart anytime the thought of it visits me-

I wrote: “dear brother, I miss you”, felt unease. I however assuaged myself to continue until when I said “I’ve cried – longed for your presence to have my back as I get beaten up by my childhood friends’ senior brothers”….

The outcome wasn’t uncommon-

My thoughts defenestrated as I hold my pen

A seemingly overtly overwhelming yet serene night capriciously blurred with emotions. A nascent euphoria short lived as my hands turn numb. Mood ramshackled in melancholy as I gasp for air – I could feel my heart pulling me down in agony.

I thought I was immune to weeping – I thought I was grown enough to withhold my tears – I thought I could talk to him through the world of art-

If anything that was explicit: to a great extent, I was wrong in all but my last assumption.

He missed me, this believe had colonized my conviction. He anticipates my letter, this feeling heave my enthusiasm. He hopes I remain resilient, this intuition infiltrates my sanity as I bow before the mystery. We shall communicate in the literary realm, I don’t know when, but last night was excruciating.

Author: Modou Lamin Emess Jammeh

BSc Public and Environmental Health Student

University of The Gambia

THE CAMPAIGN RHETORIC

It is that time of the year when promises, as sacredly resounding as they are, conspicuously audible and legible, resonates in minds like pellets of a heart wrenching thunderstorm – scary, yet easily submitted by politicians.

From all conventionally endorsed cardinals, sourced vouches, acclaims, affirmations, attestations: of credible integrities; of immaculate personalities; of impeccable résumés; of undisputed intellectual dexterity, of sagacity and of prowess – that are shackled and embedded in minds.

When:

Devine attentions are sought; public support is solicited; unreserved trust is unflinchingly bargained for.

When:

Electorates are emboldened to exercise their suffrage with the promise of fulfilling their collective aspirations; the sovereign power of electorates is acknowledged; we are regarded with ad hoc honorability and served with ephemeral gratuity.

When:

Politicians vibrantly yet staunchly seek to protect our interest; the race for state house becomes a substantial reality; political ammunitions are loaded; casual conversations are obscured by political rhetorics; every stanza seemingly anchors on perpetuating the ideals, principles, policies and plans of a particular political camp.

Occasionally when:

The loathsome tribal sentiments are fueled and empowered; deflating each other’s character erratically serves as a surrogate for policies; quasi-emancipations are engraved in minds in light of ulterior motives – subsidiary.

When:

claiming to subjugate egocentrism to pursuing the prime and profound interest of the people becomes more pronounced; youth empowerment is used as a bait to secure cheap political points; individual rights, civil liberties, and democratic principles echoes sharper than a siren.

Time and time again; we see reprehensible manifestations of politicians breaching their promises—the reasons we voted them in – just gravely trivialized as are mental health issues.

In spite of the bloated distrust towards the campaign rhetorics of politicians: Dr. Ceesay and Hon. Sallah have mellowed hearts – rekindled hopes that decent politics will be summoned and this will be accompanied by detached debates centered on ideas, strategies and policies – as they bid farewell to pernicious pervasive sentimental politics hinged on tribal lines.

Hands are crossed ! The rhetorics had always been tragic eruptions in the past – notwithstanding we hope this phenomenon is eroded while we anticipate decent and genuine politics.

Modou Lamin Emess Jammeh

Author: Modou Lamin Emess Jammeh

BSc Public and Environmental Health Student

University of The Gambia

THE STORM OF ADMONITION

Ragingly: filled with furiousness; With ferocious facial expressions; With superfluous contempt and intent to plunder – it hounds on a lifetime amassed belongings.

Minds drowned in desperate thoughts; emotions subdued & agitated amidst ambiguity; tranquility unduly confiscated; dozens displaced amidst an appalling retrogressive and retarded economic rise; buildings turned asunder; trees branded and fettered-ly succumbing to the vile sanctions of the storm –

transiently! we have sanctuaries devoid of sanctity; roofs embarking on unsolicited voyages; trees ambitiously flying; an atmosphere preoccupied with repugnant nuisances. Supposedly calm ecosystem frowns and plagued with discourtesy.

Accompanied with gruesomely glaring lightening and fierce thunderstorms, the storm vehemently admonished; that we may firmly knit the bonds of social cohesion; that we may strengthen colossally our cooperate social responsibilities; that our government may be violently abused with the spirit of servitude to advance the supreme interest of the sovereign nation; that we may revive the departed spirit of generosity in assistance to the disadvantaged.

Yet! the storm had again affirmed another adverse array of our people — within a miniature of time, the prices of building materials abhorrently skyrocketed. Leaving affected families wailing in a paroxysm of agony. Humanity lost amidst tragedy – emotions galvanized with grumpiness.

Admittedly, the storm admonished with melancholy!

Authored: Modou Lamin Emess Jammeh

BSc Public Health Student

Department of Public and Environmental Health — School of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences —- University of The Gambia

YOUTH, MENTAL HEALTH & DRUG ABUSE IN THE GAMBIA

This is something we barely see articles on – but it is colossally necessary that we find these tragedies enthralling. Substance abuse, particularly cannabis, and mental health issues are spiking gradually, and if we look keenly at the age groups affected, the youth folks become the major culprits and victims it pinpoints.

In most street ghettos, young folks embraced and sanctify a lifestyle that perpetuates the use of intoxicating substances that remains staunch in blurring and altering consciousness. It is worth noting that cannabis smoke contains many of the same toxins, irritants, and carcinogens found in cigarette smoke – a known contributor to many pathophysiological impairments.

According to a Harvard Health publication, August 2017, the cannabis plant contains more than 100 unique chemical components classified as cannabinoids. These are the active ingredients that bind to specific receptors in the brain and other parts of the body. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) one of the most prevalent substance in the plant, is primarily responsible for the mind-altering properties sought out by recreational users.  

Progressively, the World Health Organization’s Mental Improvement for Nations Development in 2007, estimated that, 120 000 people in the Gambia had mental illness, with about 3000 receiving treatment per annum. Around 12% of the people in The Gambia are likely to have a mental disorder and 3% a severe mental disorder. Until now, these figures are consistently proliferating, serving as a beacon of admonition to give utmost attention to this serial destructor of potency.

As alluded earlier, cannabis (marijuana) is known to induce series of psychological disorders that undermines the mental, physical and social wellbeing of victims. In furtherance of the foregoing, an In-patient study shows that the commonest disorders leading to admission are substance misuse (most frequently cannabis misuse). Evidently, a cannabis-induced mental disorder is mostly preceded by fluctuating awkward demeanours, unscrupulousness, vicious social acts, thievery, assaults on the vulnerable groups, inter alia.

It would rather be tragic, to give a blind eye to this pandemonium plaguing the lives of the most productive age group. It is unanimously affirmed that a healthy population, particularly the youth folks fosters economic dividend. As it stands, Gambia as a country, grappling with persistent underdevelopment, political inefficiency, economic repression, corrosive social status, cannot in anyway afford to start losing its engine at just a very young age—55 years. This engine—the youth folks are considered to make up more than 60% of the country’s population. This potential havoc can derail the country’s path towards development.

At a proactive stand point, the youth folks are expected to reach their full potentials and serve as the instrument for the development of this nation. This can only be actualized if our concerns are addressed, our plight is given utmost priority, and our health conditions are improved. This means that: more stringent measures has to be put in place to address drug abuse by the youthful populace; law enforcement agencies must become strict in implementation; investment in psychiatric treatment centres must be increased; amplification of voices of the leading advocates of mental health in the Gambia must be echoed.

Closing up on this, cumulatively: in other to resolve problems that untiringly continue to impede our progress as a nation, it is utterly judicious for youths to be emancipated from the shackles of drug addiction, reverse the cheerless trend of mental health problems – unarguably, they are the cream of this nation – a very common adage has it that, “any nation that invest in its youths and tap into their potentials is a nation inevitably navigating the trail of progress”. I hope you find wisdom and inspiration in this to advocate for mental health and fight against drug addiction as much as I do.

Author: Modou Lamin Emess Jammeh

BSc Public Health Student

Department of Public and Environmental Health

School of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences

University of The Gambia.

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