This was published May 17th 2009 in the Sunday Vision
One of the great things about us as Ugandans is our determination to succeed. We will do just about anything to catch up with the ‘developed’ world, and with good reason too. It’s the only way anyone will take us seriously. We are not trendsetters and as such we have a tenacity to jump on the backs of those that do things that we think matter. Sometimes this works (see CHOGM, Global Fund) and sometimes it backfires horribly (see Credit Crunch, Global Fund).
The latest fad we have seemingly taken to is this whole Swine Flu business.
Last week the overzealous announcement that we had ourselves a genuine victim of the dreaded disease. Surely this meant we were moving on up in the world. It’s certainly a breath of fresh air knowing that we have successfully contracted a disease that the western world has. Yeah, AIDS is still around, but that’s yesterday’s news. We have the latest hit on our hands. We have the FLU!
And yet, you can’t help but wonder, did we get in way over our heads on this one? We didn’t even wait for our neighbors to scream that they had it. We decided that the guy coming in from Peru was our best bet. Seriously people, even South Africa distanced itself from the disease, who do we think we are? Zuma land has more tourists coming in from all over the place and they are okay, but someone with ” flu-like symptoms: headache, fever, running nose, sneezing and nausea” visits a clinic and we think, “this is our chance!”
This month has had some crappy weather, is it possible that maybe (and this is a shot in the dark) it’s our regular flu and not the High Class variety?
Don’t get me wrong. I like that the way we are handling this is not as drastic as say, the Egyptian government. The Egyptian government decreed that all the pigs in the country should be slaughtered in a move that the World Health Organization deemed unnecessary. Before you start making travel arrangements thinking this is the best time to get cheap pork, let’s not forget that this is a country whose population is mainly Moslem. Wikipedia says that 90% of the people there are Muslim so I suppose we can assume that we can rest easy, 6 pigs are nothing to fret over.
We have also got people suddenly cautious about going out and feasting on pork, a move that no doubt has loads of pigs rolling in the mud, laughing their snouts off thinking “what a bunch of ignoramuses”.
The flu is not transmitted from eating pork, but rather by inhaling the virus or by touching surfaces on which the virus has been deposited and then transferring to your eyes, mouth or nose. Hence, the only way you are going to get the flu is if someone manages to sneak into the country and sneezes in your general direction.
We needn’t worry about that seeing as we are screening anyone that comes from a country that we suspect is developed enough to afford a standard of living that permits its citizens to go to Mexico.
There is no mention of Migingo Island, but we suspect it’s only a matter of time.
Another measure we can adopt is to dine at establishments that carry a sticker that says ‘WE ID PIGS’ in bold lettering.
And for crying out loud, let’s choose our development ideas wisely the next time around. We can’t claim something before South Africa or Kenya, unless it’s surrounded by a water body.
*It was either this or an admission of writer’s block possession*