Do you have medication in Africa?

There are medications in Africa—those imported from the West and those prepared along traditional lines. Even the West has come to realize that there are medical conditions that are handled better by traditional healing techniques, which they now call "alternative medicine," a term they would love to attribute only to Asian methods, but not yet to those African, as theirs are still considered black magic or the works of witch doctors. What double standards!

What is malaria?

Malaria is an illness caused by parasites transported by mosquitoes. They inject the parasites into the victim when they bite to feed on his or her blood. In my opinion, having experienced both, the symptoms are very similar to those of the flu. But, whereas malaria has medications that can attack it directly, with the flu one has only to rest and take in fluids, according to medical experts. This is also a requirement for treating malaria and nobody needs to tell the patient this, as his or her body simply becomes weak, causing the victim to want to spend time resting. And, yes, malaria is potentially fatal if left untreated.

What illnesses do you have in Africa?

In Africa, there are illnesses typical of the tropics—that is warm environments—such as typhoid, meningitis, malaria, and cholera. These illnesses are found all over in cities and in the countryside where the agents that spread them are present. Mosquitoes for example spread malaria and they can be found in the countryside as well as in the cities where there are standing bodies of water of any kind. It is the same with typhoid, which tends to be in areas where the drinking water might not be the best—this is the case in some cities and suburban areas. A list of tropical diseases can be found on-line. I think the most dreadful to the Westerner is malaria though, because of how it wiped out the earliest European invaders of the continent.

Are Africans concerned about their weight like we are here in America?

Because most of Africa has a walking instead of a driving culture, weight is not that much of an issue as the people do exercise intentionally or otherwise by simply going about their routine daily activities. A private car is more expensive to own and maintain, as opposed to taxis that are operated by rich, or more financially viable, proprietors who can easily afford the cars. Like in parts of Europe, owning a private car in Africa is considered a thing for those who are financially well off. This is the case because it is cheaper to ride a taxi when that occasional need arises. The result of this is that even those with cars prefer driving into the urban areas, parking their car somewhere and then going about on foot. Going about on foot is considered an opportunity to meet with friends and probably earn a bottle of beer or more while chatting over the issues of the day. With these life patterns, exercising becomes a natural phase in the daily schedule of the African, thereby eliminating weight problems. Again, there is the cultural perspective which believes that being slightly overweight is indicative of affluence such that some people do all they can to gain some weight. This is typical of men, though. It is not surprising then that it is a compliment in most of Africa to observe that a person is gaining some weight, an expression that will certainly leave an American in a state of shock.

Are illegal drugs common in Africa?

There are some illegal drugs in Africa, but this problem comes nowhere near what the situation is in other parts of the world. The most common drug is marijuana, which some idle young people and those in certain walks of life, like the entertaining industry, love smoking. Cocaine, too, is beginning to gain ground, but it is still strange to most people who prefer getting simply drunk to anything else if they need to feel high.

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