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Thursday, January 08, 2009

TweetThis! Film documentary : Chang'aa / Gongo / Nguli

A product distilled from maize (corn) and mixed with a variety of waste food products, chang'aa (Kenya) or gongo (Tanzania) or nguli (Uganda) is a popular illicit gin brewed in the East African countries (Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda). This form of ethanol, if consumed in large quantities, can cause an adverse effect to the human body by destroying the liver. The liver, which is the largest internal organ in the body, is mainly responsible for filtering all the poisons in the blood system which, if left unregulated, could result in death. Damage to the liver means halting all the activities of the body that the liver is responsible for, including, but not limited to, food digestion, nutrients absorption, glucose (pure sugar) storage and toxic/waste products elimination (detoxification).

When speaking about excessive drinking, I am referring to a consumption of more than 5- 6 glasses (240 mls) of alcoholic beverages, simply more than a liter of alcohol, per day by a healthy human being (imagine how this can wreck a non healthy body).

At work, I have cared for some seriously ill patients whose ailments came as a result of alcohol consumption of the magnitude mentioned above. It is very painful to watch somebody struggling with these alcohol withdrawal symptoms:
* Feeling of jumpiness/nervousness/shakiness
* Anxiety
* Agitation/Irritability/Excitability
* Emotional volatility, rapid emotional changes
* Depression
* Fatigue
* Difficulty with thinking clearly
* Bad dreams
* Headaches
* Sweating/clammy skin (on palms of the hands or the face)
* Nausea & Vomiting
* Loss of appetite
* Insomnia (sleeping difficulty)
* Rapid heart rate (palpitations)
* Eye enlargement or Dilated pupils
* Irregular abnormal movements
* Tremor (especially of the hands) and Convulsions
* Confusion and hallucinations often visual(delirium tremens)
* "Black outs" -- (forgetting what happened during the drinking episode)

In some reported cases, local brewers have mixed this alcohol with formaldehyde and methanol thus making it very potent. Formaldehyde or formalin fixes body tissues and it can cause death if it's effects are not reversed since the smooth respiratory muscles that mechanically controls your breathing, would fail to work. This is why formalin is used in preserving dead bodies and cadavers. Therefore, drinking chang'aa could somehow be equated to self-grave-digging.

This documentary film (below) was recorded in the slums of Kisumu, Kenya.

Here you will see women and young men brewing chang'aa. The consumers are the people living in the village. A man says, he knows that this kind of alcohol is not good for health, but he has to drink it anyways to pass the day and forget about life's woes.
A woman says, she is able to provide for the family and send children to school from the earnings of chang'aa.

This film shows how hard it is to lead a life in this world full of stresses and frustrations.

Struggles & Troubles! ...and life goes on.

2 feedback :

Mzee wa Changamoto said... Fri Jan 09, 05:33:00 PM MST  

Dah!!! Sijui ni lipi la kusema. Kama ni kusikitika ama kucheka? Kwangu vyote vimepata nafasi japo sikucheka kwa kufurahia niliyoona. Nimekumbuka walevi kadhaa wa nyumbani pamoja na "excuses" zao za unywaji. Lakini inasikitisha saana kuanzia utayarishaji, uuzaji na hata afya za wanywaji na malezi kwa familia. Sehemu ya kinamama kueleza matatizo yanayowakabili kutokana na wenza wao kunywa hiyo Chang'aa inasikitisha zaidi.
Mwenye kuweza kuangalia na aangalie. Mafunzo ni mengi na nashukuru subi kwa hili.
Baraka kwako

Anonymous said... Fri Jan 09, 07:44:00 PM MST  

Mhh hapa kazi ipo kwa kweli. Japo wauzaji wanapata faida wanaoathirika kwa kiwango cha hali ya juu ni wanywaji. Mtazamo wangu ni ama serikali iwawezeshe waitengeneze katika namna kiwango/bora zaidi au waipige marufuku kabisa.

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