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Reflections on return from Kampala

The time has come, the Walrus said, to talk of many things. Of shoes and shipping and sealing wax - of cabbages and kings and why the sea is boiling hot and whether pigs have wings - Lewis Carroll

I arrived back from Africa on Sunday morning at 6am. Heathrow Terminal 4. Took a bus to Southall and then home. I had no electricity, no gas, and I had to wait for four hours while the gas man put a new battery in my Quantum meter.

It's a bit of a come down from my adventures in Africa. At present my mother who has had a stroke and suffers from dementia is in a care home, and we were trying very hard to negotiate with the council and the PCT for her care provision.

People do not seem to realise that care for the elderly is not a right like other health care. Very often families have to sell their property for their loved ones'care. This process is a steep learning curve and rather harrowing to the nerves. I feel this could be a dress rehearsal for my own care, which is yet to happen.

When I get a quiet moment I like to reflect about my African adventure. What can I bring back from Africa?

  • A more philosophical approach to mental distress, especially a belief in spirituality
  • A questioning of the validity of mental health medication and ECT
  • The fact that WNUSP is the apex of a world network of users/survivors
  • The realisation that some very important new human rights have been defined and need to be implemented
  • The need to alert people in the UK about these new human rights
  • I feel I have made some important new friends in the global world of user/survivors
  • I have gained confidence and new energy
  • It has given me a stronger desire to part of the user/survivor movement and play some part in the building of that movement
  • Perhaps part of that role could be as an Interpreter of ideas and events
  • There are some others I am still working on

During my stay in Africa I had a chance to recite some of my poetry. Here is one called Breaking on the Ground:

Breaking on the ground
Out on the Common
Common as dirt
A fellow is howling
Howling in the dirt
He howls to release
The anger and the pain
The numb cry echoes
He screams to release pain
The wounded beast
Breaking on the ground
With the slings of adversity
He howls out aloud

Long walk to freedom
From pain and insanity
Come back tomorrow
Tomorrow humanity

Pjk 06/08

I took the liberty of taking the title of Nelson Mandela's book as part of my poem. I hope this illustrates a point about my return.

Posted by Anonymous, 8 April 2009

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 9 November 2009