Sunday, July 01, 2007

Lead in the Head

Did a little last minute shopping at "The Body Shop" where I got an ear full of really foul rap music (what it is about blaring the most offensive music in this country I don't know). Need a loofah that would hold together and I thought this would be the right time to sieze the moment. Like the store, rarely shop there because typically its overpriced but I suppose if they really do as much as they say they do to support community I should shop there more. Most of the adverts and banners were about community empowerment, global warming and environmental concerns of which I've taken more notice since moving here.

Its hot here, just silly hot sometimes. We walk alot so we are winded and sweaty alot. About 2 or 3 times a day we wash off a little, which for us can be a little dicey because we have problems with water. Its the dry season now and so we get city water sometime in the wee hours of the morning, its off before we wake up and that is the water we have for the day. This is great really because we had water once a week in Africa but we had bigger reserve tanks. Here we have 2 reserve tanks and very leaky pipes. Our houseworker is being weaned off using water from the tap for anything but the most necessary uses.

And the walking is dicey too. These are densely crowded urban areas. Everyone has a motorcycle or a vehicle and the driving is crazy. Walking isn't such a big deal if sidewalks are good but these sidewalks barely exist and often their are street sellers covering them, making it impossible to walk. So we walk in the street with the motorcycles, cars and trucks. And the thing that I notice is that we are more winded, we cough a bit more.

Yesterday I read an article in the paper talking about how the national oil and gas company is still working to phase out leaded fuel in the country. Yeah, leaded fuel! That is what we are breathing in. Along with who knows what else, leaded fuel. The article was actually about a study recently done on school children giving them extra doses of calcium to help clean out the lead in their systems. The lead is more damaging to kids and the rates of lead in their blood work were very high. The study found that the increased calcium did seem to bring down their lead levels. Lead is a concern because it damages developing brains and then the best brightest hope for the future isn't quite so bright. We wonder why we have wars and crazy people who don't think? Could be because they can't think. We gave them brain damage by letting them breathe in exhaust. Certainly there are other reasons for problems but lead in the head can't be helping.
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