Essays, poems and Stories of an African-American

Thursday, 3 November 2016

A Health Educator /Promoter with Talking Drums: Community Event November 2nd 2016


My name is Tom R. Muyunga-Mukasa. I am inspired by other African-born immigrants who help raise what I call ‘health-consciousness.’ Yesterday we had a community event under what we call the “talking walls/drums” drum circle. The idea is we get a venue, in this case a park, through our drumming we mobilize people, entertain them while educating them. Now, I came across the story of Dr. Chimezie Raymond a Nigerian-born immigrant and it continues to inspire me. I realized our work is relevant. For that story see: https://www.waldenu.edu/connect/newsroom/spotlight/2016/channeling-his-passion-for-public-health.   This is wonderful. This is one of the reasons why some friends of mine and I came up with the Black, African, Atlantic and Indian Ocean Islands-born Immigrant Support Organization (BLAIR) dba Bay Area Healthy Living Support and Communication Platform (Bayheal). Between 2012-2015 alone, I had met 20 diabetic cases; 3 expectant mothers who had never attended antenatal check-ups; 14 people who confessed they had never done any medical check up ever since they came to USA in 2008-2009; 2 who needed dental surgery but had kept putting it off; and 9 who self-medicate. Please follow our work at: https://www.bayheal.org. I enjoy doing community work such as: community clean ups and it is not a problem to me to pick up plastics and discarded materials and safely put them in a waste bin. I enjoy conducting health education and promotion sessions with the San Francisco General Hospital’s Family Clinic; BayHeal (www.bayheal.org);  I also volunteer with San Francisco's Department of Public Health's Zero HIV/Zero Stigma Committee; UCSF ACTG; and SF AIDS Syringe exchange program. Someone said (a naysayer) in 2011 that one has to first acquire a degree to do community service work. Being an yeasayer, I went ahead and started an immigrant self help organization. In 2012, with common sense, a drive and planned focus,  I started by meeting and talking health issues to immigrants at social events (Washington DC, Boston MA, Minneapolis MN, Chicago IL), worship centres (Los Angeles CA, Oakland CA, Berkeley CA), restaurants and bars ( San Francisco CA, Antioch CA, Ashby CA, Lafayette CA, San Leandro CA, Richmond CA). Now, with the "talking walls/drums" project I meet large groups and talk about health. In the pictures you see, we are at the Nicholl Park of Richmond CA.



Once upon a time, perhaps even now, there was a drum




And three talented drummers


Through the talking drums, they shared the good news about healthy living

On and on the drum beat reverberated

drum.....drum....drum....

drum.....drum......

single drum......

double drum......

And finally the message was taken home, the audience dispersed and everybody went home happy.