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Addiction is full of self

Free Hearts Uganda
Addiction is putting self at the centre of things. Being full of self. A prototype of modern grasshopper harvesting. The modern grasshopper harvesting is a typical example of addictive behavior we are to discuss and describe below. Modern Banyankole (read Ugandans) harvest (read trap) grasshoppers in towns under electric lighting. In the month of November, from ages past, the edible and well loved grasshoppers from the skies were supposed to be shared not sold. November, the main grasshopper month, when swarms of the delicious locusts converge on the areas around the Great Lakes Region from the greater northern highlands of Ethiopia has become the most money minting month with extreme selfishness.
The commercial nsenene production includes wholesale trade in sacks of nsenene, transported over distances as long as 150km to the city in order to get the best price. At the market places like Nakasero in Kampala, vendors use ash to dewing the insects and set about selling them raw, fried or preserving them. To preserve nsenene, they are boiled briefly in water then sun dried to a crispsness. With the preservation, nsenene can be available all year round, rather than in the month of Musenene. While this makes it possible to preserve till market and even export the delicacy, the natural balance has been upset. Commercially harvested nsenene usually starts to smell as the live insects interact with dead ones in sacks loaded on cramped vehicles. This smell lingers on to the last. The quality deteriorates significantly with the passing of time. Sometimes at the onset of the season traders are not ashamed to sell last season’s nsenene as if it were fresh. Many people cannot afford a dessertspoonful of fried nsenene – barely enough to satisfy a craving - at between shs500. and shs 1000. . The social activity and norms around the collection, preparation and feasting of the grasshoppers is no more and the researcher fears that a strong part of the Banyankole culture is dead with it. There are old songs about grasshopper gathering, which no doubt, are not being sung by the commercial harvesters.

The investigator mourns the way commercialization has overtaken the rich tradition and taste of the versions we traditionally caught and prepared the grasshoppers. How do we recognize and change old addictive behaviors that are inconsistent with God’s will and contrary to our Christian walk and our African culture? Kwesiga had asked this question herself many times as she observed grasshopper norms perish, but never seemed to get an answer. She had made inner resolutions, promises, even vows, but always seemed to give in to her former behavior of excessive consumption of alcohol and eating bursts. The internal decision process may, for some people, have value in changing addictive behaviors; however, at best, the change will probably last a few months, or maybe even a year or two. By internal process, we mean making an inward commitment to our conscience to behave and act differently. Unlike Kwesiga, Mugisha had not made any inner resolutions or promises to change his addictive use of ‘bang’ a drug and alcohol. But other people, especially his family, had attempted to change him through the use of threats. Mugisha’s step father had told him to stop taking bang and drinking heavily otherwise he would have to leave home

The threat did little to change Mugisha’s addictive behavior. Neither did being arrested, jailed, and being removed from his father’s will. Making an inward commitment like Kwesiga or receiving outside pressure like Mugisha may have some effect on some people. But it will not produce the ongoing results that will come from replacing old addictive behavior with new attitudes and behavioral patterns. I am not suggesting that behavior modification alone is the road to permanent change; however, I am saying that in the new birth experience which Jesus speaks about “…verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”. (John 3:5). In the inner core (heart), change is based upon new beliefs, new values and new responses. The apostle Paul states this same concept in Ephesians 4:21-24; “If indeed you have heard Him, and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

The writer of the above article is a team leader at Free Hearts Uganda, an addiction treatment and rehabilitation center in Kampala. Dr. Chris Kigezo holds doctorate in addiction treatment and rehabilitation with a special bias in Christian counseling and Cognitive behavior therapy. Tel +256 772 373745, +256 756 525842, +254 782 280287. email.