Donelly in Zambia
Dr. Cormac Donelly spent a year at SFH (2010-11) and kept up a very insightful entertaining blog. You can read the whole whole thing here - but to whet your appetites, here an excerpt that I particularly enjoyed...
What’s in a name?
Posted by Cormac Donnelly at 7.36pm
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Surnames are pretty boring here in Eastern Zambia. Much like most people on Achill Island having either Gallagher or Kilbane as their surname, here well over half of the patients have either Banda (which in English means plain) or Phiri (meaning hill or mountain) for their surname. The remainder comprise a scattering of Zulu’s, Tembo’s, Sakala’s or Mbewe’s. In fact when I see a patient with an unfamiliar surname I usually enquire and find that they are originally from a different part of the country.
Perhaps as a means of making it easier for people to identify themselves and keep numbers of John Banda’s or Mary Phiri’s Limited people here are extremely imaginative when it comes to forenames. Some of these names parents seem to pick in the hope that their children will grow up well, to be Good people, Innocent of any faults, live a Happy life, be Smart and do well in school, to be Humble and Decent.
Some I feel are pretty bad choices. I know being overweight here is a sign of affluence but I struggle to understand how anyone could call their daughter Fatness, or Vast for that matter. I think parents should love all their children just the Same no matter what Size they are. To many parents the arrival of a child is seen as a Gift, a Beauty something Precious. And while it’s good to spread the Love, Lovemore sounds like a chick from a James Bond movie.
Maybe parents pick names in the hope that they are Lucky. Calling your child Fertiliser may lead to a good harvest. Perhaps rather than a child they would have preferred the arrival of a new pair of Shoes or a Table. It’s difficult to put together the Chain of events that leads some choices though such as Tennis or Lightmaka or Butterfly or Dynamo to Note just some.
Sometimes the names bear Witness to the child’s arrival into this world. A boy delivered after a difficult labour is not let forget the fact for the rest of his life and often gets named Mabvuto (trouble). Some mothers are thankful for a Nice and Easy labour though.
I hope it is Obvious to the reader that all words in italics are actual names of patients I have come across here working as a Doctor. Goodbye.
read his full blog here...