The Loiterer Feasts on His Feet

Suzan Njana
Wisdom&Wellness Counselor

Kizani, Dar-es-Salaam

Mtembezi Hula Miguu Yake

Swahili Wisdom

He who prefers going out for aimless walks, always unsettled and lazy – doesn’t perform income generating activities to get daily bread for himself and family, won’t have anything to feed themselves. Such lazy people are zero earners and are nicknamed as such as they depend on their legs to get their daily bread.

This wisdom is given as a warning and to encourage loiterers to change from laziness/walking and engage in income generating activities to attain better living. This can be accomplished by cutting off all means of financial assistance and supporting them towards acquiring gainful employment instead.

One Size Does Not Fit All

out of the Darkness & into the Light

Only when I accepted that I DO matter, that my life matters, can I say I was truly able to start living again. I was able to start treatment of this depressive disorder. How did I get there? One may wonder – allow me to share my story. This may be a story you’ve heard before, you may be perplexed by what worked for me, but in any case – hope you find some hope & inspiration.

I don’t remember the start of my depression journey – and what a bumpy ride it’s been. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’ve been depressed for a while. I can shed a light on moments where a Psychiatric degree was not needed to recognize the symptoms of this very depressed young lady – it was as clear as the ocean blue. Drinking was no longer a social thing so much as it was an attempt to block out all consciousness. I couldn’t bare the emptiness I felt deep within. I couldn’t stand the void staring back at me in the mirror. I didn’t recognize her. I stopped loving her. I stopped caring about her. Her life had effectively ended – without the death certificate.

I do however, and very vividly so, remember my first panic attack, as if it were happening as I am sharing this with you. Of course, had you asked me at the moment, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you what was going on with me. It was a weekend, and I was bartending. I wasn’t feeling too well. I wasn’t physically ill, but I had an uneasy and unsettling feeling before I even left the house, so I didn’t drive myself to work. About 10 mins after I started getting ready for the evening rush, I started getting this tingling feeling creeping slowly from my fingertips. From God knows where, my hands were sweaty and trembling; my heart was racing so fast and beating so hard I could discern the rapid thuds in my ears. I started feeling lightheaded and then my whole world was spinning out of its axis. I wanted to scream but I didn’t know why. That tingling feeling manifested into painful tonic spasms. My fingers couldn’t be pried open – and try they did. My whole body cramped. At this point tears were streaming down my cheeks but I wasn’t crying. The faint sounds of sirens in the background were deafening to my ears. I don’t know when or how I ended up in an ambulance. The only thing I thought then I knew for sure is I was having a stroke. Rushed to the hospital by paramedics, a whole new world of pain opened up to me.

I AM DEPRESSED – what’s next? I had stopped caring. A long time ago, some part of my brain decided it didn’t matter whether I existed or ceased to exist altogether. It didn’t make a darn difference. So why even get medical help? Why plan for my financial future while a future is not something I saw for myself? Why make the effort to live & love & enjoy life? I had nothingness waiting for me – and so nothing is what I did. I waited for the day when this pain will be no longer. I waited for a time to come when I wouldn’t have to make an appearance. I didn’t fight the hopelessness; I didn’t fight to find my place in society, my place in this world. This “surrender” I was so content with met a force greater than myself. A force I struggled to keep at bay, and today I thank God I lost to that force. My FAMILY. While I had quit on me, they didn’t. When I didn’t care, they never stopped. It didn’t matter how much I pushed them away, how much I wanted to be left alone to my despair – in one way or another, they made sure I knew they were there, even from a distance I felt how strong the love they had to offer me was. I wanted to be left alone to my miseries. It was easier to lock myself away in a dark room. Easier to shut the world out. Easier if I was never there. They were not in consensus. I was alone in this feeling. Suffering alone was less and less of an option every day. While my family didn’t push me to be okay, they were okay with who I was then until I was okay to be who I wanted to be.

So I sought medical mental health support. I was seeing a psychiatrist and a therapist. I was put on medication for depression and anxiety. I did it because I knew a world when this wasn’t me. When I felt it not working, I continued because I knew I wasn’t hurting alone, I knew my family was suffering  along with me, I knew my pain was causing my mother a world of hurt. I finally stopped because it – plain & simple – just wasn’t working for me. Prescriptions didn’t do the trick. The Xanax felt numbing, the Ibuproprion could have very well been sugar-pills. The therapy was not therapeutic. I wasn’t going to do it alone, that much I wasn’t delusional about. So I started sharing & caring.

Opening up about my feelings to the people in my life I loved & who loved me made it bearable. I could be functional again. I didn’t always need to lock myself in a dark room to be left alone with despair, I could step into the light now. It wasn’t as frightening as it was before, I wasn’t walking alone. I always had a hand to hold by my side if I needed it. It was okay if I felt anxious. It was okay if the world was upside down & overwhelming at times. I was no longer an island. I was truly NOT ALONE. And everyday since, I’ve made a choice to step into the light. I have made a choice to live, love and appreciate myself. I chose life. My life matters. I have, since then pushed all suicidal thoughts aside. Do I still get them? YES. Will I attempt to act upon them? NEVER AGAIN. It can be an ugly and lonely world. I now make the choice everyday to live in a world that loves and appreciates me. Medication and prescribed therapy is no longer what I turn to to feel “normal”. I share. I care. I listen. I laugh. I love. Most importantly, I LIVE.

The Patient One Eats What’s Ripe

by Rustica Tembele
Founder & CEO – TEWWY

Mvumilivu Hula Mbivu

Swahili Proverb

Life in general can be very complicated. Starting a project is not an easy thing. You have to go through so many obstacles which can make you give up. You use a good number of approaches but in vain.

A good example is about the process of establishing Tewwy. It was not that easy. The procedures of starting an organization is cumbersome and there comes a time when you feel it is not worth it, so why bother. But then you think again and again and convince urself that it is worth being patient because of the benefits associated with what you want to do.

The patience eventually paid. TEWWY finally gathered the support it needed from the community and government agencies to provide effective psychosocial interventions which serve both the providers – the Wisdom&Wellness Counselors – who now proudly serve their underserved communities with the wisdom they have acquired through life and living, as well as the community they are building.

But of course, none of the work TEWWY has been accomplished wouldn’t have been so without the tireless efforts of the retired elderly women dedicated to uniting their communities in mental health and wellness. To support our efforts and to ensure continued psychosocial interventions, please join us in raising awareness and promoting mental health by donating at GlobalGiving.

What is Depression?

Effects of Depression in Your Body

Depression is one of the most common mental health illnesses in the United States, affecting about 26 percent of adults. Depression is technically a mental disorder, but it also affects your physical health and well-being.

Sadness touches all of our lives at different times, but depression can have enormous depth and staying power. It is more than a passing bout of sadness or dejection, or feeling down in the dumps. It can leave you feeling continuously burdened and can sap the joy out of once-pleasurable activities.

Below are some of the most common symptoms of depression, as well as how depression can affect your entire body, especially if left untreated.

  • Feelings of sadness or emptiness
  • Insomnia
  • Trouble with memory or decision
  • Preoccupation with death
  • Risk of heart attack
  • Feelings of clinginess
  • Constricted blood vessels
  • Increased pain sensitivity
  • Lower sex-drive
  • Fatigue
  • Weakened immune system

Feeling sad or anxious at times is a normal part of life, but if these feelings last more than two weeks they could be symptoms of depression. It’s estimated that each year 17 million American adults will experience depression. However, clinical depression, especially left untreated, can interrupt your day-to-day life and cause a ripple effect of additional symptoms.

Depression affects how you feel and can also cause changes in your body. Major depression (a more advanced form of depression) is considered a serious medical condition that may have a dramatic effect on your quality of life.

Impact of Mental Illness

Leading Cause of Suicide

Suicide, which is often associated with symptoms of mental illness, is the 10th leading cause of death the U.S. and the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 15-34.These are scary statistics, because mental illness affects everyone.

Preventing mental illness and promoting good mental health involves actions to create living conditions and environments that support mental health and allow people to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles. These include a range of actions to increase the chances of more people experiencing better mental health, such as

  • Early childhood interventions (for example, home visits for pregnant women and programs that help young children build social and emotional skills).
  • Social support for elderly persons.
  • Programs targeted to people affected by disasters or other traumatic events.
  • Mental health interventions at work (for example, stress prevention programs).
  • Violence prevention strategies (for example, reducing violence in the community and the home).
  • Campaigns to change the culture of mental health so that all of those in need receive the care and support they deserve.

Serious mental illness costs in the United States amount to $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year. Whereas, adults living with serious mental illness die on average 25 years earlier than others, largely due to treatable medical conditions.

What part are you playing in intervening the global mental health crisis? Join us in raising awareness and promoting mental health in Tanzania @

What is Mental Illness?

Causes & Common Mental Illnesses

According to the CDC, a person’s mental health can change over time, depending on many factors.  When the demands placed on a person exceed their resources and coping abilities, their mental health could be impacted. For example, if someone is working long hours, caring for an ill relative or experiencing economic hardship they may experience poor mental health.

Mental illnesses are conditions that affect a person’s thinking, feeling, mood or behavior, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. Such conditions may be occasional or long-lasting (chronic) and affect someone’s ability to relate to others and function each day.

Mental illnesses are among the most common health conditions in the United States with more than 50% diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime.

There is no single cause for mental illness. A number of factors can contribute to risk for mental illness, such as

Stay tuned for further discussion on types and impact of mental illness, mental health promotion, prevention and much more…

Yoga for Anxiety and Depression

Can Yoga Help with Anxiety and Depression?

According to the Harvard Mental Health Letter, recent studies suggest that Yoga, an ancient physical exercise that involves different body poses, breathing techniques, and meditation can:

  • Reduce the impact of stress
  • Help with anxiety and depression
  • Be a self-soothing technique similar to meditation, relaxation, and exercise
  • Improve energy

As the exercise focuses on deep, controlled breathing, encouraging a greater mind-body awareness, after years of doing yoga, some people find that the practice transforms their lives to an even greater degree.

They have a different perspective on the meaning and purpose of their life, and their goals become less materialistic and more spiritual and charitable.

Dr. Khalsa

Yoga, with its gentle, calming, and fluid nature, allows for flexibility in its poses, so people of all levels can practice. Emphasizing breath, concentration, and smooth movement, you’ll be encouraged to focus on positive images to calm the body and mind.

As exercise, yoga is a natural way to increase serotonin production. According to the Journal of Psychiatry and NeuroscienceTrusted Source, serotonin production plays a role in the treatment of depression. Serotonin is believed to play a major role in happiness.

Yoga also increases your heart rate variability (HRV), or change in time between heart beats, by increasing the relaxation response over the stress response in the body. A high HRV means that your body is better at self-monitoring or adapting, particularly to stress.

Many people such as myself use yoga therapy to manage mental and emotional problems, such as stress, anxiety, or depression. We would love to hear what has worked for you before, and if you would like to give Yoga a try, schedule a FREE Discovery Class, a 30-min session where I’ll introduce you to our science-based approach to wellness.

What is Mental Health?

Why is Mental Health Important to Our Overall Health?

As it becomes clear how few, inaccessible and desperately needed services for mental health care are, more dialogue happens about mental health and how we are all affected.

So what is mental health? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explain this burden of disease as ⬇️

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.

Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.


Mental and physical health are equally important components of overall health.  Mental illness, especially depression, increases the risk for many types of physical health problems, particularly long-lasting conditions like stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Similarly, the presence of chronic conditions can increase the risk for mental illness.

Can your mental health change over time? Follow the series for further discussion on mental illness, common mental illnesses and causes. Health is Wealth my friends❣️❣

Patience During Hard Times

by Suzan Njana
Wisdom&Wellness Counselor

Kizani, Dar es salaam

Kayegele Ka Mhande Jina Bulilo

Nyamwezi Proverb

We referenced this proverb for women married to excessively drunk men – which speaks of preparation bambara nuts – traditional Nyamwezi tribe food, delicious but hard, round seeds that are difficult to handle during preparation and cooking.

This wisdom served women in tough marriages with a comforting reminder that regardless of the husband’s drunk behavior, he still takes care of his family by financing for the necessary household needs. The wisdom helped in creating peace and harmony within the family by encourage wife and family members to withstand some bad behavior and hardship of the like, provided the man can support the family financially.

Due to the increased divorce rates across the globe, we all need to practice patience in our marriages because hardship will be there somehow, so instead of immediately giving up on the marriage, perhaps it is better to seek the wisdom of those who have lived through a similar situation, as they might be able to advise you on how they handled and thrived in the situation.

In Swahili:
Hali ya njugu ni ngumu, zinarukaruka na kuteleza ukizishika hata unapozichemsha kwenye chungu. Pia ni ngumu kuiva. Hali hii inamsumbua mpishi japo njugu ni nzuri sana na tamu kamą chakula.

Maana yake mtu huwezi kuacha kula njugu kutokana na usumbufu wake unapoziandaa, kwa kuzingatia njugu ni nzuri na tamu kula. Katika maisha yote na hasa ya ndoa kuna vikwazo na mafanikio, hivyo usimuache mume kwa sababu ya shida yake moja tu ukadharau mema anayokufanyia na familia yote. Badala yake shukuru na kuvumilia ndoa yenu cha mradi anakupatia mahitaji muhimu ya familia.

Wakati huohuo pata njia nyingine muafaka ya kumpeleka kwenye huduma za ushauri zinaxotolewa na serikali ili apunguxze su kuacha usumbufu alionao.

There’s More Than One Way to Skin a Cat

Susan Njana

Wisdom&Wellness Counselor – Kizani

In my native tongue – Kinyamwezi, the saying goes “Wa Matama Abili Akapyaga“. The analogy we always referred to when I was a young girl was “When eating we use both cheeks to rotate food in the mouth – to create comfort and avoid burning when eating hotter food.”

This wisdom is meant to encourage a person not to despair in problems because there are alternative means to a solution. For instance, by seeking advice from elders.

We, the Wisdom&Wellness Counselors are here to walk with you in your life’s journey.

In Swahili:
Binadamu tunatumia mashavu mawili wakati wa kula chakula – ni vigumu kuungua maana utakipeleka upande wa pili wa shavu ili usiungue
. Ukipata shida katika maisha usikate tamaa mapema sababu zipo njia mbalimbali za kukusaidia shida yako
. Usitegemee njia moja kutaua matatizo yako
. Vumilia katika shida hali ukitafuta mbinu zingine za kumaliza shida yako

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