Catching a local taxi in Windhoek (Namibia’s capital city), was always a bit of a gamble. I may have gotten a brand new shiny hatchback — clearly the driver’s pride and joy — pimped out with a thumping sound system, shiny hubcaps and comfy bright seat covers. Or, maybe the bumper was attached to the car with cable ties, and the driver had to jiggle and thump the door from the inside before I could open it and I could see the road rushing beneath me through a hole in the floor. Usually, the latter also had a brand new thumping sound system.
Local taxis are shared, so you never know who you will be squeezed between, what route you will take, or just how many red lights you will run through along the way. Just put on your seatbelt (if you can find one) and get ready for an interesting ride.
At the point when it had become second nature for me to use certain Afrikaans words in everyday conversation, and about the time I discovered the useful ‘social’ category of phrases in my free Afrikaans iPad app, I decided to progress my self-directed language instruction into flirting.
“Play it safe,” I thought. So I stuck with the simple but flattering phrase: “You are very handsome.” And I chose a local bar on Christmas Eve for my testing ground. Everything appeared to be going smoothly — reactions were tinged with a little more confusion than I’d expected but still smiley. With my newfound mastery of Afrikaans, I was beaming with confidence.
It wasn’t until I checked my app the next day that I realised just how much confidence I’d been radiating. Rather than “You are very handsome,” I’d spent all night declaring, more and more fluently with each try, “I am very pretty.”
In a country that experiences, on average, 300 clear bright sunny days a year, the rainy days become a novelty. When the endlessly blue sky greyed over, everything felt a little bit closer, the usually bone-dry air was dewy and I could feel the change in mood. The locals called it BMW — Baby Making Weather.
Oryx, sheep, springbok, zebra, donkey, eland, ostrich, goat, lamb, kudu… If it’s got meat on it then Namibians, and I, have probably eaten it. If I came back from a buffet with only one type of meat on my plate I was likely to hear –“Oi! Are you vegetarian now or what?”
From snacking on biltong (dried cured meat, a bit like beef jerky) during a road trip, grabbing a quick lunch of kapana at the market (sliced beef and liver eaten straight off the grill), inviting friends over for boerewors (farmer’s sausage) on the braai (barbeque) or sitting down to a giant sizzling game steak, there was always a reason to eat some more meat.
If I can video skype in the middle of the Kalahari, why do I have to stand on tip-toes, in the corner of my parent’s front garden, in the middle of their camellia bush to get mobile phone reception in Sydney’s inner west?
I found that this was just a good habit to get into when travelling in Africa…or travelling in general, really. To be fair, Namibia’s tourism infrastructure is so amazing that the average tourist is unlikely to ever experience a ‘bush toilet’ or even have to squat behind a bush.
But my work involved visiting remote drought-stricken communities and flooded villages so isolated that I was the first white person the people there had ever seen. When you’re travelling six or more hours a day by car or boat and drinking litres and litres of water to combat Namibia’s dry environment, you never know when or where you’ll need to go.
When your change-room is a tiny, sweaty, smothering zipped-up polyester tent in the middle of the desert in more than 40 degrees Celsius heat — getting yourself into any kind of dress is a challenge. But when that dress is floor length, Victorian-era style with long thick puffy sleeves and a tight waist-cinching bodice, your chances of fainting are pretty high. Oh, and you need to wear at least six petticoats under the skirt.
After the amazing, but very sweaty experience of being a bridesmaid in a Herero wedding and wearing the traditional dress — reflecting the persisting influence of German missionaries in the 1800’s — I’m ready to take on any meringue dress you can throw at me.
When Namibia gained independence from South Africa in 1990, English took over from Afrikaans as the official language. But Afrikaans is still widely spoken, along with at least 13 tribal languages, across the country.
No matter what your language, though, in Namibia there are some words and phrases that are just better said in Afrikaans. And since returning to Sydney, I can’t seem to drop some of them.
A few of my favourites are babalas — hangover, padkos — travel snacks, lag — laugh (used a bit like LOL), kak — shit, and a whole range of disturbingly graphic and strangely specific swear words and phrases.
In his book of essays on Africa, Shadow of the Sun, Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski says, “the African who boards a bus sits down in a vacant seat, and immediately falls into a state in which he spends a great portion of his life: a benumbed waiting.”
I can’t speak for all of Africa, but Namibia certainly provided many opportunities for improving my waiting patience. From spending half a day at the bank just to pay my rent; to lining up around the block for Hungry Lion’s two for the price of one special on fried chicken; to joining an already-formed queue of cars outside the transport authority at 6:30am only to be turned away at 9:30am because they had already reached their daily quota for the roadworthy test.
I wouldn’t describe my fellow waiters as ‘benumbed’ — more like accepting of the fact that things will happen when and as they should. The experience has certainly made me a lot more patient during the measly 30 minutes or so I spend in line at the bank these days.
Phenylketonuria is a genetically acquired disorder in which the patient cannot metabolize the amino acid called phenylalanine due to the lack of an enzyme called phenylalanine hydroxylase.
The patient exhibits symptoms like delayed development, convulsions, hyperactivity, and analytical disability. Unfortunately, spirulina is a rich source of phenylalanine.
Consuming spirulina aggravates the symptoms of phenylketonuria.
An autoimmune disease develops when the immune system attacks the healthy tissues in your body, causing organ damage and inflammation.
Arthritis, asthma, periodontitis, vitiligo, type 2 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, and pernicious anemia are a few examples of autoimmune diseases.
Spirulina is, after all, a foreign body. When you consume it, the body overreacts and amplifies the activity of the immune system. This exacerbates the symptoms of a pre-existing disease or gives rise to severe inflammation (1).
Spirulina is an irritant to your immune system. It can interfere with drugs, especially immunosuppressants.
A person on immunosuppressant medication must not consume spirulina. Else, it will diminish the effect of the medication, resulting in serious complications.
Certain varieties of spirulina that are produced under unrestrained settings are often infested with significant traces of heavy metals, such as mercury, cadmium, arsenic, and lead.
Prolonged consumption of spirulina that comes from such undependable sources results in damage to your vital organs, such as the kidneys and liver.
Compared to adults, children are at a higher risk of developing fatal complications due to heavy metal poisoning from contaminated spirulina.
Make sure to check where your spirulina is sourced from.
Our body produces a significant amount of ammonia as it metabolizes the protein in spirulina, which gets converted into urea.
This puts excessive pressure on the kidneys to flush out such a large amount of urea from the blood, ultimately resulting in decreased efficiency of the kidneys and even renal failure.
Some people tend to develop kidney stones due to such high concentrations of urea in the renal system.
Spirulina is packed with vitamins, proteins, and minerals. People with compromised renal function would be unable to expel the unnecessary components from their bloodstream.
One of the most abundant minerals found in spirulina is iodine. While on the one hand, it is good to take in iodine via spirulina, on the other hand, it could affect your thyroid and parathyroid glands. The effects are more pronounced in people with hyperparathyroidism.
The build-up of excessive nutrients, along with iodine, in the blood leads to fluid retention (edema) in your limbs, imbalance in calcium, phosphate, and iodine absorption, and sudden weight gain or loss, lethargy, and cardiovascular diseases.
Consuming spirulina can lead to flatulence, causing abdominal cramps, nausea, and anaphylaxis – especially in people consuming it for the first time (2).
Spirulina varieties infested with contaminants, such as microcystins (toxins produced by blue-green algae), also give rise to serious gastric ailments like acute dehydration and indigestion.
Spirulina harvested from the unrestrained wild sources, such as lakes, ponds, and littered seas, contain toxic strains.
Such morphologically similar blue-green algae produce neurotoxic chemicals like β-methylamino-L-alanine, or BMAA, which could cause severe neurodegenerative disorders like motor neuron disease (MND), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia, anxiety, and sleepless nights (insomnia) (3).
The safety of spirulina for pregnant and nursing women is not well explored. Hence, it is recommended that pregnant or nursing women avoid taking spirulina or remain under strict medical surveillance while doing so.
Infants and children should be kept away from such supplements because they quickly develop allergies and fatal cross-reaction.
Though algae like spirulina are highly beneficial to our body, having it in the right dose matters.
Not only the dosage, but the source from which you obtain such supplements also has a significant effect on your health. It is important to know
To reap the maximum benefits from an excellent nutritive supplement like spirulina, you need to inquire about such details to avoid the deadly side effects listed here.
Remember always to keep your physician informed about the dosage and the way your body reacts to spirulina. In case you notice any of the symptoms we have discussed, refrain from taking spirulina and visit your doctor immediately.
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Pneumococcal disease is caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). People with pneumococcal disease can spread the bacteria to others when they cough or sneeze.
Pneumococcus bacteria can cause infections in many parts of the body, including
Symptoms of pneumococcal infection depend on the part of the body affected. Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, stiff neck, confusion, increased sensitivity to light, joint pain, chills, ear pain, sleeplessness, and irritability. In severe cases, pneumococcal disease can cause hearing loss, brain damage, and death. You can find a full list of symptoms for each part of the body that is affected on the symptoms and complications of pneumococcal disease page.
Pneumococcal disease occurs around the world but is more common in low- and middle-income countries where fewer people get pneumococcal vaccine. In more temperate climates, pneumococcal disease is more common during winter and early spring. In tropical climates with dry and rainy seasons, pneumococcal disease tends to occur more in the dry season.
Travelers are more likely to get pneumococcal disease if they spend time in crowded settings or in close contact with children in countries where pneumococcal vaccine is not routinely used.
Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect against pneumococcal disease. Pneumococcal vaccines are routinely recommended in the United States.
There are two types of pneumococcal vaccine:
Some groups may need multiple doses or booster shots. Talk with your or your child’s clinician about what is best for your specific situation.
If you traveled and feel sick, particularly if you have a fever, talk to a healthcare provider and tell them about your travel. Avoid contact with other people while you are sick.
If you need medical care abroad, see Getting Health Care Abroad.
The amount of sex that a person has varies over their lifetime. There is no “right” amount of sex to have, and not having sex for a long time should not have negative side effects.
How often a person has sex naturally changes from time to time, depending on age, fluctuations in sex drive, and relationship status. Many people enjoy a full and satisfying life without ever having sex.
In a study looking at data from 17,744 people in the United States, 15.2% of males and 26.7% of females reported having no sex in the last year, while 8.7% of males and 17.5% of females reported not having had sex for 5 years or more.
The authors concluded that “sexless Americans reported very similar happiness levels as their sexually active counterparts.”
In this article, we look at what might happen physically and psychologically when a person does not have sex for a long time and how it might affect people in a relationship.
Share on Pinterest A person may not notice any side effects of celibacy.
People refer to not having sex for a long time as celibacy or abstinence. When someone does not have sex for months or years, they are unlikely to notice any negative physical side effects on their health.
However, research shows that having regular sex can result in certain health benefits, including improved immune system function, reduced blood pressure, lower stress levels, and less risk of cardiovascular events. Learn more about the health benefits of sex here.
People may get some of the physiological benefits of sex — such as reduced stress — from masturbation.
In males, prostate health can benefit from frequent ejaculation, whether this is with another person or alone. A 2016 study found that men who ejaculated at least 21 times per month had a lower risk of prostate cancer compared with those who ejaculated 4–7 times per month.
For females, frequent sexual activity — again, either with a partner or solo — can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that support the bladder, improving bladder function and reducing incontinence and leakage.
There is a widespread idea that having regular sex is an important part of a person’s emotional well-being. While this is true for some people, it is not the case for everyone.
When sexual abstinence is involuntary, some individuals may feel negative effects on their mental health. Conversely, people who do not feel sexual desire may find these feelings distressing. Not having sex when in a relationship can make a person feel insecure or anxious. Talking about these emotions can help remove any sense of discomfort.
For others, abstaining from sex is important for good mental health. People may abstain from sex for many reasons, for example, because they have a low sex drive, are asexual, or simply choose not to engage in it.
The potential benefits of abstaining from sex, depending on the individual and their situation, include:
However, research reports that sex is a good way to relieve stress, which can boost a person’s mental health. According to a study that surveyed 10,429 women with low sexual desire, 27.5% reported that it caused them distress. However, among those who had a current partner, the figure was much higher at 81%.
Some people may find that masturbation can reduce stress and anxiety because it releases hormones that produce a temporary mood boost.
Many people have fulfilling romantic relationships without having frequent sex. For others, regular sex can improve the health of their relationship.
A 2015 study reported that sexual frequency was only an indicator of well-being when people were in relationships. They found an association between having sex once a week and higher relationship satisfaction. This satisfaction did not seem to change when the frequency of sex increased to more than once per week.
For some people, sex can improve communication and feelings of closeness. People who feel as though they do not have enough sex may worry that there is something wrong with their relationship or fear that their partner is no longer attracted to them.
In these cases, people can try other methods of improving communication and intimacy. Cuddling, kissing, affectionate gestures, and opening up to one another can improve the health of a relationship, regardless of whether it involves sexual activity.
Asexuality and celibacy are not the same, though they are related. Not all asexual people are celibate, and not all celibate people are asexual.
Asexuality means that a person does not experience sexual attraction and does not feel a desire to have sex. Celibacy, on the other hand, refers to the abstinence of sex for a specific period or forever. Celibacy can be either a choice or the product of circumstance, while asexuality is not a choice.
Asexuality is a sexual orientation, and it exists on a continuum. Some people who are asexual do not desire sex at all, while others occasionally experience some desire. Some individuals only want to have sex when they are in a loving and safe relationship, which is known as being demisexual.
Some asexual people experience romantic feelings and a desire for a romantic relationship, while others do not. Experts refer to those who do not have this wish as being aromantic.
Some asexual people choose to have sex. They may make this decision to please a partner, to conform to societal norms, or because they fear that their identity is not valid. There is no evidence that trauma or other mental health issues cause asexuality. Asexuality is a legitimate sexual orientation that does not require a “cure,” and people should never pressure another person to have sex.
There is no correct amount of sex to have, and the ideal frequency will vary from person to person. Not having sex for a long time should not have negative side effects.
There is no right or wrong way to express sexual feelings as long as all parties consent. Likewise, no person should feel obligated to have a specific frequency of sex. Avoiding sex will not harm a person’s health, and it may even be healthy.
People who feel concerned about low sexual desire or the effects of infrequent sex on their relationship can talk about their concerns with a doctor or therapist. Medication, therapy, lifestyle changes, better relationship communication, and many other strategies may help.
If there was one piece of advice I have for people today to experience more joy in life, it is to travel more. I don’t mean taking vacations or going on pre-planning trips, I mean making the journey out to somewhere you’ve never gone before with an open schedule, to let life show you what opportunities were waiting for you that you couldn’t have even imaged before.
Traveling is wonderful in many ways. It captures us with a sense of wanderlust and has us longing for more destinations to visit, cultures to experience, food to eat, and people to meet. As amazing as traveling is, most of us think we need to wait until our later years to really explore a lot of the world. I want to inspire you to travel more now and I will do that by sharing 9 wonderful benefits of traveling so you can take the leap of faith you’ve been waiting for.