Cargo of hope
h 1 ~
a» “~-celv( "N’li‘b‘ “ﬂaiti; z
A unique all-volunteer crew of doctors. dentists, agriculturalists and relief workers has arrived in Edinburgh on the largest privately owned and funded hospital ship in the world. The Anastasis — the ﬂagship of the Mercy Ships ﬂeet owned by international. interdenominational Christian agency Youth With A Mission - will dock at the cruise liner berth at Leith Docks from 20 May until 7 June. The ship has just completed a six-month visit to Sierra Leone, where it offered free medical treatment, health care and agricultural advice to people very much in need.
‘The surgeries that we do are not so much life-saving as life-changing,’ says Pam Courson, one of the ship‘s trained nurses. ’ln other words, someone who is blind can see and is functional again in society, or someone who is an outcast because they have a cleft lip or palate is now acceptable because they look more normal. in that respect, what we do is a lasting thing in their lives. As far as the educational aspects, we have been trying to implement a programme of training health workers to teach others how to take better care of themselves. We take volunteers who are motivated and train them in very simple things like sanitation, nutrition and hygiene, teach these people to teach their neighbours.‘
Pam has travelled with the ship to various ports of call in recent years, carrying out a range of medical roles. in Jamaica, she worked with patients in the recovery room after surgery; in
Togo and Ghana, she was part of the advance team who prepared the
medical aspects of the visit; in the ivory Coast, her work took on a more administrative slant, organising the groups of medical volunteers. in this way. she has seen not only the hardship suffered across the globe, but the way that the team spirit on the Anastasis feeds into the local communities.
The Anastasis‘s visit to Leith — its ﬁrst to Edinburgh — will allow the people of Scotland to see at ﬁrst hand the layout ofa ﬂoating hospital. Built in I953 and purchased from a junkyard at scrap metal prices, the ship has a l500 ton cargo capacity and carries a crew of around 350 volunteers from over 30 countries, including a Scottish chief engineer. lts medical facility contains 3 operating units, a 25-bed surgical ward, 2 laboratories, an X-ray facility. a dental clinic and a pharmacy.
The purpose ofthe visit, part of a current European tour. is to recruit volunteers and encourage local communities to give donations of supplies — essential if the ship is to continue its non-proﬁt-making relief work abroad. Although volunteers tend to be involved for anything from two weeks to a year or more, important repair work is ongoing; anyone with a day or two to spare, with skills in plumbing, welding, carpentry. orjust keen to work with the deck crew or in the kitchen, should call Mercy Ships on 03] 228 ill! while the ship is docked. Further information about the agency is available from Mercy Ships, l3 Highﬁeld Oval, Ambrose Lane. Harpenden, Herts, AL5 4BX. (Alan Morrison)
Meditation on the NHS?
A meditation technique made iamous by The Beatles in the days oi ilower power should be available on the National Health Service according to a Scottish doctor. Practitioners oi Transcendental Meditation, or TM, claim that it reduces stress-related disorders. One-hundred and thirty-six British doctors recently signed a letter to Virginia Bottomley, the Secretary oi State ior liealth, requesting that she endorsetheuseoiTMontheiliiSasa means oi improving the health oi the nation and saving money.
‘Aiter several years oi practising TM, I am very impressed with its simplicity and the many beneiits irorn it,’ says Dr George Bath, who is a Consultant in
Public Health Medicine in Edinburdi. ‘l was rather sceptical when l iirst heard about TM but decided to iind out more and am now convinced it can bring about an important improvement in health, happiness and iuliilment.’ Advocates oi the technique point out that stress-related problems are believed to account ior as many as 80 per cent oi cases seen by GPs and that TM meditators experience iewer hospitalisations than non-meditators. They believe that the Minister ior Health, should introduce the technique to support the emphasis she placed on prevention in last year’s ‘liealth oi the Ration’ White Paper. (Thom Dibdin).
The Anastasis -
As many as a hundred thousand Scots are expected to take an active part in events during Environment Week I993, according to Green Action who took over coordination of the week three years ago when participation was at about l0,000. Most of the participants will be involved in local ‘hands-on’ actions, such as cleaning up waterways and green spaces as well as building new facilities and recycling.
However, the week is not without its
critics from within the environmental movement. They point out that recycling household waste seems a' i very paltry effort when compared i0 the destruction of resources by the industries upon which our economy is based. There is little point in recycling waste when you should not be generating it in the ﬁrst place.
Paul Zealey of Green Action rejects such criticisms out of hand. ‘When we get questions at the ofﬁce during the year, people are overwhelmed by the global environmental issues: desecration of the rainforest, holes in the ozone layer. it all seems too enormous for them to do anything, but the answer is that everybody‘s individual effort makes a difference.‘
Local authorities are also taking part in the week, with Lothian Region announcing a 66-point action plan and Strathclyde publicising their environmental charter. ‘The week is a way of highlighting some of these pledges to the public,’ says Zealey. ’The council may have been working on schemes for the last twelve months, but the public will not know about them.‘ Some councils, such as Lothian, are extending this concern into the private sector by investigating the use of ‘green' conditions and criteria for grant aid conditions, investment decisions and contract tender speciﬁcations. (Thom Dibdin)
Local details of Environment Week activities are available from Green Action on 04] 248 6864.
_ Bite the dust?
As oi Friday 14 May, Radio Scotland eiiectively shut its doors to pop music. Goodbye to the Scottish Chart, much trumpeted on its inception. Goodbye to Beat Patrol. Goodbye to Bite The Wax. Goodbye to not just a iew isolated programmes, but to a whole strand oi local radio broadcasting. Goodbye to Nighttime Radio Scotland. Hello The Usual Suspects, a new 50-minute arts-based show. Fair enough. But hello to a repeat oi ilancy Nicholson’s daily ‘Scottish culture’ programme?
Thus is shaped Radio Scotland’s summer evening schedule, the result oi phase two oi Radio Scotland’s programming regeneration, and the iruits oi Extending Choice, a discussion document compiled in response to the government’s Green Paper on Broadcasting.
‘We’re adopting a music policy that will not have us playing shows based on chart-based pop music, nor will we be basing shows on MGR music,’ states Robert Ioakes, Radio Scotland’s Read oi Entertainment Radio.
For poplovers, this is a grim prospect. But apparently poplovers are a dying breed. We’re a minority. But we’re still a minority who listen to radio and expect our tastes to be adequately catered ior on our national radio station, ior it ‘to reilect the culture oi the indigenous area’ as the concept oi ‘extending choice’ would have it. is it part oi Radio Scotland’s
remit to neglect the cultural tact that each week thousands congregate in venues/clubslrecord shops to celebrate this marginalised musical iorm?
‘It’s recommended that we do not replicate services that are available elsewhere,’ runs the oiiiciai line. ‘We’re not talking about cutting out pop music entirely. Pop music as part oi music-making in Scotland and part oi the Scottish music that sits in‘the international context - we’re not going to ignore that.’
At the moment all that seems to be happening is music programmes being axed but there is a redeeming glimmer on the horizon, clinically reierred to as ‘phase three’, to be launched in September. A new strand oi as yet unspeciiied music shows will then take to the airwaves and we can but hope that young Scottish bands, who otherwise have precious iew broadcasting outlets in this country, will continue to be granted a national plationn alongside the usual Jazz and iolk suspects. Which provokes the thought that it this were any other iorm oi music, would it be so readin subordinated? And that it this was ten years ago, a summer minus pop music would have denied Wet Wet Wet, The Jesus And Mary chain, Primal Screan, Del Amth and The Shamen their iirst radioplay.
‘We still want people to send us demos and keep us inionned oi what they’re doing,’ is lloakes’s iinal encouraging acknowledgement at his department’s past achievements, achievements that can’t be allowed to terminate so abruptly. (Fiona Shepherd)
4 The List 2| May—3 June 1993