Friday April 5th -Sunday April 14th is time to celebrate Victorian Youth Week this year. I will be participating in one of the many Africa Day Australia activities that will be going on as we celebrate the young people around us. I cant wait to meet with everyone and be among the young minds of Victoria. Hope to see you there.
When: Saturday 13th April 12:30- 1630
Where: Library at the Dock , 107 Victoria Harbour Promenade, Docklands Vic 3008
It was a great honor to present to the beautiful women of Africa Day Australia as a guest speaker on this momentous occasion. I thought I would share my speech below for those who couldn’t make it to share as we celebrate women and the men who allow us to stand tall. Hope you enjoy it. Let me know on the comments please.
My name is Dr Tshegofatso (Teah) Mogae. I am a bit nervous so I hope I will not have verbal diarrhoea and divulge all my secrets. I am a mum, wife, medical practitioner and I own a small business called Losika Writes. I was kindly asked to provide a speech to an awesome bunch of women to celebrate international women’s day and I thought, sure why not. I am a woman, tick so I already tick that box at least. But then I had to decide what to talk about and that was the tricky bit.
Do I talk how being born a female in 2019 still sucks compared to being born a male anywhere in the world? Or about how 1 in 2 women in Australia will experience sexual harassment in their lifetime? Or how despite working hard women earn 85c compared to $1 earnt by men doing the same jobs yet then still do the bulk of unpaid care work at home.
So you can understand how if I was to talk about the #metoo movement or how 10 women and 1 child have died since the beginning of 2019 in Australia alone or how women such as Ms Rahaf Alqanun have to literally run away from their homes and lock themselves in hotel rooms to get tell the world of the plight of women in different parts of the world how sad my talk would be. I think these issues are important discussions to be had and I am sure we can make time for each of them, but I thought I would be uplifting on this special day.
So for that I turned towards the theme for this year which is balance for better. First thing I thought was oh no, they want me to talk about how work life balance and how I am amazing at that. Well, I did say I was juggling motherhood, being a doctor, lecturer, business owner etc so I must admit that work life balance is a mythical creature in my life. On further review though, the theme is about creating a gender balanced world which I think is a great challenge we as women face.
On this, the 108th celebration of international women’s day can we try to spice things up a bit and hopefully try and get equality quicker than the 202 years projected for equality at the current rate. That means, with everything remaining the same, it will only be my great, great, great, great, great, grand daughters who would get to enjoy the fruits of our labour so I thought we could get things rolling a lot sooner. I understand that we have already made great strides as women in the recent centuries, but I am challenging us to try and pick up the pace. It was almost a hundred years ago that women discussed with the men in their lives the importance of equality in terms of casting a vote in the USA. Following that, MEN then voted to allow women to cast their own votes.
So why don’t we follow in their lead to make men be the ones working harder for our equality?
So why don’t we get the men in our lives to recognise when women are not being treated equally and to do something about it?
Why don’t we get the men in our lives to question when they are invited to board meetings or panels that don’t involve any women?
Why don’t we get the men in our lives to call out and have a zero tolerance to sexual harassment of women?
Why don’t we teach our sons that being a man doesn’t involve showing strength by beating up women but rather by building them up?
Why don’t we get the investor men in our lives to question why board members of the companies they invest in don’t have women on board?
Why don’t we get the leading mean in our lives to know that trying to rule a country with political parties, or institutions with only males at the helm is like trying to fly a 747 aeroplane with only 50% engine capacity, a recipe for disaster.
Women account for 50% of the worlds population so I think it is about time some of those men stood up and made room for our fabulousness at the table. All men come from a woman, were cared for by a woman, were nursed and probably taught by a woman to become who they are. So surely, we should ensure they know how fabulous we are.
They shouldn’t just stand up to pull our chairs or to open doors for us, they should question why we are not shoulder to shoulder with them and make room for us at the table.
It all starts with us owning our power and educating the men we birth and raise, the men we grow up with, the men we love and interact with and all men in general to stand up for our equality. So let us get to it ladies, this job needs all of us.
I would have never believed you if you said you could make an exact duplicate of yourself but with Losika I think I may have done exactly that.
Now most people are quick to talk about our looks and how we look very similar which I suppose is common. There are however, things that he has done that have shocked me as I identify myself in them from being about his age to now. Below I have listed those that are still fresh of mind
Nail biting – now I must admit I still do this even now but I am always conscious of not doing that when he is around. But he not only bites his finger nails, he bites his toenails too which I also disgustingly did until my late teens so its not like I have shown him how to do it.
Internalising emotions- he is only four but I see so much of myself in how he handles situations and emotions. I must admit, I am still learning how to tame the tiger but I remember many a time that I promised myself I would pack my bags in the morning and run away or went to bed without eating my dinner all because mum had been upset at me. I see how he responds sometimes when he is angry at me for disturbing his play and a part of me can see the cogwheels turning in his brain and wondering if he ever thinks like I used to. I hope that as he grows, I can teach him what I have learnt so far in managing emotions and not internalising them.
Watching TV whilst lying on his back- this used to be my favourite TV watching position and I can fondly remember watching SABC 3 back in the days and trying to learn tennis and cricket because those were the only things that were entertaining after school in our limited channel TV set back then.
Spending forever chewing one mouthful- I fondly remember my mum telling me that you didn’t need to chew porridge or yogurt. Mum would say I was possible the only person who would chew WATER!!! Sadly Losika has developed the same trait of keeping each mouthful a lot longer in the mouth which can be frustrating as I try and ensure he completes his breakfast in the morning hustle and bustle.
Surely I am not the only parent who sees themselves in their child. Comment below and let me know that I am not crazy… I know I may be but hoping I am now hehe
Today I was accused of stealing a patient’s $100 bill at work. She claimed that I had fleeced her of her money last week and “unless there is someone else in this clinic who looks like me”, then it was obviously me who could have taken her money under false pretences. Now granted, we did have a consultation last week and I organised a surgical excision which would have had an out of pocket cost compared to her usual bulk billed consults. However as all of us should know, doctors never handle money as that is what reception is for, there is no way I would have processed payment for an anticipated procedure. Trying to highlight this flaw in her thinking just led to more venomous attacks of me and going on about how unless someone “like me”, and when asked to elaborate on what she meant, she reported “black people like me”, I could be the only person who took her money.
Not only was this hurtful as I had looked after this patient for a year now through challenging times with her family, it was sadly not the first time I have had racist insults hurled in my face by members of our community. I have been insulted in the presence of my then 3-year-old son, and informed that the reason we are brown is because we are the s*#t of the society whilst on a train home from a city outing.
Today however was different and to me sadder as I realised that people who have never experienced racism are quick to make excuses for racist behaviour. The trending ones for today was “she is old, she might have dementia” as if getting old and maybe having dementia have RACISM as a side effect. Excuses for the guy on the train was “maybe he was drunk, maybe he was high” again as if drugs and alcohol should have RACISM as a listed side effect. Now, racism is not a side effect of any of the above or any other reasons people might excuse. You are racist and for whatever reasons you might become disinhibited enough to actually spill your vile ideas.
When someone is being subjected to such, I would advise that if you are someone who has witnessed such behaviour- call it out for what it is, listen to the distress of the person who has been vilified and say, “I am sorry you have had to endure this today”. It is the equivalent of being quiet when breaking bad news etc when the less you speak actually speaks volumes. There is no need to try and pretend people were not trying to be racist when they are or worse excusing their behaviour.
I admit, I am guilty of not calling out such behaviour because I actually hate to bring up the so-called race card and I am really not confrontational. Today, the whole experience was surreal, as if someone was going to come out of the woodworks and say “smile, you are on candid camera” or living through Jodi Picoults book of Small Great Things where an African American nurse was falsely accused of killing a child of a Caucasian couple. I think the realisation of what happened, the response of my boss and practice manager to the incident has actually just dawned on me and actually made me upset and very angry. I thought I would channel these feelings and educate and hopefully look forward to going to work tomorrow and a future where my chocolate flavoured son won’t have to deal with this as his norm.
Thanks for reading till the end, as I try and calm down and come up with a plan of what to do about this tommorow.
Mental health affects a lot of us in the health profession as previously highlighted in my blog post about doctor suicide. Wear your odd socks today to show your support and have a conversation about how vulnerable we all are…
I woke up with the most excruciating pain and large volume, sudden onset vomiting. The time was probably a little before midnight as I staggered to my parents’ bedroom to let mum know I wasn’t feeling all too well. As mum is a sympathetic vomiter, i.e vomits when she sees anyone else’s vomit, she kindly advised me to try and small sips of water and she would try to get the floors clean. I had to sit in the lounge room, covered with a little blanket as I tried to deduce what could have made me so violently unwell. I recalled the day well. I had been to school and been home without anything eventful. Dinner was a non-event either and the following day was another school day. Every small sip of water or milk seemed to increase the pain in my tummy and before long I was vomiting again. Mum, although not a doctor, diagnosed a simple case of gastro and told me to try and sleep it off.
After a lot more vomits, the spilled contents gradually changed from food to bilious green and eventually coffee grounds colour with flecks of blood. Only on seeing the blood did mum think it wasn’t’ “gala” (gastrointestinal imbalance) and thought best we presented to the hospital. By now it had been a few hours of ongoing vomiting with me feeling completely weak and unable to walk. We quickly drove to Gaborone Private hospital, as I cried in the back seat, urging her to drive through red lights as the pain was most excruciating. On arrival, almost passing out from the pain, I was immediately sent off for surgery to manage a bleeding peptic ulcer. I remember telling the doctor in charge how much I loved him for the morphine and anti-vomiting medication he had administered.
I was 15 years old at the time and used to having severe debilitating period pains that would often make me miss a few days of school each month. I had had my period the day prior to being unwell, and not trying to miss school again, had inadvertently taken an overdose of ibuprofen to manage the pain and had caused myself to have a bleeding ulcer. My mum and I thought that severe period pains were “normal” aspect of being female and even on post-op follow up with my GP I was informed that having excruciating period pains was an accepted part of being a female.
It wasn’t until being a medical student and having ongoing issues that I was eventually diagnosed with endometriosis. On reflection, I was able to realise that I had suffered and almost died from self-medication of this condition without ever having a diagnosis. I was made to feel that, like labour pains, there is a lot of discomfort that comes with being a female when in fact this is very far from “normal”.
Let my lived experience act as a cautionary tale that not all period pain is created the same. So educate yourself about the condition, there is plenty of information on reputable medical sites and present to your doctor if you have any suspicions that you might have this condition. Like Emma the yellow wiggle let those of us who are 1in 10 illustrate that endometriosis can be managed to some extent and, although it has no cure, it doesn’t have to define who you are.
As a mum to an active hyperactive toddler, play is always part of our day somehow. But with working full time, having 2 side hustles- Losika Writes and home, running a household etc, sometimes one wishes that there were more hours to the day let alone dedicate some play time. So I am proud to say, I recently made time to play with my boys and we sure had a great time. I have promised myself to try and do this weekly at the minimum and so far have been going well. I thought I would share some crazy pictures we took on our escapade.
Losika Writes (www.losikawrites.com) – Bilingual children’s picture books- get your own copy and support small business
Some hectic days at work, especially those filled with patients with mental health illnesses, challenging social situations and complex medical needs, can lead me to question why I do this as a career. I have already discussed other jobs I occasionally fantasize about doing on one of my older blogs ( The ultimate dream job…), but sometimes it’s about recollecting the multiple steps I took to get me where I am today.
So high school finished, and I guess I could say I had done okay. At that point, all I wanted to do was computer science as I felt computers were the future. I had just completed my IGCE examinations which included a project where I computerized my grandfather’s store inventory management and as I submitted my floppy disc for assessment, I thought that my career decision was well and truly settled. Given high school ended in early December and the results were published end of January the following year, I had a restless Christmas break fielding questions from family and friends regularly about what the next step was. To kill time and avoid the interrogation, I spent a lot of my time trying to distract myself from the questions by watching a whole lot of television.
I am a self-confessed television addict and I am happy to watch anything and everything on screen. That summer, I got myself addicted to a show called Forensic detectives on Discovery channel and with every passing day convinced myself that I should become one of the forensic pathologists. I persuaded my mother to organize an interview with a forensic pathologist locally so I could decide whether that was a career to pursue and the nice gentleman just burst my bubble. He could not understand why I would be interested in the field and basically said it was not as exciting as it was made out to be on the show I had been watching. “You are just a glorified police officer” were his exact words as I left his office dismayed.
As university approached, I figured I might as well apply to study medicine and see how I would go during my “pre-medical term”. Unfortunately, the pre-med term was basically all the sciences and mathematics and didn’t provide much in terms of taste of medicine. After 12 months of the course, however, all that changed as we were placed on a 2-week job experience placement at our local hospital where I fell in love with medicine in general. A friend and I decided to extend our placement by a whole month and by the end of it we were being treated as junior doctors. We were suturing stab wounds, managing fractures and assisting in theatre which was all amazing.
I left that placement inspired to do medicine and with that in mind worked hard through medical school and fellowship training to get to where I am today as a family physician. Choosing a speciality in medicine also threatened to cause some stress but as I wanted to be a general doctor who could still do obstetrics and eventually palliative medicine etc on the side, being a family physician was a no-brainer. So, when I hear another sad story about people, their social situations or whatever it might be they attend me to help with, I find myself very privileged to help in whatever tiny way. I hope to continue practising in this field that continues to ignite my passion regularly. I must admit that “leaving patients at work” is something I will forever grapple with but with time, and hectic days included, I can say I really do love my career.
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 2 Corinthians 9:6
Wherever I have lived, there has always been something growing in the backyard or windowsill and over the years mum has even commented that I could be a model of the “backyard garden revolution” that was apparently meant to boom in Botswana in previous years. I have had bumper crops in everything that I have sown and learnt a lot of myself as I have tendered to the garden.
The main principles for me in having a successful garden include the following: –
• Patience- you don’t plant seeds today and expect to reap a bumper crop the next day, let alone next week. It takes a lot of patience, making mistakes and hopefully learning from them to finally appreciate the product at the end of the usually very long journey.
• Faith- to put a seed underground, water it daily, provide just the right amount of fertilizer, sunshine etc, there is faith that even though it might not be apparent for weeks, there is a positive change that is occurring with each day and in time, our labour will come to bear fruit. There is a belief in that, although you cannot actually see the seed underground, something magical is occurring which will one-day break through the sand barrier and show you what it has been working on
• Protection- for each little seed to become seedling which will grow to become a plant and eventually a big tree, there will always be some obstacles that they have to be protected from. This may include weeds, animal pests etc that will need to be removed from the environment for our seedlings to flourish
• Not all seeds that are planted, grow
• Love- something that looks dead as typically most seeds look, can with the right environment and love, become something truly beautiful
I have recently harvested a bumper crop from my little vegetable patch and as I was sorting everything out, ready for freezing as there was too much to be eaten on the day, I realized that I had truly been abundantly blessed. Not only from my vegetable patch but for my life in general and for that, I ALWAYS give thanks.
As we start a new season, may we all sow into our lives generously, have the patience to tend to ourselves, know that with faith everything is possible, love ourselves and protect ourselves from all those that may be pests or weeds in our lives. In time, we will reap generously.
Thank you for those who have been there since the beginning and have stuck around the crazy me, those who have recently come to join the crew and may all our plants bear lots of fruit in the new year. And may all of us be thankful.
Much love and season’s greetings
*Excuse me as I show off some of my beautiful produce
So I can officially join the mothers club “we have potty trained toddlers”… wooohooooo! Mr L has made me a proud mommy as 3 weeks of training has resulted in a confident user of the potty for both number 1s and 2s. Although there were initial teething issues as childcare always seemed to undo all our hard work on the days he was there, we are now singing the same song.
Now the problem is that, although we are now great with the potty, we are unable to use an adult toilet without the potty seat. This makes negotiating the world difficult as I am still to find a portable potty seat I might be able to fit into a small bag for those times nature calls whilst out shopping for example. Also, how do people deal with toddlers who need to pee whilst in the middle of the freeway?
Regardless we celebrate each milestone and I am happy with the progress so far.
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