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The Pronunciation

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

When Simeon, the Essenes’ second-ranking  priest  who also went by the titles “Angel Gabriel” and “Angel of the Lord” (“The Lord” being the Zadok priest Zechariah) made his ruling,  he was in line with Essene protocol obligated to deliver it in person first to Mary (being the first respondent as she was a woman)  and then to Joseph.


     In the gospels, this direct communication is spun as a dream-communication by a spirit-angel when that was far from what actually transpired.  It all has to do with what was known as the pesher code – the cryptic Essene method of telling a story with two or several layers of meaning, with the surface meaning meant for general consumption and the underlying meaning meant for initiates – those who were part of the inner sanctum of the Essene order.


     The gospels say when Gabriel visited Mary, her “kinswoman” Elizabeth was sixth months pregnant (LUKE 1:36).   We have already  established that Elizabeth  was Mary’s aunt, being the elder sister of her late mother Anna. Since  Mary got pregnant toward the end of June, it meant Elizabeth’s baby, the future John the Baptist, was scheduled to be born in September in perfect conformity with dynastic procreational rules. Mary obviously was distraught that whilst her aunt’s child would be born in the stipulated month, hers would be born way off the mark. She had an even greater worry: she was liable to execution by stoning as her transgression with Joseph effectively amounted to adultery.    

OF GALILEE AND NAZARETH
When Simeon presented himself to Mary to deliver the verdict in June/July 8 BC, he did so as the second highest-ranking Essene as well as a representative of Zechariah, the highest ranking Essene who also went by the titles “Archangel Michael” and “Lord God”. The place at which Simeon met Mary was “the city of Nazareth in the Galilee” LUKE 1:26). To those unfamiliar with the pesher code, what immediately springs to mind is Galilee the northernmost province of Palestine and the town of Nazareth where Jesus is said to have grown up. Sorry folks, but you couldn’t be more wrong: this includes every pastor who is ministering today!


     To begin with, there was no town called Nazareth in gospel times. The Romans, who were the lords of the realm at the time, kept rather comprehensive maps of every corner of their empire and there isn’t a single one place on their map of the Palestine of the day that was called Nazareth. The Nazareth of today is a classic case of myth turning to fact by deliberate design and for purposes purely of profit – to cash in on the tourist allure.  So what Nazareth was Luke talking about?


     The term Nazareth was used for various places in the Judean wilderness (the broader habitation of the Essenes, see accompanying map).  The Judean wilderness had three principal settlements. They were Qumran, the HQ, Ain Feshkha, and Mazin. All three settlements were along the west coast of the Dead Sea and were exactly three kilometers apart. The other significant Essene settlements in the Judean wilderness were  Mird and Mar Saba, about 10 to 12 km southwest of Qumran. It is important that you keep these names in mind as  I shall be referring to them time and again.  


     According to the Dead Sea Scrolls, every place in the Judean wilderness where Nazarites resided was referred to as Nazareth. These were the areas between Mar Saba and Mird on the one hand and Ain Feshkha  on the other.  The Nazarites were Essenes who were married but abstained from sex for varying lengths of time from 100 days downwards. They included men and women as well as Jews and Gentiles. The chief Nazarite was always the Davidic heir. In 8 BC, this was Joseph. The term Nazareth stems from the Hebrew term “Netzer’, meaning “branch” or “shoot”. The future Messiah of  Israel was called the “Branch of David” (IASIAH 11).

Clearly therefore, since Joseph, the representative of the  Messianic line,  was the head of the Nazarites, it was fitting that  all the places where the Nazarites converged be named Nazareth as a tribute to the Davidic  heir.


     The Essenes were very specific in their use of language. When they said, “City of Nazareth”, they meant one particular quarter at Ain Feshkha  set aside for Gentile and female Nazarites. At the time Mary fell pregnant, she was a Nazarite and so was based at Ain Feshkha. It was at Ain Feshkha that Simeon met Mary.  


    As for “Galilee”, this again is pesher language at play here.  The Essenes had key representatives in regions of Palestine they called bishops. When, say, the Bishop of Galilee was  visiting a particular place in the Judean wilderness, it was said he had “brought Galilee with him”. For as long as he was around that particular place, it was provisionally called Galilee in his honour.  Thus when Simeon went to see Mary at Ain Feshkha/Nazareth, the Bishop of Galilee was also in attendance since Mary’s official place of domicile was Galilee. Ain Feshkha/Nazareth was accordingly referred to as “the Galilee” – with the  definite article “the” as per the literal translation – at  that particular point in time.  This system of naming we glean from the Dead Sea Scrolls.

SIMEON BRIEFS MARY
The first thing Simeon said to Mary was to recognise her as Joseph’s wife despite what had transpired. She would not be divorced and the child she was carrying would not be denounced  as a bastard child but as a procedurally sired child of Joseph. Simeon even prophetically pronounced a titular name for the begotten child. He was to be called Yeshua (Jesus in Greek), which is Joshua in English.  The name not only was reminiscent of  Joshua, the  great Israel general who had succeeded Moses and led the Israelites into the promised land of Canaan, as Palestine was previously called, but it also honoured  Yeshua III, the late grandfather of Mary.  The name Jesus was therefore meant as much to honour a great Jewish liberator  as to appease Mary.


     Simeon proceeded to say that the Essene High Priest Zechariah (the “Lord God” in the gospels, one of his titles in the Essene  hierarchy) had pronounced that Jesus would be recognised as the new David after Joseph had passed on. Thus to the High Priest and indeed to the Essene movement, Jesus was not  illegitimate but the  rightful heir to his father Joseph’s inheritance. As such, baby Jesus was going to be called the Son of the Most High. In today’s parlance, the “Most High” is rendered  “His Royal Highness”, which simply means Crown Prince. As the Davidic heir, Joseph was the Most High. Since Jesus would be next in the line of succession, he would be called Son of  the Most High.


     All this was like music to Mary’s ears. The Essenes regarded women as potential seducers (I refer the reader to Dead Sea Scroll No. 4Q184 in this regard). Therefore, Mary’s pregnancy, technically a fornication pregnancy (hence the reference to herself as of “low estate”, LUKE 1:48),  was not the fault of Joseph as such but hers. Ordinarily, she would have been delivered to a mob for stoning, but since her pregnancy had now been legitimised and the unborn child was recognised as the son of the Holy Spirit, the  Essene  title of  Joseph, she was excused from such a fate.


    The unborn Jesus was also given another title. He was to be called the Jacob, the same title his grandfather Jacob-Heli had carried. Before a Davidic heir became the David, he first had to be the Jacob. Presently, Joseph was the David and so his heir would be the Jacob. It was only when Joseph died that Jesus would become the David. The emphasis on the title of Jacob by Simeon demonstrated that the Essenes had at this juncture reconciled with King Herod, at least officially. If you recall, Jacob-Heli was to be a third-ranking King in the post-Roman global empire ruled by King Herod, in which he would be  allotted the Western world. So what Simon was saying was that this arrangement still stood and Jesus as a descendent of Jacob-Heli  would rule not as King of global Israel but as King of  the Western division of global Israel (the House of Jacob as per LUKE 1:33).   Modern-day Christians are scarcely aware of the labyrinth of power politics Jesus had to navigate in first century Palestine.


     Mary was not exactly sure as to how she would be received by the wider Essene community as her unborn child was technically illegitimate. Simeon set her at ease when he declared to her that he would ensure he got the Essene community to understand that Jesus was the “Son of God”. All Essenes called themselves Sons of God, which simply meant they served at the pleasure of High Priest Zechariah, the “Lord God” as per one of his titles as the highest ranking Essene.  As I made clear at some stage, Essenes used the term god very loosely: it seldom had the “Heavenly” connotation it has today.

JOSEPH’S TURN
Next, Simeon called on Joseph. Matthew  seems to characterise Joseph as “righteous” or a “just man” (MATTHEW 1:19), meaning an above-board person. Once again, this is symptomatic of the usual tendency to wrong translation that we often encounter in the scriptures. The term “Righteous” or “Just” was a Davidic title. All Davidic Crown Princes were addressed as “the Just” or “the Righteous”, similar to the way we address judges, such as “Justice Key Dingake”. In the first century, this title was held by Joseph, Jesus, Jesus’s brother James, and finally Jesus Jr, who was best-known as Jesus Justus.  Of the four, it was James who was best-associated with the title: almost all extra-biblical accounts of the day refer to him as James the Just.   


     Simeon informed Joseph that he had ratified Mary’s pregnancy as legal. The child she was carrying must therefore be recognised as his  (“child of the Holy Spirit” as per the gospels) and procedurally conceived. There was therefore no need to divorce Mary quietly as he had initially pondered. Accordingly, Joseph was to proceed with the first marriage ceremony, due in September. Ordinarily, there would have been a second and final marriage in March 7 BC but since Mary had hastily become pregnant, Joseph was to regard the first marriage ceremony as the second and final one. Nonetheless, he was with immediate effect barred from indulging in  sexual relations with Mary as per Essene dynastic  rules. The next time conjugation would be allowed was when time was ripe for him to sire another child. This would be in 5 BC if  Mary’s firstborn turned out to be a girl or 2 BC if it was indeed a boy – that is, a 3-year-wait in the case of a girl and a 6-year-wait in the case of a boy as per Essene dynastic procreational rules.    


     Joseph fully heeded Simeon’s pronouncement, which is commonly referred to as the Annunciation. Meanwhile, Mary went to stay with her aunt Elizabeth at Ain Feshkha. Since Zechariah the “Lord”, Elizabeth’s husband,  was senior to Joseph in the Essene hierarchy, Mary was effectively a maid to Elizabeth (LUKE 1:38). Elizabeth was already six months pregnant at the time. She was “heavy with child” and therefore it was fitting that she be tended to by Mary, who was only one month pregnant.  Mary served Elizabeth not as an ordinary maid but as the supervising  maid.


     Mary stayed with Elizabeth for approximately three months (LUKE 1:56), from mid-July to mid-September. Elizabeth gave birth to John in September 8 BC. At the same time, Mary and Joseph had to wed in September,  which was apt: Mary  was now three months pregnant and the odds of a miscarriage were very low. The wedding did take place and according to Essene dynastic rules it was irrevocable: there would be no divorce whatsoever.


Mary stayed with Joseph for three months only, that is, up to December 8 BC. All along, she was still a titular virgin even though she was pregnant. In December, she ceased to be a titular virgin, being six months pregnant. At this juncture, she was promoted to Mother and was obligated to move to the Queen’s House at Qumran. The reasons were two-fold. First, as Mother Superior, she had to oversee the destitute women as well as orphans and illegitimate children who were housed there. This was the role of the potential Davidic Queen, which Mary had become after her final marriage to Joseph.  Second, the High Priest of the Jerusalem Temple, Simon Boethus, had overruled Simeon and  pronounced that Mary’s child be born not in a conventional home but in the Queens’s House at Qumran. This was because in the view of the Temple establishment, the child she was carrying was illegitimate and had to be raised in a setting befitting of such an ignoble conception.    


    The Queen’s  House was also  known as the Manger. Its other name was Bethlehem of Judea!  
 
NEXT WEEK: JESUS’S TWO BIRTHS
 

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Appendicitis: Recognising the Signs

29th March 2022

Many a times I get clients casually walking into my room and requesting to be checked for “appendix”.  Few questions down the line, it is clear they are unaware of where the appendix is or what to expect when one does have it (appendicitis). Jokingly (or maybe not) I would tell them they would possibly not be having appendicitis and laughing as hard as they are doing. On the other hand, I would be impressed that at least they know and acknowledge that appendicitis is a serious thing that they should be worried about.

So, what is Appendicitis?

Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix; a thin, finger-like pouch attached to the large intestine on the lower right side of the abdomen. Often the inflammation can be as a result of blockage either by the faecal matter, a foreign body, infection, trauma or a tumour. Appendicitis is generally acute, with symptoms coming on over the course of a day and becoming severe rapidly. Chronic appendicitis can also occur, though rarely. In chronic cases, symptoms are less severe and can last for days, weeks, or even months. 

Acute appendicitis is a medical emergency that almost always ends up in the operating theatre. Though the appendix is locally referred to as “lela la sukiri”, no one knows its exact role and it definitely does not have anything to do with sugar metabolism. Appendicitis can strike at any age, but it is mostly common from the teen years to the 30s.

Signs to look out for

If you have any of the following symptoms, go and see a Doctor immediately! Timely diagnosis and treatment are vital in acute appendicitis;

Sudden pain that starts around the navel and shifts to the lower right abdomen within hours

The pain becomes constant and increases in severity (or comes back despite painkillers)

The pain worsens on coughing, sneezing, laughing, walking or deep breaths

Loss of appetite

Nausea and vomiting

Fever

Constipation or diarrhoea

Abdominal bloating/fullness

Diagnosis

The doctor often asks questions regarding the symptoms and the patient’s medical history. This will be followed up by a physical examination in which the Doctor presses on the abdomen to check for any tenderness, and the location of the pain. With acute appendicitis, pressing on and letting go of the right lower abdomen usually elicits an excruciatingly unbearable pain. Several tests may be ordered to determine especially the severity of the illness and to rule out other causes of abdominal pain. The tests may conditions include: blood tests, a pregnancy test, urinalysis, abdominal  “How do ultrasound scans work?” ultrasound (scan), CT scan or MRI Scan.

Treatment

The gold standard treatment of acute appendicitis is surgical removal of the appendix known as appendectomy. Luckily, a person can live just fine without an appendix! Surgical options include laparoscopy or open surgery and the type will be decided on by the Surgeon after assessing the patient’s condition. Painkillers and antibiotics are also given intravenously usually before, during and after the surgery.

Complications

Appendicitis can cause serious complications such as;

Appendicular mass/abscessIf the appendix is inflamed or bursts, one may develop a pocket of pus around it known as an abscess. In most cases, the abscess will be treated with antibiotics and drained first by placing a tube through one’s abdominal wall into the abscess. The tube may be left in place for a few hours or days while the infection is clearing up but ultimately one would still have surgery to remove the appendix.

Peritonitis – without treatment, the appendix can rupture/burst. The risk of this rises 48–72 hours after symptoms start. A ruptured appendix spreads the infection throughout the abdomen (peritonitis). This is life threatening and requires immediate surgery to remove the appendix and clean the abdominal cavity.

Death – The complications of appendicitis (and appendectomy) can be life threatening, only if the diagnosis has been missed and no proper treatment has been given on time. This is rare though with the evolved medical care.

If you need further advice or treatment please call 4924730, email  HYPERLINK “mailto:info@themedicscentre.co.bw” info@themedicscentre.co.bw or visit www.themedisccentre.co.bw

Antoinette Boima, MBBS, BMedSci, PgDip HIV/AIDS, Cert Aesth Med is the Managing Director of The Medics Centre in Palapye.

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A degree of common sense

7th February 2022

Here’s a news item from last month you may have missed. In December 2021 the University of Staffordshire announced it would be offered a degree course in pantomime! Yes, that’s right, a degree in popular festive entertainment, the Christmas panto.

We used to have one here, put on by the Capitol Players, though it seems to have fallen away in recent times, but the spectacle is still alive and well in the UK, both in local ad-dram (amateur dramatic ) societies and on the London stage and most of the major cities, these latter productions usually featuring at least one big-draw name from the world of show business with ticket prices commensurate with the star’s salary.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the pantomime format, it consists of a raucous mixture of songs and comedy all based around a well-known fairy or folk tale. Aladdin and His Magic Lamp, Cinderella, Jack & The Beanstalk & Dick Whittington are perennial favourites but any well-known tall tale goes. There is no set script, unlike a play, and storyline is just a peg to hang a coat of contemporary, often bawdy, gags on, in what should be a rollicking production of cross dressing – there has to be at least one pantomime dame, played by a man and always a figure of fun, and a Principal Boy, ostensibly the male lead, yet played by an attractive young woman.

As an art form it can trace its roots back to 16th century Italy and the Commedia Del’Arte which used a mélange of music, dance, acrobatics along with a cast of comic stock characters so it has a long and proud theatrical tradition but you have to wonder, does that really qualify it as a suitable subject for a university? Further, what use might any degree be that can be acquired in a single year? And last but not least, how much standing does any degree have which comes from a jumped-up polytechnic, granted university status along with many of its ilk back in 1992, for reasons best known to the government of the time? Even more worrying are the stated aims of the course.

Staffordshire University claims it is a world first and the masters course is aimed at people working inside as well as outside the industry. Students on the course, due to start in September 2022, will get practical training in the art form as well as research the discipline.

“We want to see how far we can take this,” Associate Professor of Acting and Directing Robert Marsden said. The role of pantomime in the 21st Century was also going to be examined, he said, “particularly post Me Too and Black Lives Matter”. Questions including “how do we address the gender issues, how do we tell the story of Aladdin in 2021, how do we get that balance of male/female roles?” will be asked, Prof Marsden added.

Eek! Sounds like Prof. Marsden wants to rob it of both its history and its comedic aspects – well, good luck with that! Of course that isn’t the only bizarre, obscure and frankly time and money-wasting degree course available. Staying with the performing arts there’s Contemporary Circus and Physical Performance at Bath Spa University. Sounds like fun but why on earth would a circus performer need a university degree?

Or how about a Surf Science and Technology degree at Cornwall College (part of the University of Plymouth). Where the one thing you don’t learn is….how to surf!

Then there is a  degree in Floral Design at University Centre Myerscough. No, I hadn’t heard of it either – turns out it’s a college of further education in Preston, a town that in my experience fits the old joke of ‘I went there once…..It was closed’ to a ‘T’!

Another handy (pun intended) art is that of Hand Embroidery BA (Hons), offered at the University for the Creative Arts. Or you could waste away sorry, while away, your time on a course in Animal Behaviour and Psychology. This degree at the University of Chester teaches you about the way animals think and feel. Cockroaches have personalities according to the subject specs– you couldn’t make it up.

Happily all these educational institutes may have to look to their laurels and try to justify their very existence in the near future. In plans announced this week, universities could face fines of up to £500,000 (P750m), be stripped of their right to take student loans or effectively shut down if they cannot get 60 per cent of students into a professional job under a crackdown on ‘Mickey Mouse’ courses. Further, at least 80 per cent of students should not drop out after the first year, and 75 per cent should graduate.

The rules, published by the Office for Students (OfS), aim to eliminate ‘low-quality’ courses by setting new standards & requiring courses to improve their rating in the TEF, the official universities ratings system. Universities not meeting the new standards will not be able to charge full annual fees of £9,250. Unconventional courses that could fall victim to the new rules could include the University of Sunderland’s BA in Fashion Journalism, where students learn essential’ skills such as catwalk reporting and the history of Chanel.  They have only a 40 per cent chance of entering highly skilled work 15 months after leaving.

At University College Birmingham, BSC Bakery and Patisserie Technology students – who learn how to ‘make artisan bread’ – have a 15 per cent chance of a professional job within 15 months. Universities minister Michelle Donelan welcomed the move, saying ‘When students go to university, they do so in the pursuit of a life-changing education, one which helps pave their path towards a highly skilled career. Any university that fails to match this ambition must be held to account.’

OfS found that at 25 universities, fewer than half of students find professional work within 15 months.  Business and management courses at the University of Bedfordshire (14.8 per cent) were among the least likely to lead to graduate-level jobs.  Asked to comment, the University of Sunderland said it always looked ‘to find ways to improve outcomes’; University College Birmingham said data on graduates and definition of ‘professional work’ was limited. I’ll bet it is! As the saying goes, ’what the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t grieve over’. What a pantomime!

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Why regular health checks are important!

7th February 2022

With the world still reeling from the negative impact of the Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19), and the latest Omicron variant (which is responsible for the ongoing global forth wave) on everyone’s lips, we should not forget and neglect other aspects of our health.

While anyone can get infected with corona virus and become seriously ill or die at any age, studies continue to show that people aged 60 years and above, and those with underlying medical conditions like hypertension, heart and lung problems, diabetes, obesity, cancers, or mental illness are at a higher risk of developing serious illness or dying from covid-19.

It is a good habit to visit a doctor regularly, even if you feel healthy. Regular health checks can help identify any early signs of health issues or assess your risk of future illness hence prompting one to take charge and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and other non-communicable diseases (even communicable) can often be picked up in their early stages, when chances for effective treatment are high.

During a health check, your doctor will take a thorough history from you regarding your medical history, your family’s history of disease, your social life and habits, including your diet, physical activity, alcohol use, smoking and drug intake. S/he will examine you including measuring your weight, blood pressure, feeling your body organs and listening to your heart and lungs amongst the rest. Depending on the assessment, your doctor will notify you how often you need to have a health check. If you have a high risk of a particular health condition, your doctor may recommend more frequent health checks from an early age.

Diet – a healthy diet improves one’s general health and wellbeing. It is recommended that we have at least two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables daily. Physical activity – regular physical activity has significant health benefits on one’s body, mind & soul. It contributes to preventing and managing non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers and diabetes, reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, enhances thinking, learning, and judgment skills and improves overall well-being. According to the world health organisation (WHO), people who are insufficiently active have a 20% to 30% increased risk of death compared to people who are sufficiently active. Aim for 30 minutes to an hour of moderate physical activity at least four days in a week. Examples of moderate physical activity include brisk walking, gentle swimming and social tennis.

Weight – maintaining a healthy weight range helps in preventing long-term complications like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and arthritis. It is also vital for one’s mental wellbeing and keeping up with normal activities of daily living. Ask your doctor to check your body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference annually. If you are at a higher risk, you should have your weight checked more frequently and a stern management plan in place.

Alcohol – as per WHO reports, alcohol consumption contributes to 3 million deaths each year globally as well as to the disabilities and poor health of millions of people. Healthy drinking entails taking no more than two standard drinks per drinking day with at least two alcohol-free days in a week.

Smoking –Nicotine contained in tobacco is highly addictive and tobacco use is a major risk factor for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, many different types of cancer, and many other debilitating health conditions. Every year, at least a whopping 8 million people succumb from tobacco use worldwide. Tobacco can also be deadly for non-smokers through second-hand smoke exposure. It is not ‘fashionable’ if it is going to cost you and your loved ones lives! If you are currently smoking, talk to your doctor and get help in quitting as soon as possible to reduce the harm.

Blood pressure: Hypertension is a serious medical condition and can increase the risk of heart, brain, kidney and other diseases. It is a major cause of premature death worldwide, with upwards of 1 in 4 men and 1 in 5 women – over a billion people – having the condition. Have your blood pressure checked annually if it is normal, you are aged under 40 and there is no family history of hypertension. You might need to have it checked more frequently if you are over 40, your blood pressure is on the high side, or you have a personal or family history of high blood pressure, stroke or heart attack. Your doctor will be there to guide you.

Dental care – eating a low-sugar diet and cleaning and flossing the teeth regularly can reduce one’s risk of tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss. Visit a dentist every six months for a dental examination and professional cleaning, or more frequently as per your dentist’s advice.
Blood tests – annual to five-yearly blood tests may be done to further assess or confirm risk of disease. These may include blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, kidney function, liver function, tumour markers, among other things. They may be done frequently if there is already an existing medical condition.

Cancer screening – various screening techniques can be done to detect different cancers in their early or pre-cancer stages. These include; skin inspections for any suspicious moles/spots, two-yearly mammograms for those at risk of developing breast cancer, Pap smear or the new Cervical Screening Test (CST) every five years, stool tests and colonoscopy (every five years) for those at most risk of bowel cancer, prostate cancer screening for those at risk (over 45 years of age, family history of cancers etc.). Discuss appropriate tests with your doctor.

Vaccinations – You should discuss with your doctor about the necessary routine immunisation, in particular; the Covid-19 vaccines, an annual flu shot, a five-yearly pneumococcal vaccine if you have never had one or you are immunocompromised and any other boosters that you might need.

If you need further advice or treatment please call 4924730, email HYPERLINK “mailto:info@themedicscentre.co.bw” info@themedicscentre.co.bw or visit www.themedisccentre.co.bw

Antoinette Boima, MBBS, BMedSci, PgDip HIV/AIDS, Cert Aesth Med is the Managing Director of The Medics Centre in Palapye.

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