A Ugandan student’s passion for Chinese acupuncture is matched only by her talent for singing
WHAT is first striking when meeting Deliah Nalukwago are her smile and presence. At only 27-yearsold, the young student of clinical acupuncture - who also pursues an artistic career on the side - already shows the confidence of a great master. She sat down with
to talk about her atypical and inspiring story. It all began in 1998 in a doctor’s office in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. Then eight-year-old Nalukwago observed with great attention the gestures of Dr. Wen, who was inserting, with meticulous attention, strange needles in the skin of her mother, who suffered from neuropathic pain. No treatment had been effective until then, but the foreign technique of the Chinese practitioner seemed to have an unexpected effect: for the following month, her mother felt re-energized.
Since then, the word “medicine” has been closely associated with “China” in the mind of young Nalukwago. This thought association finally became a tangible reality in 2009, when Nalukwago received a scholarship to study at the prestigious Beijing University of Chinese Medicine. On the advice of Dr. Wen, who in the meantime had become her mentor, she chose to begin with a classical medicine curriculum, and then move on to traditional Chinese medicine.
“Western medicine seeks primarily to cure, whereas Chinese medicine is more preventive in nature. This is a major difference, but the two complement each other,” explained Nalukwago. “In the former, however, side effects, dosage and interaction between different drugs must be taken into account. Traditional Chinese medicine, and acupuncture in particular, has none of this. While we must take care to ensure that needles are sterilized, there is no pain and there are no side effects.”