Colors of memory
At the kind invitation of Professor Stępkowski, I would like to share a few thoughts in the blog under the attractiv title of “Cheerful Seniors”. At the sound of the word “cheerful” I am induced into a feeling of bliss.
When I was a student, my favorite occupation was reading books from different areas which have nothing in common. In this way, I came across a council how to deal with the mind so as not to waste a single moment of its activity. It came to my mind how my Teacher of Polish literature in primary school was amazed that I, the boy from the village, can talk about the events read in polish national epos “Pan Tadeusz”. The council and that memory merged, and I krew what to do on the field of not wasting even one blink of mind. So, waiting to get “baked beans” as common student meal at that time, I began to memorize the verses of our polish national epos. But the most fruitful place of doing this job, were Polish overcrowded trains and buses in the seventies of last century. Coming home for breaks from studies, I devoured, without much effort, verse by verse. So going back to study I enjoyed reciting for myself learned verses. What a joy it was!
Recently I was watching on You Tube great Daniel Barenboim conducting all nine Beethoven symfonies and there was no score before his eyes. All from memory! Nice to have something in common with this Great Musician and Conductor!
Ten years ago I had the privilage to work in the town of Mwanza in Tanzania, right on Lake Victoria. In its neighbourhood lies the village of Bujora. There in the sixties of the last century, a missionary priest from Canada, called by the local people Padre Klementi, created a museum documenting the history, customs, rituals, life in peacetime and during wars of the tribe called Wasukuma. When I visited this place and museum, my attention was drawn to the board showing the line of the kings of the tribe starting approximately 1570! I could not believe it! How is this possible? They did not know how to write! Guide explained that the one who began his reign, had an obligation to sing “song of Enthronement”. In its content he had to sing the names and achievements of his predecessors. And so from king to king! Let us praise oral tradition!
When the missionaries came to the area, in 1879 The first books were introduced. Then in 1950’s Padre Klementi started working among this tribe and created a wonderful museum.
A few years ago I read the news that in Japan lives a man one hundred year old, and each new year of life he begins learning a new foreign language. Some curios people asked him why he does that. He answerd, if I remember well, for the mind not to get aged.
Summarizing all of this I would say ” gray cells” love the color of memory!
Padre Antoni (from the same clan as Padre Klementi)
Fr Antoni Markowski
Society of Missionaries of Africa
Journal Club 2014.06.26
Bilingualism is protective against dementia
International team of researchers led by Morris Freedman on 18th of May 2014 published in the Behavioural Neurology findings concerning the influence of the bilingualism on the age of onset of dementia. They conducted research in Toronto and Montreal (Canada) and in Hayderabad (India). The research confirmed prior reports on the protective influence of the bilingualism and demonstrated, that in each of cities group of bilingual people later fell ill with dementia. They also stated that then more languages the patients had used the protective effect was stronger. The long-term parallel use of several languages is probably building so-called cognitive reserve in the brain compensating for losses of efficiency accompanying the ageing process of the brain.