Thursday, December 22, 2011


Tradition has it that the famous Greek scholar Archimedes used this exclamation (which in Greek means, “I have found it!”) when he accidentally discovered how you could calculate the volume of an irregular object. It is said that as he walking into a bath he noticed that the level of the water rose according to how much of his body he submerged. The coin clicked! If he could then take that same amount of water and put it into a measurable container then he can know the volume of his body—and indeed of any irregular object. Eureka!

Well, a few days ago I also shouted “Eureka!” upon discovering that I grow a new nail every three months. How did I make this discovery?

On 20th September I participated in the Zambian presidential and parliamentary elections. After voting, to make sure I do not come back to vote again, one of the election officials painted my finger with indelible ink. I noticed that every month, the position of this ink moved about a third downwards. Finally, two days ago, i.e. 20th December, I noticed that the mark had reached the tip of my finger.  Eureka!

Three years ago, when we had our previous presidential and parliamentary election, I made a similar observation and found that exactly three months after the election the indelible ink had reached the tip of my finger. Like Mary the mother of Jesus, I treasured up all these things and pondered them in my heart. However, this time I have confirmed this and, therefore, could not keep quiet.

Not wanting to share ignorance in the name of knowledge, I Googled “How long does a nail take to grow”. The answers I got were between four and six months for fingernails and much longer for toenails. By implication, I am very healthy. This is on the assumption that the older you grow the slower the renewing process, until the degenerating process overtakes it. At the age of fifty, therefore, that is a very pleasant and reassuring discovery!

It is amazing how many things take place in our body while we are unconscious of them. Our bodies literally renew themselves while we go about our business. I am sure if I were to study a little more of this, I may discover that the “me” that was born 50 years ago is not the “me” that exists today. All the cells that made up baby Conrad have since passed on and a totally different Conrad exists today. That is, of course, if all I am comprised of is matter. Thankfully, I am a spiritual being. This body is simply a tent in which I live. But what a wonderful tent!

Evolutionists will probably tell us that aeons ago our fore-parents realised that if they did not renew themselves they would die and hence they kick-started this renewal exercise within the body in order to live longer. The whole thing is outrageous and comical!

The truth is that God made us in such a marvellous way that while we are busy with our usual errands, the body would be renewing itself, with old cells giving way to new cells. No wonder the Psalmist exclaimed, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well” (Psalm 139:14). I guess that is simply a more godly way of saying, “Eureka!”

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