a nod to new year

A nod to the new year indeed! Alas am not the only one not looking forward to any resolutions this coming year. I’ll get up to each day as it comes, and do what I can without undue pressure – and this starts with my blog! No more routine – been there for a whole year and that should be fine for the new year!


I have no way of knowing how people really feel, but the vast majority of those I meet couldn’t be nicer. Every once in a while someone barks at me. My New Year’s resolution is not to bark back. – Tucker Carlson


And suns grow meek, and the meek suns grow brief, and the year smiles as it draws near its death. – William C. Bryant


I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something. – Neil Gaiman


3 can’t fail ny resolution alternatives – funny, yet sensible and realistic too.

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How to beat the stigma of mental illness

So much goes on, so much out of ignorance, so much out of shame, so much out of blame! How much more out of fear? And hate? And despair? And little out of love, empathy, and maybe sympathy? Stigma noy only against mental illness but esprcially againstental illness, is to me another big cancer in society’s lungs. Hope is all l got! Hope is sure all several of us especially with either mental challenges or loved ones in that world, have. The year draws to an end, let’s indeed look at ourselves in the mirror! Thanks my nani Jill for this post!

Jill's Experiences with Mental Health , Stigma, Alzheimer's Disease, Grief & Grieving & serenade2seniors

False beliefs about mental illness can cause significant problems.

STIGMA is when someone views you in a negative way because  you have a personal trait that is a disadvantage. Negative attitudes and beliefs toward people who have  mental health conditions, are common.

STIGMA can lead to discrimination and that same discrimination may be obvious and direct, such as someone making a negative remark about your mental illness or the treatment you are receiving. It may be unintentional or subtle, such as someone avoiding you because the person assumes you could be unstable, violent or even dangerous due to your mental health condition.

The harmful effects of STIGMA can include:

A reluctance to seek treatment.

A lack of understanding by family, friends and co-workers.

Far less opportunities for work  or social activities or trouble finding a place to stay.

Bullying, physical violence or harassment.

Health insurance that does not adequately cover the…

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Effects of Bullying, Being a Bully, or Both

A good post which caught my attention. Educating a child starts from home, and is always most effective at home either way we look at what is taught, be it consciously or not! Parents have so much power, noy to teach with terror but to lead with love!

Youth Of A Nation:Bent not Broke


“I think every person has their own identity and beauty. Everyone being different is what is really beautiful. If we were all the same, it would be boring.”

~Tila Tequila~

Bullying is defined by StopBullying.gov as “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.” Bullying affects nearly 30 percent of children in grades six through.

victims of bullying have a higher rate of:

  • agoraphobia, an anxiety disorder
  • generalized anxiety disorder
  • panic disorder

It’s not uncommon for school bullies to face abuse or other difficulties at home, and thus to be both victims and perpetrators. Often, especially in middle and high school, those who were bullied at a young age grow up to become bullies themselves.

Those who were both bullies and victims are more likely to have:

  • young adult depression

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The prodigal daughter: Happy Birthday to my first and best Heroine


She rocked her adolescence like that before becoming my prodigal mother!

We all sure know of the Bible parable of the prodigal son right? I mean religious or not we must have come across it somehow huh? Well if not, you can probably google it up.

I think in that parable the emphasis is, and rightly so on the prodigal father!

But l am reversing the emphasis in my own story, hoping to illustrate how low l sunk before crying out an umpteenth time for that help which came: at the speed of lightening! And yes, all this is mindful of the poem I had written in 2004 which left the impression I had ‘learnt my lesson’ then!

I mean, when you up and disappear leaving behind three innocent kids, your mum and yep several others in total confusion, there is no logical explanation to your “selfishness” and “madness”!

When you do the above, and refrain from contacting any of them for over a month, something is definitely not going well with you!

When you are ‘rescued’ a first time and yet do all you can to up and disappear barely 4 weeks later, you probably think that was your last chance!

But then when you learn more “good lessons” in the ‘dessert’ and have sure squandered the last Dirham borrowed yet again, and then dare to send an email to the mother you have lashed out at in all sorts of ways; you keep your fingers extremely crossed!

I did not expect my mum to respond so on the spur and with so much love and all. She had come out to the desert to get me the first time and l had just flown right back there. Would she care this time? Well, yes she did and still does up to this day!

Gosh, even an entire book can’t tell it all about the very deep and jealous relationship that has sprung and lasted for 35 ‘good’ years between an exclamation of a prodigal gal called Ayo and her mother!

And so, on this day when this first and best heroine of mine welcomes another year of life, l just wanted to say it loud and unreservedly that l am GRACED, BLESSED and PROUD to be her prodigal daughter!


Dear Gentle Readers and Followers, let me leave you both with 2004 poem and this beautiful piece of music about the sweetness of the mums most of us have been blessed with. Do have a wonderful season and end of year and hope to see us all right here on the blogosphere come next year. 

Ode to Mama!
Ode to Mama!


My Shoop baby

Shoop's wedding Dec 2012 - yes am the near anorexic one in green.
Shoop’s wedding Dec 2012 – yes am the near anorexic one in green; the era was a tumultuous one and there was much fasting you know.

I told her that as many times as Whitney Houston hummed Shoop in that famous song, as many times as l thought and wished her to exhale in life each day! In short, I decided to start calling her Shoop! And yes, all this is mindful of the post I once did wondering about the toughness of sibling love!

She was born some six years after myself and so I could very well babysit her. I love doing that and changing napkins and washing shit and all(diapers didn’t exist in the Cameroonian vocabulary then – the TV was just making its entrance to the territory you know)!

My Yummy Shoop baby
My Yummy Shoop baby

Shoop was a small round ‘yummy pumpkin’ of a girl and the first of us four siblings then to go to kindergarten (before Shoop came along, I don’t think sending off children there made any sense in terms of resources and availability of people to mind them at home). It was hilarious to watch her being accompanied with a spare napkin so early in the morning and at barely 1.5 years of age!

However, she actually loved that era. Indeed, once she could talk, the stories could last a bedtime! Such a jolly gal! I mean we share the same birthday (em just the day as in 18th)!

When Shoop was five or so, she literary became more of a patient than a kid. She had various successive ailments and was constantly in an out of hospital. This lasted for a decade and I could see mum again at ‘war’ for yet another child’s life. I mean, Shoop at some tender age spent a week in a coma – one of its rarest cases in that reference hospital. At another occasion, her right arm which broke I don’t know how, was in an orthopedic cast, her neck which hurt was bandaged, and there were boils on her body not to talk of the high fevers. Although I wrote some lines on that caste, I was so worried for my Shoop. I am so proud of this former patient turned Doctor!

Shoop and I therefore have a very special relationship. A few times, we are simply quiet.  But most of the time, we are ‘gossip mates’!

I am that rebel of a big sister from whom you learn about ‘boyfriends’ and what not to do to avoid trouble with momma. The one with whom you gist about stuffs you dare not let the eldest hear nor your parents of course!

The only complain I have about Shoop is that since the 2nd of August 2014, I don’t look forward to any late calls from her anymore! On that fateful night, no sooner had we finished a whatsapp chat by 11 pm my time, that my phone started to vibrate an  impending doom announcement

Well, it happened and we were both catapulted to say the least!

Other than that, and on this day when my darling Shoop welcomes another year into her life, I wanna sing to her that I’ll always love MY SHOOP BABY! I dare not quantify my indebtedness to SHOOP!

I am not a Second-Class Citizen

As the year draws to an end, l guess it’s time to take perspective on a lot of issues. How do we treat mental health patients? How do we the mentally challenged and seriously ill treat or view our own selves?

The Bipolar Mama

This is what someone with a mental illness looks like This is what someone with a mental illness looks like

My name is a Lauren. I am a work-at home mom of two beautiful, happy boys. I have been with my husband for almost 5 years, married to him for 3 of them. I volunteer twice a week to a local café which is run by a nonprofit. I recently joined the local roller derby team. I vote. I pay my taxes. I am sure most are lost as what the point of this. I mean I seem like a pretty normal member of society. However, when I throw in that I was diagnosed as with bipolar disorder when I was 16, the viewpoint changes. Because it seems that many have a hard time seeing past the disorder. Why? Because for some reason we aren’t able to change on the general public’s idea of what mental illness looks like.


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Happy People

This is why I really try to stay Merry Marie
This is why I really try to stay MerryMarie

Who are happy people?

 the ones who sing praises?

or those found dancing?

what you say is happy?

maybe just your notion?

or some society portion?

Wow pal, I sure got a lotion

that could be good for happy people

You first need to be honest

That you care not for its fowl stench

Only then would you know

That to join the happy people

You may oft need to break some dem damn dos&don’ts!

Another ‘insignificant’ milestone of mine!

groggy groceries
groggy groceries

It is obviously of no significance to many, but for me it’s worth celebrating.

I did my groceries alone today in a supermarket. Since l came to Belgium, l never went alone to one of these big hypermarkets they have with the fast cashiers who may as well push you and your products to the floor.

Bad for me, l am from one of those regions where ‘take time your time and bargain all you want’ is the norm in our markets. I also felt enormous pressure to ‘adapt’ from my friend and we often did the haggling after the groceries.

I decided l wouldn’t go there once on my own. You know there are also small grocerie shops around. But after a few buys, l missed the variety and well thought l could get better deals. And well since it’s for me only, 5 and not 50 items will last a week.

And so hurray, l did it and beamed so proud that l thought to memorize the occasion with a post.

Loads of cheers, merrymarie

P.S: In my fidgeting on my way back home, I later realized I had lost my gloves; the best of the the two pairs I had. I was so embarrassed and even furious. However, by some luck, as I returned from the gym this afternoon, I found them by the side of the street leading to my abode. Life indeed has dem twists and turns tight?

Does It really matter!!!

What truly matters?
What truly matters?
How old are you again?
Which country are you from?
What church did you say you go to?
Which is your parents’ religion again? And your political affiliation? And so which country is yours? So you must be Arab, African or Latino? Muslim, Christian or Buddhist?Why then do you love black, eat crabs and keep dogs?
The questions are endless
Mine may as well be pointless
What has the colour of his skin, eyes, hair or even clothes got to do?
Probably l am the fool
Who isn’t aware of the drool
As associated with the diehards
But still l dare to differ
Are those generalizations helpful?
Isn’t it better an individualization?
Maybe simply no time for that
Time so spent equally matters!!!

Lee my Heroine from Singapore

I hope I make it to visit Lee someday
I hope I make it to visit Lee someday

I never knew Singapore was a city state. Had never met anyone from there anyway nor even heard or read about it. And it came to be that I found myself in Arusha – Tanzania, working at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Although I had sojourned some in Dubai, I had never interacted with such an international community before. At least 80 nationalities were represented at the ICTR.

Meeting Lee

I lived in a three bedroom flat and there was a vacant room. We were told an intern was coming in from Singapore. I was excited because it equally meant I’ll now do dinner for three. You see I love to cook when people are there to eat – but food and just I, aren’t friends at all. Grace the other flat mate from Kenya, was the one in contact with Lee but then she had to rush to Nairobi (3 hours by road from Arusha – and sure I once spent the weekend with Grace’s warm family) and asked me to welcome Lee.

I exchanged two or so emails with Lee, reassuring her all would be fine. She just had to hire a cab from the airport and come to the Tribunal and we’ll go back home together. She was so tired because she said she’d been travelling for two damn days. Fortunately it was a Friday and the day closed at 2 pm. She got there by 1.30 and we took another cab back home.

Meeting thieves

To Lee’s dismay, there was sure no wifi in the flat. Where did she think she was? Hahaha, in those our regions of the globe, you either use one of those modems/flash sticks etc or you go to the cyber cafe.  Lee said she couldn’t spend that night without getting the internet and she had to let ‘home’ know she was hence close to the Gorongoro and Serengeti Parks!

I understood her dilemma and offered to take her back to town to get some bundle for the internet and calls. We walked up without an incident but on our way back, I saw a group of ‘red and not to any good eyes’ march up the road in our direction. My instincts from having worked in the prison, told me something was gonna happen.

I just had time to warn poor Lee, when from the corner of my eye I saw the bigger of the boys pull out a dagger. He ordered one of them in Swahili to go for Lee’s handbag. I could understand and even speak basic swahili. Lee’s bag still had all she came in with, all her money, passport, I-Family gadgets and etc, as she later told me.

Rescuing Lee

I pushed Lee to the ground without a second’s thought and lay on her! I then screamed in Swahili as the boy with the dagger aimed towards me. It was barely 5 pm and some farmers nearby were gathering their tools to return home. One picked up a big stone and while screaming, aimed at the rogues. They disappeared behind the nearby stream to the ghetto I even went to to have my hair cut.

That incident on Lee’s first day to Arusha, spoilt the rest of her internship. She had intended on staying for six months, but could only manage four. I became her protegee and tried my best to cheer her up. Took her to wherever I went to or accompanied her to some places she went to unless she was with some interns she trusted.

She said she owed me her life, but I told her she owed me nothing. Sure she gladly contributed to the kitchen fund so I could do the cooking, both she and Grace had no relationship with pots.

Hard to say goodbyes

When you not only meet and like someone, but you find yourself risking your own life for this person, the relationship you both build becomes more than spiritual to say the least. We even did our meditations together and once went to some church together.

Lee left almost all she brought with me  – sure I passed that on to my friends in that same ghetto where those rogues had disappeared. It was even there that I learnt Swahlili and all.

Our parting was emotional but Lee was glad to go. She had never seen a dagger that close and that was equally her first trip to Africa. She also missed noodles and those sold in the foreign groceries were outright expensive.

Lee taught me the true meaning of being able to lay your life for another. At that instant, I didn’t even think about what I doing to my own self.

Dear gentle readers and followers, has any such experience ever come your way? When I reflect on such thrilling eras of my life, and I still see myself breathing and marching on, I sure know there is still more to come!