Posted in Epilepsy Advocacy, Epilepsy Solidarity Walk in Cameroon, Mental Health Advocacy

STIGMA: The Script’s Synopsis P1


stigma

Hello World and happy Thanksgiving in advance to my Americanas… 

Ok, I am constantly on the go and shared with you here recently how I was reinventing myself . I am a passionate woman there is no doubt about that… I received so many talents from My Almighty Father and just realized I have to do my best with those for his Greater Glory and the service of mankind. Here is the synopsis to the script I just finished writing for a movie to be titled: STIGMA…

STIGMA: What comes to mind? Shame; humiliation; embarrassment; rejection; abuse; and all other such negative words. We at the Gbm Foundation have thought about a much more virtual, vocal and poignant way to step up our fight against the stigma surrounding persons living with epilepsy and those affected by their conditions such as their families and extended circles of interaction like their schools, churches and communities.

This movie revolves around two children called Precious and Victor who live with epilepsy although wrongly understood simply as fainting fits by all in their community. Their suffering is labelled ‘badluck illness’, and it’s cause is attributed to juju.

The two children and their family are the victim of stigma in all its dimensions. They are only saved by the coming to their village of an NGO working to provide medical assistance for persons living with epilepsy, with the main objective to combat the stigma surrounding this chronic neurological disorder.

Precious and Victor together with their kid sister Mercy, live in the remote village of Fiebondem in Cameroon.

Cameroon has a very high rate of prevalence of Epilepsy in the world, and a 2016 lancet neurology article holds that the country could very well have the highest rate in the world. The village of Fiebondem, one of those villages in the country with higher rates of epilepsy, has been abandoned to itself unfortunately. In addition to the shortage of health facilities and supplies especially with regards to epilepsy, the extremely seasonal and barely carved out roads make it impracticable to attempt going there for nearly half a year. This waterloo has taken a toll on the growth of the village and the villagers, who have caved in on themselves, and have all but clung on to their traditional beliefs and practices. Indeed, the name of the village reflects on this abandonment as they submit themselves to the mercy of their creator: Fiebondem literally means “Give it to God”.

The dilemma in Fiebondem starts over half a century ago with a high infant mortality rate, The villagers in those days and circumstance can only cry out to their gods while blaming their misfortunes on ‘witchcraft’: witches are consequently identified, rounded up and burnt at the stake.

Several years later, children no longer die at birth, but others now succumb to a new phenomenon of fainting fits with dire consequences for the victim and their families.

It is still so shameful to be pointed out as a household having one of such ‘badluck children’. Indeed, having more than one of such ‘badluck child’ can easily lead to serious retaliation and rejection from the village by the community. The ‘badluck children’ are quickly hidden away by their families, tied to their beds if need be, and they are not sent on any meaningful errands not to talk of to school. Once the ‘badluck children’ themselves start feeling rejected, they either don’t equally want to go anywhere for fear of society’s repudiation of their ‘bizarreness’– hence social/self isolation, and they are either pulled out, kicked out or they drop out of school and run away from the village altogether. Such is the disastrous impact of stigma cause by epilepsy in the village of Fiebondem…

Kindly stay tuned for P2 and co in the following days…

Wishing us all the best

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Author:

Marie Angele Abanga (simplified to Marie Abanga) aka MAG likes to describe herself as a “Jacqueline of several trades”. She is an everyday woman and mother with a zigzag profile. Let’s give it a try! She is an Activist, an Author, a Coach, a Consultant, a Feminist, a Lawyer, a Lecturer, a Prince 2 Project Manager, a Psychotherapist, a Philanthropist and an etc! She just loves to sum it up by saying she is a person of passions and a tale of talents. Her life’s journey has filled 6 books already and her three musketeers keep her busy at home. MAG is also the founder and CEO of the association Hope for the Abused and Battered, and the Country Director of the Gabriel Bebonbechem Foundation for Epilepsy & Mental wellbeing. The plethora of life's experiences and shenanigans she has lived through and learned from in near 4 decades of existence, have equipped her with such an arsenal to coach, train and motivate just any and everyone. She is so charismatic, dynamic and full of life, going by her designed mantra of 3Ds: Determination; Discipline and Dedication. These sum her+her quest to be the best version of herself and impact others perfectly. She attributes all her wealth of knowledge to her conscientious attendance of both informal and formal school.

5 thoughts on “STIGMA: The Script’s Synopsis P1

  1. Wow! Marie, you certainly have been blessed with wonderful talents.

    This script is amazing. I can actually visualise what is happening in the village and how the ‘bad luck’ children suffer. I also feel the pain of the parents as they react out of fear to society’s labeling and outrage at giving birth to (so called) outcasts within their community. It’s sad that people respond to the unknown as something terrible instead of offering help.

    I look forward to reading more. Well done, Marie.

    Have a blessed day. 🙂

  2. I was blown away when I read this late last night, Marie. It’s truly amazing – I agree with everything that June wrote in her comment. I’m so proud of you, sweet one. I too look forward to the next installment! XoXoXo

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