Category Archives: Cameroon

Showcasing creativity

The Startup Grind Douala brings Marvin Cole of OVAMBA wow


 

Some things make and get me so excited I may need to drink some coffee to calm down.

Wait up, it was last last year the first startup grind Douala event and yours truly was there big big time. Let me find that post lol

So, tomorrow again, I’ll just create time and show up men – they are bringing Marvin Cole of OVAMBA – I mean I love learning – and from people who have hustled and bustled to the top – this girl I am is already bouncing so much. My outfit is was hung out this morning for the sun to warm it up some lol

So, I’ll dash in an out the PTA of the 4 musketeers I now have lol, then a meeting from 2-4 pm, no blackman time is allowed cause am the one hosting, and then 5-8 pm Bano Palace (a chick one for that much)

Life is good, have a fantastic weekend everyone

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The serious foursome Ss which stall mental health and wellbeing in Cameroon


I have written extensively on mental health, mental wellbeing and mental illness on my own website, blog and the Gbm Foundation for epilepsy and mental wellbeing of which I am the Country Director; and on numerous national and international media. But, these serious foursome Ss pop up again and again – seems like there will be no meaningful progress until they are squarely addressed.

S1: SPIRITUAL ATTACK

When you are in a very religious country or community, you should realize that religion and spirituality or whichever comes first to the people, plays a very big role in their lives. Indeed, long before ‘white man’ medicine came, people were cured or healed through incantations and other process including drinking various portions and following special protocols. A spiritual attack is when there is a belief that the origin of the attack is mysterious especial when no other logical explanation exists. Truth be told, no logical explanation exists to explain a mental health challenge or disorder, and the first stop when there is a crisis here, is mostly to a Man or Woman of God. Hold up, they are actually competing or on the same line of importance as the traditional doctors when we consider the second S.

S2: SUPERSTITION

Even where it can be ascertained it is a spiritual attack, the source must be rooted out right? Who else but a jealous person or witch/wizard can cause someone to have a mental health problem or illness? The predominant belief in our communities had always been that any sudden illness or death is superstitious and very suspicious. Mental health challenges or illnesses are no exception. Indeed, for these categories of ‘wahala’ (local slang for trouble), it is the norm and can only be cast out or cleansed by the traditional doctor aka Ngambe man (witch doctor) for us. I mean, if neither the spiritual healer nor the herbal healer cannot help, why not just chain up the person and let them waste away and die instead of bringing more embarrassment to all concerned? The next S comes in here.

S3: STIGMA

Stigma is both from without and within. The society and even families stigmatize the patient and their family; and the patient loses all their self-esteem and stigmatize themselves by withdrawing further and further into their own ‘world’. Families get fed up trying to help while navigating all that stigma, and the patient’s ‘supposedly non-compliant attitude’ only makes matters worst. Tie them and lock them up or outside in a barn let them become whatever they want. The patients equally fed up with the treatment and stigma, lookout for ways to live their ‘freedom’ and to ‘communicate their frustration’ in anyway that appeals to their already very distorted cognition. Society notices and sighs in slushed sentences and all stakeholders are at a lost on what to and how to proceed. And then the next S.

S4: SHAME

Note I write the last two Ss in all caps. My own way of shaming them actually. Shame can make even families with the means to take their patients to the hospital and seek better and alternative treatment protocols not to do so. Shame is the outcome of all the stigma explicit or implied, and we all know how people could sometimes fight to protect their ‘reputation’. We have surely heard of ‘honour killings’ in some countries where families have taken the lives of one of theirs because of the shame this individual was bringing to their name. Some patients out of shame, could also contemplate or commit suicide because the life they now lead is definitely the skeleton what was before they fell ill and they can’t stand the pain, stigma and all any more.

It is therefore my humble submission that we in Cameroon have to address these foursome Ss if we are to really make any progress with any mental health campaign. Our realities are still far different from those of the west, I saw this first hand when I did a two months internship at the lone public psychiatric ward in the city of Douala. Many patients brought in are already so challenged and ill, it’ll take much more than a brief hospitalization to help them. Some even in the hospital don’t open up to get any little help available, they are ashamed or feel stigmatized even by some medical personnel – sad to admit.

Today as we celebrate World Mental Health Day under the impressive theme Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World, I salute the efforts made to raise awareness to the different issues involved surrounding mental health, but I add that we should step up our listening. Sometimes people hurt so bad but there is just no one to listen to you even when you want to trust enough to tell.

Marie Abanga is a phenomenal woman by every account who defines herself simply as a person of passion and a tale of talents. She runs a private psychotherapy practice in the city of Douala – Cameroon and be contacted through her website at https://marieabanga.com.

Please could you vote for my sickle cell Warrior Arrey Echi?


 

Hello all oh, please I need your votes to get my Sickle Cell warrior Arrey Echi nominated for some big awards o.

You sure saw my blog about my becoming a Strong and Proud Sickle Cell voice now thanks to her right? She has for a few years now done these colorful online campaigns to raise awareness, hmm this year’s own beat all the others. Yours truly was featured and appreciated to all my blushing.

 

Arrey shared this at the end of this year’s campaign on her facebook wall:

I would like to say a big thank you to those who supported the sickle cell awareness month in one way or another. Worth mentioning are those who went out of their way to support our activities by buying a #BreakTheSilenceTee shirt.

Because we have a lot of activities planned for warriors, we had to seek ways to raise funds and what better way than to add some swag into tee shirts while we devise other means to ensure we have our programs funded?

With 5.000frs, you can also get a tee shirt like this and because I like nyanga, I just needed to bring some swag into it with this unique Cameroon touch thanks to Enjoh Prodencia Asanga and her unique #ContriLifedesigns.

Please support a worthy cause. Get a Break the silence tee for 5k or if you like gi we 1million we no go mind 😉 😉

Our people say one hand cannot tie a bundle. I am forever grateful to all who are always supporting me in one way or another.

A collage of some who bought and wore in support of sickle cell awareness month.

Thank you all. The awareness continues.

#BreakTheSilence #BeASickleCellVoice #SickleCellAwareness

To vote so she be nominated for the categories:

  1. Best Blogger in English; and
  2. Best Social Media Campaign

Please just go to this link and go to those categories, click them and you are asked just two questions.

  1. Who are you nominating? answer ARREY ECHI.
  2. Why are you nominating this person? Answer BECAUSE SHE DESERVES THIS NOMINATION.

Simple right my people? So I beg on bended knees lol, give us your votes so my heroine gets these nominations. You can vote everyday too, I do that. They insist you have a facebook account and I hope many of us do o. Thank you very much

p.s: I will sure be back when thanks to your votes she gets nominated and we needs votes for the finals hahahaha

Talking about kids+talents: May I introduce OTANG The Rap Princess from Cameroon


With the above clip, and in light of this week’s theme on my blog about children and their amazing talents, I wish to introduce OTANG The Rap Princess from Cameroon Africa.

Its been just 3 months since I discovered this free style of hers on Facebook…and you can tell I was mesmerized to the point of contacting her manager to offer pro bono legal services for when the big deals start coming lol – and bet ya they are here already. Miss OTANG DA GAME CHANGER is already the “Brand Ambassador of the Voice of Hope International Foundation”.

Recently on promotion in Yaounde the capital city – invited to some prominent shows and all such great platforms, she took time out to reach out to the less privileged kids on the streets.

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And so, her EP was recently released in grand style, and is currently making waves in Cameroon.

OTANG is a brand and voice to be watched and I hope some big labels sign her on early before the deal skyrockets…read more about this Game Changer on the awesome 237Showbiz site right here.

 

OTANG is my heroine no joke, I can’t wait to meet her in person and get my own selfie while the celebrity train is still within my reach o

Introducing The Hope Centre and Yensi my heroine


 

Hello world, happy new week. A few months ago, I received a wonderful and dynamic lady called Yensi Helen Jokem in my modest abode at a time when my left eye was threatening shut down. I concluded after that trial that indeed in life, it could sometimes get worse before it gets better.  Hope kept me going during that very challenging period of time, one which equally saw me doing a 70 days spiritual journey with long intermittent fasting.

Yensi is the Founder and CEO of  The Hope Center, and she has a dynamic team; oh how I wish I were one of them. It is so awesome working on something so noble as instilling hope for one of the most vulnerable and marginalized group of human beings. Whether we all agree or not, women and girls are victims of told and untold atrocities all over the world and in alarming proportions. Indeed, violence against women seems to be so common and would I call it ‘evil effective’, to the point that it is being replicated in wars and civil unrest on large scales with the intention of causing long term physical and psychological damage to the victims and all those concerned with her existence (when the woman is damaged, her entire family suffer and her husband’s ego and reputation is tainted once and for all). Here I am talking about violence against women which is now internationally considered a weapon of war.

Truth be told, if we taught our children to respect one another and not resort to violence as the means or resolving disputes and conflicts, they would likely grow up with those values. They would respect each other as siblings and partners, and will chose dialogue over violence more often than we currently see.

 

We survivors of Domestic Violence also need to share our stories through all mediums possible. We need to stop the vicious cycle of victimhood to silencehood to nothinghood. Anyways, I did when Yensi asked me to, and was really honoured when my story was featured in the very first edition of their awesome magazine: “STOP THE DV” with DV meaning Domestic Violence. Yensi and I both attended the landmark and over due Leading Ladies conference in Yaounde some time ago, and that is where she gave me a copy of the magazine featuring my own survivor and success story. What an honour and priviledge.

DV is for real and we really need to be the hope for one another. DV has led to mental health challenges and illnesses, the trauma can be destabilizing and damaging for the rest of one’s life. It can never be overemphasized, the time to speak up is always now. Stigma is still so rife even ‘developed countries’, what more can we expect in ‘least developed countries’ like Cameroon?

It is for all the above, and for the charm and courtesy I find in Yensi, that I am proud to consider her one of my heroines. Thank you Yensi for reaching out to me, and for all the awesome work you do out there. There is help available people, do not suffer in silence out of shame and stigma.

P.S: If you or any organization you know, would love to donate to the Hope Center, kindly do not hesitate to contact Yensi or the center through their Facebook Page.

What could I have as personal feelback from the Leading Lady Conference???


The Leading Lady conference had as theme, Intentional Leadership. Leadership I know includes leading yourself (most vip) and leading others – be this at home, at your workplace, business place – church etc

I love learning even more than I enjoy sharing – and of course these come with or involve networking right? Can you do or partake in these activities without others?

I really appreciated the package they put together and the organizers themselves were so warm. I mean I got a call from the co-founder of the mother organization like 2 days later to thank me for coming and spreading the word like via my blog and other social media outlets. Never happened before.

Now, I am a very spiritual person, and anything spiritual catches my attention. Prayers for me are powerful, whether you admit it or not, it is different when you start an event with prayers (even a silent one or a hymn), than when you do not. I am talking about events like these, which are looking at the person and their spirit, and not one on politics, policies or outright glamour.

You have to be spiritual to live and lead intentionally. Well that’s how it works for me. I was so happy to attend a conference which put together and brought out all of this.

So for day one, we had some soul praise and worship – I mean live one and even a trumpet maestro. There was a warm welcome and a first presentation by the co-founder of the mother organization which I enjoyed. The 1st teaching session was on the power and importance of purpose by the one and only Frankie Powell – that man is spiritually fired up, the 2nd on handling life’s detours and the third on intentional living.

The breakout sessions were equally wonderful, sad I couldn’t be in all because they happened at the same time lol. I attended one just to hear that speaker life at last, and another one to learn from a young, dynamic and diverse business woman.

A big take home was the book I bought at the conference. I read it in one go on my return trip and hardly saw time pass (like we can right?). I have already written a brief review on facebook as follows:

Book Review: From the Past into a life of Purpose: A Tale of Four Women edited by Dr Madison Ngafeeson
Review Title: A Tale worth Telling
I was probably the first participant who paid for this book even while it was being launched. I already knew I was going to love every word in there and I was happy to have a book to read on my return trip to Douala the next morning. It was worth the 3000frs I paid and it made the trip pass in no time. Indeed I finished it as we got to Yassa. Are we concluding it was a captivating read?
I am an author, and not any simple type but one who writes more of memoirs than fiction or poetry. I know how tough a feat that is especially in a culture which still ‘values’ the adage ‘no talk bring man disgrace’!!! In this book made up of four tales worth telling, the authors ‘talk’ and I feel them. No shame I mean what is there to be ashamed of?
Let he/she who has never struggled in their lives be it with a relationship/several for some of us, be it with career paths, be it with socio-cultural norms and traditions which can leave you ‘finished’ before your own time, ah be it with just about any precept of life, let that someone pick the first stone.
I love the authenticity in memoirs, it takes work and nerves – no holding back or looking for characters to ‘dash’ them your tale – telling it as it is, as it happened and as we now look forward to.
That indeed is the whole essence of this particular commendable book. The past was painful in each narration, but life goes on and intentionally. All the stories have beautiful continuations because I can’t talk of endings…
I sincerely recommend this book all and sundry.

Sad for now the books are only sold in Cameroon and no online copies yet.

I equally sadly left before the closing ceremony because hmm, thanks to the infamous BMT aka Blackman Time, the conference ran late on both days. I didn’t therefore collect my beautiful certificate personally, but a friend did on my behalf and I got same from her 2 weeks later.

I gave them a 7/10 and was of the opinion when surveyed, that they organize one every year. It was indeed a wonderful investment in my personal growth and self love, and I got to be hosted in one home I so love and have the utmost fond memories of.

Wishing us all a wonderful weekend, full of some self care and all

Barakah Barakah my heroine and the Prisoner’s Night…


I have truly and remarkably been blessed beyond measure to meet wonderful people in my life. There sure is something about me or better still the spirit which attracts all these amazing people to my modest self – or takes me to them fearlessly. I met Barakah Barakah precisely on the 18th of January 2016 (my 36th birthday). We were both invitees on a show and although I was so low that day, Barakah and the host did it – Barakah especially with her zeal and all brought my spirits back up…thank you my dearest Barakah Barakah especially with that surprise birthday cake lol

37th-birthday

How can I not celebrate this special Barakah Barakah …she is another one – we say out here she is too much. Look, me thinks BB as I fondly call her, is connected to super natural energy. She is a …what do I say and what do I leave out? Ok for the sake of this post, she is an artist. When am in the office or even at home and I just want to sing for Jesus, I put one of BB’s tapes with my favourite being Back to Jesus. See some of her CD covers for yourselves oh…indeed Mama BB is Addicted to Worship lol

She has no complex whatsoever, so down to earth and full of admiration for everyone she meets. Let me just share more of my picture collection of BB

I have worked in the prison for 3 years and I know what a world that is. So many lost ones in there and oh so much pain and suffering and despair. One of BB’s passions is to visit them as many prisons as she can, singing and ministering to them and dancing with them in ways only she can. When BB shows up, even the ever tense prison administration relax. See some of her stuffs out there…

So on Thursday the 5th of July, I’ll be honouring BB’s invitation to her mega CD launch of: ‘the Reason I live’ and the viewing of the documentary she made of her exploits in the prisons.

I wish I had more time to raise funds for this wonderful woman. But I know she will never lack as long as she is doing it all for Jesus.

BB's documentary

‘Le chemin de l’espoir’ in english means the Path of Hope. Indeed, hope is what keeps many an inmate holding on, not ending it all in there, not giving in to the pressure to join a gang or go awol and all the vices you can imagine thrive in there.

I wish BB so so much and hope she gets the prize for which she has been nominated in Atlanta come September this year.

BB, you are my heroine and I’ll always appreciate you for the joy you bring to my heart, my ears and to all who know you especially those behind bars.

Have a fabulous midweek everybody

p.s: let me leave you with this shout out to BB from one of her million fans out here:

Thank you Lord Jesus for this missionary corridor. I pray for the increasement of the grace required to fulfil this commission. Be strong and of a good courage dear sister Barakah Barakah for the Lords of Hosts is with you. Love you dear mummy

Leading Ladies like myself will be attending this groundbreaking conference…


 

Since I returned to my country in August 2015, I haven’t attended any conferences. Workshops or small gatherings yes, I even tried organizing some under the platform I launched called Inspiring Positive Actions Now, but it didn’t quiet take off. My dream on my return was to actually organize a mega conference for women dubbed “Women walking with stubborn but passionate faith”, I had started putting together a team and then all sorts of challenges came in and I prayed and let it go.

It can then be easily understood why I am so excited to attend this conference which I aptly qualify as ground breaking in this country especially in such difficult times we as individuals and the entire nation are facing. I think ladies above all will have to step in the gap to lead themselves and the country as a whole, through all the unrest we are going through, be it spiritual, emotional, mental, physical, socio-cultural… you name them…

I mean, just read their vision:

The vision of this conference is to bring together 500+ women leaders and those involved in leadership in order to encourage, nurture and strengthen leadership abilities by engaging them through capacity building workshops, teaching, motivation and panel discussions on issues that affect women and their leadership in the society. The ultimate goal is to see these conference attendees empowered to carry out their God-given assignments in the home, workplace and world.

And yes, I went to school with some of the ladies profiled as authors, speakers or organizers, so it’ll be so much touching soul base for me. The Lord is really good all the time. If I cannot accomplish something and a sister or brother can, trust me I’ll join them and cheer them on and make some real noise and impact. I wish I could bring someone else, but you know in matters of the soul, your soul must be stirred from within and nothing else. All else will be glam which will backfire in the long run big time.

The conference is put together by an organization called Lead Mission International and their programme shows they’ll be organizing similar stuffs in Burundi too. Isn’t this simply awesome? This is the first of such conferences they’ll be organizing in Cameroon, and although I have a feeling nothing will be easy for the organizers especially with meeting set targets, I hope they brave through it all, counting on no other Grace but the most Amazing one provided by the almighty God and Father Himself. I can’t wait to meet the organizers in person and see what lies ahead in terms of collaboration, learning, sharing and more.

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I plan to get a copy of the book because I can see my story in there though not included lol. I will be meeting the editor myself and as an author, I am super excited. Who knows if he’ll take on my next publication? That project from every indication has a course I don’t master because each time I try telling my spirit I want to let it out now, am reminded patience is a virtue.

All in all dear all, I already feel it in me it wouldn’t be an idle weekend. I have a very soulful event on the eve of the conference in Douala and I blog on that in two days, then I leave the very next morning for Yaounde where the conference takes place, and will return to Douala on Sunday by God’s Grace. I am bundling all of this into a Me Moment because on my return, I may be alone at home (guys should hopefully be gone on vacation), but I have to resume psychology studies and writing my draft for next year. Any leading lady in Cameroon wants to attend, please call any of the numbers on the flyer and pay a sum you wouldn’t regret spending on your personal growth because YES – YOU DESERVE IT

Have a great week everyone

My Book reviewed: What is the Worst Case Scenario…


What is the worst case scenario

If there is one thing I know,that is very difficult to tell some other person,talkless of “truth”.

I must congratulate the author for this heart pouring exercise she has embarked on. Telling the world your story and giving a damn about “what people will say” about her personality, her work(s), is aplaudable.

The book and other works of hers, acts as an eye opener to me and I quess to a lot more people in the world;

  1. The way I look at and how to help a sufferer;

  2. How I can join the author and many others in the world to advocate for mentally sick persons;

  3. How I can contribute to campaign against stigmatization.

Barrister Marie A. Abanga,is giving a positive light to all who let FEAR conquer them. She is encouraging us all that our fears are just False Emotions Appearing Real and as such, we should not Fold Everything and Run. Rather, we should Face Everything and Rise.

Indeed, ”Abanga Marie was here; she lived; she loved; she was here” and the world will remember her for such unconditional love and efforts shown to humanity.

The question to me and to you out here is

*what have you offer?

PLAY YOUR ROLE POSITIVELY,and help HUMANITY.

Ndzo Ethel Fonjie

P.S: Today has been a tough day because I am sad at the current bloodshed in my country and somehow couldn’t focus enough to get through my todolist for the day. I spent time reading and listening to helpful podcasts and tried to do a little you know. This book review just came in to make my day. I am very grateful to Ethel and all who have read my books and gotten back to me through any medium