Category Archives: Marie’s Garden

Aime mon amour: their second mum and my heroine


This is Aime and her two kids, she lives two homes away from us. I have known her for like 18 months and I am so grateful for her. Her two kids are like mine too, and the little girl and I especially get along so cool.

Talking about her daughter Samira, when I got to know them, she wasn’t walking nor able to sit down on her own. Of course talking was out of the question. Her mum was tired of bringing her to the hospital and giving her all those meds and vitamins they were soon running out of money buying.

Her dad was not around pretty much, and when he was, he just dropped money and maybe even some bashing on the poor lovely mama for any flimsy reason.

I coached Aime, to heal her own heart, and then we helped Samira with more love and nurturing. We introduced Soya beans into her food (mostly still soft or outright liquid because she had barely any teeth to chew), and I courted her dad to make him realize the child could be suffering from poor nurturing by both of them.

Gradually, we made progress and Samira’s weight improved so good, today at three she is all set to go. A lot has also changed in their home and Aime who used to skin her son and I’ll hear his screams two homes away, doesn’t waste her energy and ruin their relationship so anymore. I am so proud of Aime for starting sports and loving same.

Now, talking about being the boys’ second mum, Aime has the key to our Home. Aime understands me so well and steps in when am sick, tired or absent say on a trip. I am so grateful I don’t have to worry when away (am currently in Yaounde since yesterday), because I know Aime is just two homes away.

In January 2017, and January 2018, we went out on new year’s night, just the two of us for a respite. It is tradition now, and we look forward to doing same in January 2019 with gusto.

And did I forget to mention that Samira is a chatter box now? that Aime is a seamstress and sews all my African attires? Yes she has done all I have had stitched since moving to this neighbourhood in March 2016, even these yummy ones below lol

I wish us all, especially struggling parents emphasis on single ones of course), to work on building a support system with at least an Aime like in there.

Bon weekend à tous

Advertisements

Traveling for me takes mental and physical preparation: And you?


Hi all, first solo travel in 2018. I cherish traveling alone because I can read and sleep and do just as I want without feeling obliged to talk with anyone. I know aome good conversation could be struck up with a seat mate and even contact made, but on this particular trip not me oh lol!

Taveling used to be fun when I was a kid. I loved going around with my dad and asking all the questions in the world inspite being told to just shut up like my siblings and leave him to drive in peace. He still remembers to this date lol!

However, when we moved to Yaounde from Douala when I was in Grade 4, everything changed. That was a major traveling for me because it was not a to and fro. I was leaving all my bearings behind, and not happy dad hadn’t even told me of this move when he got the news from his job. I was really something to even think of that right? It is ‘not expected of good African children’ period!

Although my anxiety at traveling has gotten better and I no longer pack months or weeks in advance (up to 2015 that was me), I still love to be ready mentally and physically at least 3 days in advanve. Any on the spur trips even if fun, or not consented to, throw my psychologically off balance a while. I can’t even imagine what I’ll do if I in any last minute packing for example, left behing an item or piece of luggage lol!

Well, for now, am boarded for Yaounde again for an overnight trip. Am hoping for the best of moments and know the boys will try their best. I am reading Peace Pilgrim and well wrapped up for the AC in this dang so called VIP bus lol!

And you gentle readers and followers, what is your preferred traveling mantra? Plan and Prepare; or Up and Go?

Lighting this candle in front of the Madonna for Dyane Harwood


My dearest Dyane Harwood, author of the incredible memoir titled Birth of a New Brain, who recently took a hiatus from blogging over at Proudly Bipopar, is having surgery today following a freightening fall last week.

She calls me her fairy GodMother, and we are soul sisters.

No surgery to me is small surgery ( I stayed asleep one hour more after due time post a ‘small surgery’in 2008), hence I lit a candle and will leave it on until it burns out.

Please, find it in you to say a prayer, make a get well wish or drop her a line via any channel you chose – she loves twitter most lol.

Tribe, arise and let’s show one of us some love through this ordeal and post recovery…Amen

 

What do you as a Parent or guardian do in the following circumstances? My real life and tough choices…


Gaby will finish me

  1. You ask them kids to do their laundry on the veranda while you are in the kitchen. You get a call and when you turn round you see one of them like that. Your first impulse is to take a picture to immortalize the moment, then I flash-backed to my own youth and saw myself not even at home but in front of the school taps while everyone studied. I at least kept my panties on and I stopped doing that at age 7. He is 8 years. Some say I should skin him alive, others say to pray hard, others say to talk to or with him, and one laughs loud saying therapist heal your own son, there is likely some ADHD there. What you advice my gentle readers and followers?
  2. img_20180211_131550-2056543338.jpg
  3. You come back home and find some neighbourhood kids invited by your son to play baby football in your living room. You see proof of what he does with his exercise book sheets and how he treats his school bag all the time. Well, I let them play because at least I get to see him, he gets to forget about TV (not that I have any), and he develops camaderie and learns to lose without fighting. On the down side, they finish and leave all that paper and chalk drown on the floor for you and you get to shout out your lungs before order returns. What will you do gentle reader and follower?Gaby peeling peanuts for soup
  4. You grill groundnuts for soup and you give him to go out and peel them so you can make the paste. He does just that but he eats up near half of that. Times are hard and you were hoping the 2 cups you had could make a pot of soup to last 2 days fora family of four for lunch and supper. I have explained to him previously why he shouldn’t eat dem groundnuts. Well, I shrugged, and decided I was better off doing that myself next time unless I could give that to a bigger child. I explain to him again why he shouldn’t eat them up especially in tough times like these. Can’t recall if I was any better or worse at his age, or if anyone even gave me such a chore in the first place. And you?
  5. You are once again convoked to David’s doctrine school (just friday I was in his school) where he has accumulated three absences although he leaves home each Sunday morning for doctrine he himself chose to attend. He knew it was a three years program although he is by this second year already failing with his grades and attendance.What do you do? Beat him up, withdraw him or let him continue to do whatever he wants? I give him 200frs each Sunday and tbt am getting tired with the whole thing too. Yet, I don’t want to stop him from having or making that experience. Gaby didn’t opt for that, while Alain is already done with his from a school where he had only a year of doctrine. I give him some work as punishment when he returns, and ask him to write a 700 word essay about the whole saga not leaving out the resolutions. I can’t go and sit there with him and still get to do all I have to do with and for them…my me moments are near getting threatened completely lol;
  6. You have sworn not to buy flip flops again nor a pair of shoe before school breaks out. Yet you feel so sorry for Gaby who has no flops again Lord knows where each goes to, and his lone pair of Shoes already looks so haggard. I confess I recognize that child and the genes he inherited And so, .I decided today after laughing at myself, not to bother swearing any never again around. I consoled myself by getting a dark chocolate bar from the market. Chocolate indeed is an anti-depressant unless any proof to the contrary…

Dear Readers and Followers, some of my quirps and muse as a parent and single one for that matter… ever grateful for my support team and journey to holistic wellbeing via different mental wellbeing plans…Yes We Can…we always try to find the Fun in the dysFUNction… (thanks Linda for the inspiration)

Have a great week

In our Gender neutral Kitchen, everyone tries their best


At least in our kitchen, wherever we make or find one, everyone tries their best. Gone are the days when boys were not to be seen or allowed in the kitchen. I know some African men will still rather go hungry than go into a kitchen, but am not raising those kind neither do I let any man who comes into my home sit and be served.

Alain is the next in command here and cooks so well for his age; Dave loves more of pancakes, salads, fruit juices or smoothies; while Gaby wants to become a chef and takes much pride in doing risotto and helping me out preparing different ingredients for the meal.

Gaby peeling peanuts for soup
Gaby peeling groundnuts for groundnut soup, but not advisable o. I got back only half of that poor me

Indeed, I learnt the hard way to want to do it all by myself lol

Happy Sunday us all, and may we parents in here consider empowering our males to cook hahaha

One of those frustrating days as a single parent striving with PTSD and RA


 

img-20180118-wa00411147953670.jpg
Taken on my birthday last January, I was really sick and made some soulful wishes

Hi world,when I publish two posts on the same day that’s a sign. Am definitely not doing too good today, indeed I have been struggling this week. One of the signs is isolating myself and not wanting to go out if I can help it – working from home and just struggling to be the best I can for the boys. Today was just so tough and it’s just 9.30 am here.

The dream I had last night was a sure indication. I can’t recall dreaming such a dream to an end like this before. My brother Gabriel had just died and was in the mortuary.  I was inconsolable and insisted on sleeping in the room where he was laid out. A few days later or so, people came for his removal and he instead got up. The face was Alain’s and I heard my brother tell me it was ok. I wrote it down in my gratitude journal this morning and moved on to get the boys ready and out.

It is always a feat with Gaby (named Gabriel after my brother), and today I noticed that his school bag was very light. When I asked to see all his books, another story babbled again. I decided to do a morning power walk to his school dragging him along with a belt for some lashing if need be. I was getting frustrated already, I bought new exercise books in January. When we got there in 15 and not 45 minutes because it was no nonsense today. I was told the obvious, he tears them all to make airplanes and kites and shares the pages with some like himself whose parents have already been there too (poor us). He got seven lashes because he agreed to those, and the teacher says to send 5 new books on Monday and he’ll monitor more closely. If he had to do that for 40 pupils where will he have time to give lessons and copy out notes on the blackboard?

Next stop, David and Alain’s school. They had both asked for 3000 frs each for a school event whereas the note on the billboard said the pass was 1000 frs. Now, am told each class could have agreed on a fixed contribution for food, assume another 1000 frs, where did the other 1000 frs go to and why couldn’t they be honest? Gaby had asked for 2000 frs claiming 1000 frs for a pass and 1000frs for food, although I was there with him and at no time were they given any food.

The pancakes David made was with stuffs from home, and my poor bowl in which the pancakes were taken to school didn’t even make it back. Secondly, he David has brought back only one test paper home claiming his other teachers haven’t given theirs yet. I had to check that out which happened to be a big and flat lie. I had a tough time getting him to give me his sequence report card because he claimed to have misplaced it. I know he has some difficulties with his school lessons, but I just expect honesty.

My day is ruffled to say the least, glad the trip to another city I had to make today was cancelled. When ever frustrated or low like this, I feel my articulations begin to hurt and my knees gt heavy and walking shaky…I am yet to have breakfast, I think I should start from there…

Thanks whoever for reading, writing is a coping strategy for me. Parenting ain’t easy, single parenting ain’t easy for that much, parenting with any mental health challenges or illness or other condition like RA, ain’t easy one bit. Those of us doing this deserve medals period…

Let’s talk about cooking and eating: My story


img_20180211_104512397366818.jpg
In any type of Kitchen I am ok to go; that’s the joy of being an area girl

I love that picture very much because it represents so much to me. I am cooking no doubt, but I am cooking in a some what difficult condition. Yet, am doing it with love. That is the whole line of my story at least with cooking.

From my earliest recollection of cooking for my dolly, (mud puddings and iced tea with mint leaves plugged straight from the trees lol) I loved the whole process. I got lost in the art of it all and I had fun taking myself so seriously and vital – dolly was going to stay hungry unless I cooked for her. The mockery and shun offs I got from home at the time when I offered to cook for all, only motivated me to want to cook better lol.

I also knew cooking food was more nutritional than buying food because both parents told us so. Above all, my late mami mami loved cooking, and cooking so deli, I just fell in love with cooking.

I cooked for us siblings when mum left, and for near two years when living in a single bedroom with my late brother in our father’s villa, I smuggled a kerosene cooking stove, and some food every now and then, to cook for us in that room turned home for us. You can all imagine this was traumatic but I was grateful to be able to cook for my brother who was ere so fragile and could not stand not eating like I could, much to the annoyance of step mother.

When I got married, I will cook and make little salads and deserts as often as I could. I did it with love, but oh how it started piercing my soul when hubby stopped eating what I cooked for all sorts of reasons.

Today, I am in a very good place mentally and all, and I still cook with all that love. Indeed in Belgium, my little private restaurant was baptized merry tables. Ah I wish I could a restaurant out here for real as a retirement venture maybe? Hmm, I got them talents and ideas in abundance no joke..

belgium-2014
Not so skinny here though

But now, what about eating? Hmm, I was a skinny child growing up, play in lieu of food was an ideal bargain I tried all the time. But then, I used to be forced to finish my plate so I managed to share it with the table, ground my hair, dress you name it lol

When living with my brother in that our room/cell if you may, eating was not my priority. Not knowing when next provisions would come or the chance to sneak out, jump over the fence with broken bottles and go smuggle them in, meant that I had to hoard or eat carefully. You can imagine eating lost all significance to me. Maybe only later resurfaced as a coping mechanism?

Exactly, that’s what eating became to me for half of my marital life. I started eating in abundance, topping all the yummy I cooked with ice creams and other delis from the bakery etc

i-used-to-be-this-fat-april-2010
Not so genuine smile and weight not appreciated one bit, but helas what can I tell you? on my way to 115

When I hit 115kgs, I knew enough was enough. Breathing indeed became a problem and I had to do something.

I got so angry with myself and the world, I stopped eating period. I hid behing dry fasting from 6-6, to reduce my eating to an apple and a gladd of hot cocoa at night. Needless to say anorexia surfaced and near thrived for 18months until mum threatened then pleaded…

Today, at 77kgs, and with the real and free and lovely me now present, I eat for nourishment and out of love too. Love for me, my body, my children, my family, my guardian angel. I also keep cooking for all with love, conscious too of the effects on my physical wellbeing especially with my RA diagnosis and sometimes very painful reality…when I can’t even lift my hand.

In conclusion, I am especially grateful for all those STILL who eat what I cook with love like my boys, and to all those who understand my pull to their kitchens or loo when I visit them hahaha. Maybe I’ll also take up professional cooking on retirement?

Dear all, while wishing you a happy weekend, may I encourage you to think about why you cook or eat…and to be grateful to be able to do either or both…

How early is it to start talking to your kids about girl/boy friends?


 

All about love
Source

I had a family meeting with the boys last Sunday and top in matters arising was Valentine’s day. For starters, we are a very open foursome, and I mean we tell each other pretty much everything (I surely spare them some sizzly details of my romantic getaways lol).

So, I have known their crushes since pre-nursery even, and visited some of those tiny misses with them back then. I recall even inviting one darling called Ange and her mother to a party back home like a decade ago.

img_20180209_112534-1969295223.jpg

When they also start being so mindful of their swags like this, what can you expect when it comes to Valentine’s day?

So, here is how our conversation about the day went on;

Boys: Mama what are you giving your Valentine whom we all know of?

Mama: I don’t know, just telling him am happy to have him in my life…

Gaby: Mama that wouldn’t work for me

Me: Why?

Gaby: Last year I told my Valentine that only and she left me for another boy

Fella 2: Well, I already got something for her and I showed you remember?

Me: Yes I do, it’s even under my bed as we speak

Fella 3: Am not going to school on that day

Me: Why?

Fella 3: I want her to be worried and come to visit me and not be concerned about what I got for her. I don’t yet have anything and can’t get something she may like from the look of things…

And hohoho I went. The guys are definitely aware of much more than we think, they do learn about sex and all in school. So why not spare myself headache and even heartache by squaring out those discussions with them from a young age? Just how young some may wonder? I started from infancy like when they started going to pre-nursery and I noticed any interest in a chap. Some in my circle thought that was ridiculous, but I did how I felt and took it in strides according to the boys disposition to understand and share their feelings. I never had such an opportunity in my childhood and looking back it still hurts sometimes…

And so all you gentle readers and followers,  How early is it to start talking to your kids about girl/boy friends?

Happy Valentine’s day and hope we all have a blast in whichever way we plan… I hope to watch some movies and go for ice cream later in the evening lol…

Tough times never last but tough people do: Which do you focus on???


Hi world, another week is here and let’s hope to be tougher than whatever tough comes our way this week.

When I got back home from work last Saturday evening, not only was there no electricity, but I was told cooking gas was finished. Here, we use refill cylinders and you buy them every other month or whenever, not pay monthly bills like I noticed out there.

Grateful to neighbour for lending me her sawdust pan

And to Gaby my able assistant for a while lol

I was able to make breakfast of Dodo, eggs and pap for us all, and then moved on to cook some deli yams pepper soup with pork chops so yummy…who cares about the tough time getting to this?

And so dear all, be inspired and motivated when those tough times come in whatever shape, colour, name, face etc

We all have it in us; even if some of us need more empowering help to unearth that toughness,  maybe buried deep within by various situations, relationships …

Marie in Merryland thanks to my Gaby


🐻

Gaby and I on our way to what I now call Merryland

If you watched Alice in Wonderland like myself when growing up, maybe you also scripted your own version of wonderland. I was 8 years (just as Gaby is today) and I wouldn’t miss an episode of “Alice au Pays de Merveille” as we saw it here in french. By then, we had recently moved cities from Douala to Yaounde and I had left all my familiar behind. I needed some time readjusting to my new cold environment and my books and some sitcoms on TV helped me a lot. Alice in Wonderland was one of them…I actually wrote my first chapbook titled Marie in Merryland and showed that to my Grade 4 (same class Gaby is in) teacher. Needless to say I was laughed at. I buried that book for real in a bush near that house whose high fence I will later jump to go fetch for food.

Events have a way to trigger good or troubling memories, and yesterday’s was no different.

Gaby is the taller boy in the background of these girls
Gaby is the one being chased in the middle of the playing ground

This week in Cameroon is called youth week and yesterday most schools organized a socio-cultural sort of karoake for the kids to have fun. I hadn’t really planned to go because I didn’t know parents could come along, but last year I hadn’t come and Gaby had blamed me for his stolen stuffs because I hadn’t come along like some parents had done.

The big guys had left earlier by noon for their secondary school because a celebrity artist here called Daphne was coming to their school. David had even made pancakes for his classmates.

It was simply put a blast at Gaby’s school. My phone did justice by dying out pretty into the start of the event, and so I was distraction free through out. I had brought a book along to read (Mary Oliver’s poetry handbook since my kindle is acting up), but I just couldn’t focus on that.

I visualized myself at 8 years and saw in those kids all the ‘joie and soif de vivre’ (the joy and thirst for life) I had at that age (which unfortunately was beginning to be stifled by events beyond my control). I cheered and jumped and clapped and ended up helping a seemingly overwhelmed teacher organizing one of the various distractions for the kids. This was chair dance and for one who loves dancing, ha oh my come and see me.

All is well that ends well, I was so happy for the realization of my Merryland, a land where I am me with friends, playing and living and loving for real and till gusto.

To crown my day, I met my two ex sisters-in law with whom we still have a civil relationship, and we had a cool time. I gladly ate the dinner offered me with love.

Sometimes, triggers do not only mean harm is along the way, even the anxiety if left to seep out can lead to marvels… I was anxious about giving up an entire afternoon to go sit in Gaby’s school…in the end, what better therapy for another ‘fuzzle’ week?

I wish you all a wonderful week and finding fun even in the most nerving of situation lol