Tag Archives: Cameroon

I am a proud sickle cell voice thanks to my heroine Arrey Echi


Hello world, the first two pictures were taken at her house in Yaounde, and the third one in my own house in Douala.

I am talking about my heroine Arrey Echi’s house lol. Now, here is who my heroine is in a few words;

She is a gentle and caring soul. She lives with sickle cell anemia and she is a warrior. Recognized both nationally and internationally for her advocacy, she has received quiet some awards for her work. She is currently setting up her foundation aptly called Joy2Endure, and those t-shirts are part of her branding and advocacy material. Ah, I could write a whole book about Arrey Echi.

I happened to have gone to the same university with Arrey, but hmm…where will a chakara like me meet a gentle lady like Arrey if not through our respective online advocacy? We’ve been following each other like for a year now, and we even ran into each other at an event last November, but the time wasn’t right yet it seems. We acknowledged each other and continued our friendship online.

Two weeks ago I decided it was time to go visit her when I got to Yaounde. It was an awesome visit. We had just 30 or so minutes together in her office, and it was hard to say goodbye. Indeed, we agreed when next I was in Yaounde I was staying with her. Here was my recap on facebook lol;

Marie Abanga is feeling blessed with Arrey Echi and 2 others.

21 September at 11:10 ·

I have been following all her advocacy here on FB and didn’t really want to write anything until I met her. The conference I had to attend in Yaounde and hopefully spend a night at her place eating one of her healthy and deli dishes she sometimes tempts us here with, was suddenly postponed. Gladly another opportunity came up and Yaounde I did have to go. I braved the 8hrs trip because above all I was going to meet my heroine. Her voice left me mesmerized, we just got into each other. We both don’t hear so well and so we enjoyed reading our lips and using our hands lol. I am a passionate advocate of some causes too and so I love meeting other passionate advocates like her. And to say we were UB mates? Well chakara me couldn’t meet calm and focused people like her there. And to think I was dreaming she could be my petite soeur because of her petite self and gentleness? Lol see me to blush. Life has lessons. Am a proud student. What is there to fear about sickle cell? Follow my heroine Arrey Echi and be educated. Thank you darling for receiving me.

The opportunity came up while I honoured an invitation to the 2nd national days for Mental Health. I got to Yaounde on Monday and left her house on Thursday morning. She simply spoiled me and I wrote the following about her on Facebook.

Marie A Abanga is feeling grateful with Arrey Echi and 3 others.

Yesterday at 05:43 ·

Arrey Echi I will celebrate you from the mountain top because you are a remarkable person with a very warm heart. I am not saying this because of all the food you loaded me with (wish I could finish each of those plates however lol), I am saying this because of your gentle and caring nature. When someone in 2018, warms you water for your bath, you go on your knees and say a special prayer for them. You came back home early not feeling so great, but you still offered to fry some plums? Chai thank God I had already brushed my teeth and quickly went me to bed. This early am you asked me to wait for a quick breakfast or take along, ha mami, I couldn’t for the love of me accept that o. Now, the advocacy you do for Sickle cell is not just noise, I witnessed you eating balanced meals and sleeping good and co. You even thought me why it was VIP to know one’s genotype using a simple to understand diagram. Have I said before I am mesmerized by your voice? I wish I could stay longer and learn sign language like that other student of yours. Dearest Arrey, I will celebrate you now and not later. Thank you so much, and thank you too Yensi. Dearest Arrey then, hopefully see you next time in your office where there wouldn’t be all that food hahahaha.

Now, talking about being a Sickle voice, the food didn’t kill my voice hahaha. I learned why it is so vip to know our genotype and she used this diagram to explain that to me.

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I think I was lucky gambling into making babies without knowing my genotype. I will however get the boys and I tested cause one never knows, and for them, iy would be great knowing their genotype now and not when they fall ‘madly in love’ hahahaha.

Anyways, dear Arrey, I just wanted the world to know what a pearl I have found in you. All the excellent work you do to raise awareness, and that am adding my voice to your campaign and say, ‘No Sickle cell is not witchcraft’, people can live with sickle cell into a ripe old age, #NotoStigma

Happy weekend everyone

p.s; let me just mention that Arrey brought me so much popularity on Facebook with a total of over 170 likes and about 50 comments on all my write ups about her lol

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My participation at the 2nd national days for Mental Health in Cameroon


 

Hello world, well I knew I was going to have a hectic week, but I couldn’t tell how hectic it was going to really end up being. Fortunately I had a great weekend with my hood even if that equally left my feet crying fowl hahaha.

I left for Yaounde the city where the event was to take place on Monday by noon, and the trip this time around lasted 6 not 8 hours…thank you Lord. The next day Tuesday, the event started off only an hour late, a good sign if you ask me. Below was my Facebook summary about the morning session:

Day 1: Morning session 2nd National days for Mental Health under the theme “State of the art and perspectives in the wake of skills transfer in mental health”. (Translated by me so bear with me – our country may be bilingual in theory but not always in practice sadly so). Even though the event started an hour late, they got to cover all which had been marked for the morning session. There were speeches (4 to be precise) by the Director for health at the Ministry of Public Health, by the UNFPA Representative, by the WHO Representative, and lastly by the Minister of Public Health himself.

 

Rhetoric aside, I was very impressed with the testimony of two persons living with a mental illness, the Man lives with Schizophrenia and the lady, an IDP whose husband was kidnapped since 8 months today, lives with C-PTSD. A humourist also used his skills to drill us on basic notions of mental health, stressing the difference with mental illness and encouraging us all not to be ashamed of talking about mental health. There was also a 7 mins clip of some real life scenarios expect in the various conflict regions of the country, and some different causes of mental health challenges were looked at which led to more destructive behaviour like illicit drugs consumption leading to more distress and nervous breakdown.

The afternoon program promises to be more thematic with statistics on the current state of the art from the perspective of different stakeholders.

 

Day 2 was sort of my day and here is my recap as shared of Facebook once more lol:

Day 2: Morning session 2 national days of Mental Health Cameroon. Wow, what a morning. So much learned and I was called up to do a presentation of the organizations I represented, ie Gbm Foundation and GMHPN. So I had no camera man and below is the brief clip (sadly it seems clip failed to upload here and am damn tired to try via u-tube and etc) a friend of mine did as I was leaving the podium. You can all imagine what I share on, some personal experiences and the work of both the Gbm foundation and the GMHPN whom I represent in Cameroon. Charlene Sunkel I think we will get there, I made some great contacts. Thank you for the appointment and opportunity. Hopefully see you soon. Didier De Masso who did the facilitation, also did a great presentation in his capacity as HIFA representative in Cameroon, on the importance of making mental health information easily accessible to all. His recommendations on the need for more research grants for mental health, the creation of a national database of organisations and stakeholders in the sector and more, were highly appreciated. Care and Plan International also made presentations on their work on the field especially in the different conflict zones of the country. A lot is left to be done but the efforts so far are honestly commendable.

All in all, I had a great time both at the event and in the city of Yaounde itself. I made some very valuable contacts and am so proud of myself for the headway. I did stand my grounds to get an official invitation or nothing, and although I got that sort of last minute like on Friday, I went in somewhat hasty conditions and survived hahaha

 

Happy weekend everyone

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

Who just got appointed to the GMHPN Executive representing Cameroon?


 

GMHPN EXEC Committees
Is my face good somewhere there to the left directly under the founder’s? That’s an honour for me lol

And to think I almost gave up on the application procedure. Ah Determination, Discipline and Dedication pay big time. I am up to the task because I also have these 3 Ps to fly with.

I know this is yet another springboard for me and all the work I do for mental health awareness and my own self care; I equally know as a psychotherapist it is important to be in your ‘client’s shoes’ too as much as you can – and so I am super excited about this appointment and really know without a doubt this year is indeed my year of Grace.

Thank you all who have been here and there with me in my mental health journey, thank you all who have trusted me to help them help themselves in their own mental health journey. My appointment to the highly awaited GMHPN, is for Cameroon and I can’t hesitate to mention the HIFA Representative for Cameroon, my friend Didier Demassosso who passed on the call for applicants to me in the first place.

And while I brace myself emotionally to receive all the likes and congratulatory messages, may I encourage you to take a look at the GMHPN’s Newsletter for June right here, or for July right here; like our facebook page, and join our ever growing global community of mental health peers. If you would like to also join the Mental Health 237 facebook page I created, contact me here or if on facebook, inbox me…thank you very much.

Have a great week everybody and be inspired

To God be the Glory

A Lost Generation: Opiods and Young Adults submitted by Jake Belfry


When I created a page for addictions and recovery, I didn’t know I was going to be receiving many guest articles and resources.

When I did a 2 months internship at the lone public psychiatric ward in Douala the economic capital of Cameroon, 90% of the youths I received had an addiction to something – call it sex, drugs, opiods with the choice one being Tramadol. The youngest I saw was 13 years old and already looked like he could beat me up. Actually tried to fight with the bouncer oh my.

So today, I want to share a resource/guide sent my way by Jake Belfry the Addiction Outreach Specialists over at Silvermist in the USA. Silvermist recovery is a Young Adult Addiction Treatment in Pennsylvania, who pride themselves in: “Inspiring Hope Through Empowerment, Fellowship and Recovery from Addiction”.

The guide is a downloadable PDF that can be save and printed for guidance.

Here are a few topics in the guide:

  • Why Young People Use Opioids 
  • How Opioid Addiction and Dependence Develop
  • Opioid Addiction is Treatable

My other long term goal, I think this one beats the goal to create an hospice with a kindergarden for inter-generational healing, is to build an addiction and recovery center. Needless to say there are barely a handful to be generous (I know only of 2 in my city) and am happy I can be inspired by what works elsewhere such as at Silvermist.

Recovery is possible, I have been working one on one with someone spent over a month at the hospital and has been sober for 3 months now. This is the longest they have been since the started using over a decade ago. They have been hospitalized 3 times already but we all hope this time was their last time.

If you  or someone you know needs help with an addiction, especially our vulnerable youths exposed to just all sort of stuffs today, please reach out to someone or any of the many organizations available on the net.

I am ever grateful for all the submissions I receive especially those with a message of hope in their conclusion.

Formally introducing Marie Abanga the Clinical Psychologist and CBT Therapist


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How Grateful can I really be? Oh my oh my

 

Hello World,

It is getting more elaborate what I am up going to be up to in the second leg of my journey here on earth. I hope my God gives me an full opportunity to do all He is giving the Grace and Talents to do already so far.

One of the most awesome things I have undertaken and will be furthering my studies in, is clinical psychology alongside with CBT Therapy. It is possible to do and be all you dream of, and if you fall short of all that you will land in some place you’ll still appreciate and be very grateful for.

I am celebrating this other milestone with its own dedicated website, hmm am grateful for the sleepless nights in Belgium setting up my blog. The website is tougher but I could manage quiet some and did got some help too.

It is still a work in progress of course, but this is what I got so far and will seriously appreciate candid feedback.

Here is the address lol: https://www.marieabanga.com/

I am leaving the office now for a well deserved weekend, be inspired and motivated someone

Have a fabulous weekend us all

My once in a life time opportunity at the lone Psychiatric Ward as a clinical psychotherapist


 

 

Hi World, when you dare to follow your passion, with persistence and perseverance, it is a deep sense of fulfillment all the way – all the time. I bash you not but I am learning, loving and sharing so much in this once in a life time opportunity at the lone psychiatric ward in our city of Douala, Cameroon.

Needless to scare you with grueling details on say the numbers we receive each day, the number of shrinks available leaving out anything psychologist or therapist… nor the condition and resources of the ward… I got two months running from April 2nd – June 2nd 2018 and for that I simply put honoured, humble and happy. One of the first patients I saw wrote me a love letter on the eve of his departure and just yesterday another told me he was sad I was too beautiful for him. I mean isn’t this worth it?

You know, it wasn’t easy picking up psychology studies after I completed my CBT Training obtaining the first ever DISTINCTIONS note in my entire academic pursuit. But, and indeed, I was so motivated by this score and took an online diploma in psychology, dedicating close to 13 tough hours spread over two weeks, to have a merits score of 88%. Well there was lots of reading background too right? Anyway, below is what my records show:

Learner-Verification-Diploma in Psychology
Sharing just to inspire and motivate

I was now ready to for the once in a life time opportunity at the lone public psychiatric ward in my city, and considering the journey to get that opportunity, not even a nagging swollen eye nor any discouragement from ‘friends and foes’ could blur my vision.

I will just share a small portion of an email I sent to my soul family after two weeks at the ward:

April 20th: I call them my friends, I meet them before reading their records, most if not all have pure hearts marred by etc

Simply put, I am the first therapist seen there and I am fortunate to do it my own way. I am personal – calling names and not bed/room numbers; and I greeted and hugged a 19 year old girl and it meant the world to her. (She’s moved on to be my first ever private client, she is doing so well already and gladly her meds were revised … to read she’d been diagnosed with Schizrophrenia almost broke my heart)
Sadly, the meds culture is invading here and I have seen some zombies. But, many families don’t keep their patients here for more than a week because they don’t have money.
There is also quiet a high amount of addiction cases and I have already met and still work with 3 of them. Sad too many of their families have abandoned their patients and either care very less about them.
I generally see patients first and connect before reading their records, most records are filled with so much negativity and bias and bring out all things violent or pointing to need for incarceration and fierce treatment with ‘no mercy’ anti psychotic shots like haldol and valium oh my…
I take it in strides and many love me, indeed the lone bouncer there has started calling me to help him calm difficult patients ha. Some patients outright ask for me and some nurses too are not so pleased. But I go there only 3/week and the Major and Psychiatrist love me so and are so grateful I am there.
I mean, why would I pass on such a once in a life time opportunity to make a huge difference in my life and those of all these people hurting and suffering from all these debilitation, marginalization and stigmatization like my brother had, just because I am initially a lawyer and from a ‘noble profession and background?’

 

I have never doubted the intelligence my Almighty Father gave me. It is simply awesome all I sponge in, do, learn, love, share and embrace. No turning back for me, I embracing it all – all the way. His Amazing Grace is sufficient for me.

Gaby draws for a client

The boys are so proud of me and ask about my day. I tell them about my friends and sometimes they draw for them like Gaby did above for anty Love – she treasures that drawing and shows it off to everyone lol

Now, have you ever heard of an intern having an intern? Nadege above is a psychology major student who was sent to me on May 15th to train for two weeks before I leave. Here is a flash from our first day together. We took some pictures as she requested, and when she sent same to me, we had the following exchange (shared of course with her permission):

[14:08, 5/15/2018] Marie Abanga: Thanks for the pictures darling. Ravie de travailler avec toi (saying am happy to work with her)
[14:29, 5/15/2018] Nadege Psy: Don’t mention. Me too fière de bosser avec toi. Cette journée à été formidable (saying she is so happy too to work with me, and the day was a blast)

Our office is a hospital room, and we sometimes make a weary client to lie down for 15 minutes to the sound of some meditation music etc… we are out to help our friends as best as we can and am so happy to say I can give myself a 65% reach out. I go for walks with any I think need a walk or have that hot energy to burn out, I sit wherever with whoever, pray with them or sing or even just stare, hold hands, it’s all my spirit leading me. And it has indeed so done, I mean look at what one could manage to write on a worksheet I gave him

Another one who initially told me they don’t speak English, now greets me each morning as follows: “Hello lovely…” He gave me the large chocolate bar in the picture… many have given me little stuffs too, and it’s all so warm…

Be inspired and motivated with that passion and vision of yours regardless of your current circumstances or who says what around you. There is no doubt my just ended spiritual journey has fortified me bigtime for this once in a life time opportunity…

Happy midweek to all

When you say…I will say…


When you say I don’t know me anymore, I will say I can imagine how you feel…

When you say my mind is murky, I will say I can imagine how you feel…

When you say you can’t take it no more, I will say I can imagine how you feel…

When you say you had a miscarriage, I will say I can imagine how you feel…

When you say you just buried a child, I will say I can imagine how you feel…

When you say those kids drive me nuts, I will say I can imagine how you feel…

When you say I am having a divorce, I will say I can imagine how you feel…

When you say I left and lost everything, I will say I can imagine how you feel…

When you say I was abused and raped, I will say I can imagine how you feel…

When you say I want my life back, I will say I can imagine how you feel…

When you say I really need help, I will say I can imagine how you feel…

When you say am making progress, I will say I can imagine how you feel…

When you say thank you we did it, I will say thank you too we really did…

P.s: Excitedly looking forward to starting a new chapter of my life as a professional life coach and CBT therapist. One of my life coaches told me I had an impressive toolbox of personal experiences. I sure do and am grateful for those… I say the serenity prayer now more than ever…I see where all this is heading to…My long term goal with all this is to open ‘Marie’s Healing Home for inner peace’