P.s: These poems will be part of my “Serene Soul” collection, inspired by the healing, closure and acceptance am finding while studying the book High Tide Low Tide… By an awesome twosome Martin Baker and Fran Houston… Can’t thank them enough
My first lecturing gig was at the Pan African Institue for Development West Africa, in Buea South West Region Cameroon. That town hosts the famous Mount Cameroon and the School is not far from the foot of the mountain. SO yes it gets pretty ‘winter – like’ cold up there especially for someone like me with rhumatoid arthritis.
So, when you brave it there twice a week for two months; catching a good cold and fever along the way, leaving your city at 6 am to be there by 10 am ahead of a 4 hour lecture regardless of how you feel about that ‘calvary’ – and then a year later you get such an sms from a former student who also interned with your foundation, how else can you feel but super motivated to keep trying your very best?
March 10, 2017
From Sidoine Felix Paid-Wa and later Gbm intern
“Hey good day Mm. Long time trust you are fine. Sincerely permit me express my gratitude to you for all the invaluable knowledge and support you gave me during my stay with you. I can’t believe this but its true and happening. Since I left Douala I have been very engage in project proposal writings here. And Mm, the projects we work out together have been my guide and masterpiece in all the ones I am writing now. And guess what??? People are praising and appreciating the format and maturity of the project proposals. I haven’t done much but to contextualize these projects using what you thought me with. And sincerely I can’t go any further but to express my gratitude and joy. Thank you very much Mm. Hope the boys are all fine. My regards to them please”.
And as coincidence will have it, I was in Buea on that day for some work and had actually planned on checking on him – cause sure we have kept in touch. I offered him lunch and we had a good 45 mins of inspiring and quality time.
Such and many others from the others I have taught in my own city since then, keep me grounded and so motivated. The second batch I taught (and by grace they are all asters students) voted me the best lecturer they had ever had, and invited me to their end of year party, offering me a gift… it was all so emotional. I love teaching, sharing knowledge, relating with the students at any point, and simply trying to teach better than I was taught. I actually let them teach us all too and I have also learnt so much along the way. I actually dragged my mumps face to class last Sunday and braved an 8 hour lecture.
I have as often as I can told the lecturers who impacted me most that I was so grateful. I have visited a few who taught me even 15/20/30 years ago and oh my that made our day. Before I started teaching, I had a talk with my best undergrad lecturer and she inspired and motivated me along. Today, I consider teaching one of my top passions.
Is there any lecturer in the house? How do you feel about your work? Any student too? Have you ever thought how a small appreciation from you could mean the world to your lecturer? Much more than any salary raise? I have as often as I can told the lecturers who impacted me most that I was so grateful. I have visited a few who thought me even 15/20/30 years ago and oh my that made our day.
Dear World, something is coming up in my city next Friday the 16th and am super excited about it. I got so passionate and when I was contacted to find out if I could graciously go on TV and promote the event, I said yes – I mean this is the first of its kind I am hearing about in this country, I am a returnee and oh am excited to go on a red carpet and dance all night long 🙂
So let me promote it here again – maybe even only for the haters I have so far ignored:
THE RETURNEES – INTERNATIONAL NETWORKING CONFERENCE AND GALA :FridayDecember 16th 2016 : St John’s Plaza Bonapriso
Tickets available in Douala699-989-474 and Buea694-232-409
A 12 hour networking and gala night in the affluent city of Bonapriso, Douala, Cameroon that will bring together a selected network of doers within the Cameroonian community at home and abroad through The Returnees Project umbrella.The Returnees project is aimed at unifying the nation’s human and capital resources on a platform that will easily be accessible for all. The team has brought together entrepreneurs, investors, educationists, leaders and passionists in several disciplines who are committing to exchange and share thoughts, ideas and network for the betterment of their respective communities and/or operations.
This special night will be graced by music artists, comedy artists, motivational speakers, seasoned entrepreneurs, investor groups and leading patrons in several disciplines who will come to exchange resources with all present.
Before posting what one hater wrote on my facebook, let me post what the Returnee team wrote on my facebook… I don’t even know the lady who created the project and have never spoken to her, but come on I love her project:
“We from the Returnees Team are happy to share this passion with you and thanx again for representing US on TV Marie AbangaMarie A AbangaDec 16th is definitely a Rendez vous not to miss!!!!!!”
And now what one of those haters wrote if I can find it: – it was in French: – ok the network isn’t good for me to search well…
She wrote like ‘You are too old to be excited like a high school kid’ hmm, I don’t even know her and I think maybe she’s one of those stray miserable stalkers or what generous empathetic phrase can I use?
Anyway, am just sharing my newest passion via my blog and just felt like adding that stuff about haters… I really don’t have time for them… never have had to deal with anyone of them either here on my blog or any social media platforms… but I have read of their harassment of others to the point of some blogs being taken down… so if you are a hater or potential hater and do read this post, please know I wounldn’t give you any more of my precious time than I have done on this post… any hateful comments I will just delete as usual and move on…
Thanks all for reading and have a nice weekend… do you have some tips for dealing with haters?
Although I humbly think this beautiful and profound memoir by Riva is slightly overdue, I commend her dedication, despite her hectic schedule, to finish it and share it with the world.
Indeed, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the other main protagonist in this memoir, in her soulful Foreword, encourages us all to read Choosing the Hero: “It tells my story from the special perspective of a woman who knows me well and was with me at every stage of the journey – a woman to whom I will always be grateful.” I know of no other more befitting endorsement of such a work. The President actually mentioned in that same foreword that Riva even believed in her much more than some of her closer entourage at one point – in short, Riva never gave up on her although she tried and failed twice before making it to the Liberian Presidency in 2005, amidst all odds and breaking the ‘tremendous taboo’ that no woman could be President in Africa.
So how did these two brilliant, brave, strong headed, strong willed, dynamic, dedicated, determined, and above all, disciplined women from worlds apart, cross paths? Riva was from the US, with her multidimensional background, upbringing, and career, while Ellen was from far off poor, shady, gloomy and poverty cum conflict stricken tiny Liberia in Africa. I have come to conclude that their personalities had a ‘spiritual magnetism’ and caused them to chose each other.
Riva is largely convinced she chooses Ellen Johnson Sirleaf because she saw in her a Hero. In her own words, thought out way back in 1996 when she first met Ellen Johnson in her office at the UN: “… a new thought that is just beginning to take root and grow: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will make history. She will change the world. I don’t know how she will do it, or what it will entail. But I know that I want to help her. I want to come along on that journey. I want to work for Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.” I think that is where the choosing started. Eventually when she had the opportunity to be interviewed by Ellen Johnson, she was determined that that not even her five months old pregnancy was going to stand in her way. Riva reflects rightly at that point that she’s facing yet again the primary tension to her job: “needing to work for the clients who pay, while being drawn to the clients who inspire.” She knew Mrs Sirleaf had limited resources and relied on her personal savings with dignity and integrity, but that was what made her Hero more appealing.
And so it came to be that Riva didn’t only help her Hero, by working and supporting Ellen Johnson Sirleaf all the way through defeats, exiles, and eventual victory ten years later, but she actually got into some serious politicking and lobbying on Capitol Hill, most of it pro bono. Riva narrates this challenging but soulful journey, the different rejections and humiliations she faced in working with and for her Hero, recalling a time when she was told outright: “it’s a traditional society, a woman can never be president.”
One will read with hints of irony how the warlord Taylor, who had several times threatened grandmother Ellen’s life, ended up himself depending on her executive decision as president if he should be tried by the Special Court for the Sierra Leone. Another amusing fact in her memoir is the ‘play press’; both regional and international, who in the beginning were definitely not having anything to do with covering Ellen and her campaign. Once she was declared the victor over “King Leah” their proclaimed ‘winner’, they were in Monrovia overnight pleading for a spot with Madam President.
Riva’s memoir is captivating and hard to put down. Brilliantly narrated with some hints of her soulful family dynamics, her impressive and resourceful Oma, all the way through to Bagdad, Libya, and Somalia, where some of her most dangerous assignments were undertaken.
I commend Riva above all for making her memoir a fluent, easy, and interesting read. I equally appreciate that her opening scene is in Norway, where her Hero and two other dynamic and exemplary women laureates of that year’s Nobel Peace Price are honoured with their awards.
Indeed, Riva made the right choice in choosing her Hero. She is now a part and parcel of one of those ‘traditional African families’, and so gets her VIP pass to the ground breaking inauguration of President Sirleaf in 2006 and much more. Riva has also witnessed tremendous personal and professional developments and she now thinks her Hero is also her new Oma.
In light of all the above, I can only honestly and modestly conclude my review by adding my own tiny call to that of our very first African Female President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, that this book should be read by all and sundry – you will not regret it.
About the Author:
K. Riva Levinson is the founder, President and CEO of KRL International LLC. Over the past 25 years, Ms. Levinson has earned a reputation as sought-after strategist managing international policy issues.
A front-page profile in The Hill, a prominent Washington newspaper, said Riva Levinson “…has been in trickier spots and taken up more daunting causes than all but a few other lobbyists in town.” A recent Financial Times article described Ms. Levinson’s reputation in advocacy as “formidable.”
He started drawing as all kids probably do, on the walls, tables etc. I thought it was the nursery school era. When he’ll see me coming with that reproachful look, he’ll immediately say in french: Mama est jolie ( Mama is beautiful). I mean for a child who spoke with some difficulty, how could you go on to scold him after such a sweet statement?
He later migrated to flowers for mama and then boats and houses.
This son of mine, David my Shepherd and King, is that artist and serene me. I just don’t want to overdo or miss out on anything if you get my point. But I sure want to encourage him all I can especially if his passion and talent is still around in a few years.
Please my e-family, what’s your take? Thanks in advance and all the best…
You know back in those days of the stone age right? Well we retained at least one of those precious inventions 🙂
You call it out there a blender or mixer etc. Where the tomatoes, pepper and spices are ground using electricity.
Here, we still do it manually on a stone. That item is still so precious in our African cuisine that it would be a bad omen for a bride not to bring one along 🙂
My sports keep those arms ready to grind me stuffs with passion. My mama and her mama and all them before, allege that spices ground on that stone taste far better than those from the whiteman’s appliance. Don’t ask me, maybe get yourself a stone and do your own experiment 🙂
Ainsi va ma nouvel vie au pays. Please google translate, I am as bilingual as my country is alleged to be hahahaha
Dear World, my best friend and I have recently decided to do sort of a final Belgian tour. So our first trip was to Spa.
This is emm a great place in this country, it has the best Formula 1 track in the World. To its record also, we have this Thermes de Spa (which our steel budget prevented us from visiting anyway). But we could pay a euro to go into the museum and see for ourselves the bathtub in which the Tsar Peter from Russia is alleged to have spent 6 months in 1900 to be healed from some ailement. He was purged only with the water both through his mouth and his behind 🙂 We however tried drinking so much of the free spring water called Spa too, but we only ended up with a rumbling tumbling tummy 🙂
Next day, we headed to a locality – Beersel, very close to Brussels to visit this Mid-Age Castle: I mean, it was wow wow wow walking in there, and entrance fee was 3 euros:
Third day, Dinant here we come. Hmm please google this city out I bet you!
and sure, we went up to that citadel and on a brief cruise
She took me these:
and yes my T-Shirt reads J’aime La Vie. I have come a Looooooong way and I’m Happy 🙂
Then day 4 was to visit Leuven where the phenomenal Catholic University is found with all those breath taking buildings. I mean sometimes the view is so fascinating you don’t have steady hands to take picture:
the evening of this particular day, saw us go check downtown Brussels with another great friend. I proudly rocked my T-Shirt sent by Julie from the US
Day 5 Belgian National Day 21st July – Liege and Brussels for Fireworks
I only now see why I missed going on this trip yesterday. A cousin called me last minute to say he was coming in from Paris at 3 pm, and I cancelled my trip to pick him up and host him a few hours. He was one of my Men of the US Adventures. And here is why today’s outing to Liege was special:
Dear gentle readers and followers, sure I am, and now my best friend and I, are wanderers and somehow we meet kind people in our lives all the time. My Ss Hero gave me some train tickets, and I have monthly Bus and Subway subscriptions I am itching to maximize. Now the other deal is, I have come to realize that money is not everything and love, joy, passion, happiness…, have no price tag. Above all, it just dawned on me to stop wasting my time looking for a best friend out there when one had always been there inside me, neglected for so long 🙂 We have one or two more places to visit, and yes a trip to Germany this very day at 10 am. And you, any treats to share? Who’s is your Best Friend?
Wow world, I am super excited I finally bought my dream shoes. You know there are shoes you wear because they are chic. Those you wear because they are appropriate for the ocassion – say like sneakers for the gym or heels for… But I have always dreamt about buying the above. This time around, I was so determined that I got the lone blue pair (my fav colour ) even though a size bigger for me. And now thanks for the sales season, I got them for a wonderful 12 euros 🙂
My darling dream born of envy
My brother used to have these shoes and I just envied both he and the shoes. We call them German sandals. Ironically I buy them a few weeks to going there 🙂
So, I will be full of envy and her sister jealousy, when my brother will wear his so easily and up to go german sandals. I could tell they were also comfy. I don’t know why momma never thought of buying me one too. I recall buying some for my boys later on in life, even for X H. But I don’t know why I was yet to get one for myself. Maybe caring what people will say? Then when I got to Belgium, and was thinking of finally getting one to wear and go visit my brother, he passed on.
And now, my beautiful dream shoes have been with me since I got them 3 days ago; I remove them only to sleep. Yes that’s a dream come true for me…
Am making the best of my last days out here, some serious perspectives and retrospectives…
I keep being graced. I received an amazon coupon with which I got the first wrist watch of my choice. I mean I have received watches since my childhood, but I don’t recall buying myself one especially of this caliber. Sometimes you buy for others almost all the time and hardly for yourself. Well, I have done just that lot of my life, and I have received just so much from others too.
Dear gentle readers and followers, sometimes we take things for granted which may just be another’s precious dream. What makes you happy, may mean not a damn to another. Yet we must not stop dreaming or tell others they dream too big or too small right? Well, I spent another wonderful evening just watching a movie outdoor organized by the townhall. Entrance was free and yet I had never found the time to go watch them. Say another small dream fulfilled…? Even the envious and jealous rain was not going to deter, nor another glitch with the bike 🙂
I have recently been asked a lot of questions on why I do, say or think about one thing or the other especially with regards to my near ‘ackward’ mental health advocacy. I gladly link two helpful posts from a blogging pal. Sure I have her permission to do.
Anyway, the above post captures a lot of the why I do whatever I do in my advocacy for which ever cause I se out to. Currently, and for preferable the rest of my life, my number one passion is mental health advocacy. I don’t have to be a ‘seriously mentally ill’ or whatever, to speak out this voraciously (which I don’t even think I do yet).
And then, another person even asked me what was the point in doing all this research now when it can’t save my brother? I told him I did it for myself and with the hope that it saved someone’s brother or loved one.
And so another of Timi’s post equally helps me say more about my motivation. It is about fire, desire and passion or in any order. Read it, there is some to make you smile and ponder.
Gosh, I would have succumbed long ago if I didn’t read as much, get inspired by other’s stories, and now be very motivated to help others too as much as possible. I have done several post on my heros and heroines, and lots of stuffs which kept me afloat as I crossed the deserts and climbed the mountains in this life of mine.
With this, I wish you gentle readers and followers of mine a great weekend.
My thrilling life as a single mum, author, coach, mental health advocate & CBT Therapist
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