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Life Lesson

Inner Conversation


Many hands make beautiful work

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When I was a kid I read this West African grassland folklore; it was a story of four brothers who fought each other all the time. Their father who was distraught by their fighting called them to his hut one day. When they got to his hut, he gave them each a broom stick and told them to break it. Though confused, they easily broke the broom stick. He then gave them a whole bundle of broom sticks tied into a broom and asked them to break it. For minutes they tried to break the broom to no avail. He then told them the reason they could not break it was because with greater number of broom sticks, the broom had more strength. He then applied it to them saying divided they would fall apart, but united they cannot be easily defeated.

Recently, i came across this  mind blowing story which took me on a journey to my childhood.
These kids are an example of the change we need. As youths under the burden of unemployment, i believe if we took each others hands and ran as a group; we would spark a revolution beyond our imagination. We have the numbers, energy and zeal on our side. Instead of spiting over worn politicians, together we could create for ourselves and be our own voices. Sometimes we need to put aside self interest and realize we have more to benefit when we look at the big picture. 'I can do things you cannot, you can do things i cannot; together we can do great things, Mother Theresa' The easiest way to win in this world is to be part of a team. As youths in this era; networking, creation of discussion forums, formation of business alliances, harnessing creativity collaboratively; are the tools we have at our disposal for change. Your talent, idea can get lost on your own; but the masterpiece produced from a colorful blend of ideas and initiative will be a marvel to the world.The most successful communities function on a 'no one is left behind' policy. If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. A family or country does not need to be perfect, it just needs to be united. Like kwame Nkrumah, I believe I am an African not because I was born in Africa, but because Africa was born in me.

If you think you think you are too small to change the world, then you haven't spent the night with a mosquito



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As humans, irrespective of where we were raised; there is a culture of prejudice, hate and blame that follows us at some point of our lives. We are born into families, communities and even countries that may fail us in one way or another. As we grow older, about 80% of us get trapped in the box of victimization. A victim by definition is someone who has been hurt, harmed, or tricked. At one point or so in our lives we will be “victims”. We live in an environment where evil is recycled every day. No one is born evil, same as no one is born perfect. The societies in which we are born teach us what to tolerate and what not to tolerate. Children emerge into the world unafraid, with an innocent creative mind ready to explore the world. However before they go through adolescence, they learn fear then creativity alongside innovation disappears.

I am a Cameroonian. In my life so far, I have encountered a lot of self labeled “victims”. Heck i used to be one. I have seen women endure physical abuse from boyfriends and even their husbands. It is distasteful that they find consolation in putting on the “victim” label and staying under that abuse. Students are condoning sexual molestation from lecturers. We use our complexions, our nationality, our genders, our heights, educational background, handicap and our religion as posters on our foreheads justifying why we are victims. Sometimes we play the victim card to feel good about ourselves and avoid taking responsibility for our lives. It has been psychologically proven that persons who endure continuous abuse teach themselves to love the abuse as a coping mechanism.

We grow up blaming everyone but ourselves for our choices. This is bitter to swallow. Trust me, I would know. For many years I played the victim card. Get over it. Whether you believe it or not; what you have to be and can be is totally up to you.

Do not be surprised your whole life can float right before your eyes with you fighting to decide who is to blame. 

Families are falling apart; relationships are broken daily; our nation cannot grow because it is easier pointing fingers than taking responsibility. If what is most important to you is deciding who gets the blame or who is wrong, then you get my pity vote…yes my pity vote. People, who gladly want to be victims, hold pity as trophies. I do not know what you have been through in your life. I do not know who hurt or wronged you.You may not have deserved it, but it happened. It is okay to cry, it is okay to hurt; that shows you are human. I woke up years ago to realize everyone was moving on, but I was left behind at the same spot because I was holding on to my excuses and blames as an anchor. After realizing I was responsible for my life, and that no one could victimize we without my consent; I transitioned from victim to survivor. It was difficult, because for the first time I had to take responsibility for my decisions and decision I permitted others to make for me.

 Victims will breed criminals, rapists, corruption and even murderers. We see this every day. People justify robbery, murder, rape, and even human trafficking by using the Victim clause. Oh I have to rob because the government does not give us jobs, or we are stealing what has been stolen from us. Oh I rape women because my mother abused me or my mother did not love me.I am treating my partner badly, because some girl broke my heart fifteen years ago. Why should i send my child to school, my parents did not send me to school? I can never do anything for Cameroon because it did nothing for me. Why should I give a student and A grade? If my teachers at University of Yaounde had given me an A grade, I could have gone further in life than this.  And so it goes, and evil is recycled every day. 

Survivors can break that cycle. A survivor realizes that the person that hurt them had a choice and chose what was wrong. The fact that someone made a bad choice in dealing with me does not compel me to do the same in dealing with others. A survivor is a rape victim who goes out to teach others how they can avoid situations where they can get raped or get help if they are raped. A survivor is woman who decides to be free of a physical abusive relationship and decides she will make sure no woman she knows should endure the same. A survivor is a kid raised in an abusive home who becomes a loving and receptive parent. A survivor is someone who serves a jail term and comes out determined to start new and help youths stay out of crime. 

Believe it or not we are more drawn and committed to helping people and communities we can identify with. Our suffering opens our eyes to the suffering of others. If you have worn my shoes, you definitely know where it pinches. Let your predicaments in life give you a voice and not take away your voice instead. It is easier being a victim than a survivor. Sometimes the demons you leave behind will come knocking on your door. To create a better Cameroon, and beat this economy; we need survivors and not victims. I wake up every day of my life fired up with new energy, because I am a survivor and not a victim. Are you a victim or a survivor? I am a survivor and this is my voice...
love you...God bless Cameroon! God bless the world!


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About a year ago, I stumbled on the old beautiful TV show titled Good Times. I was quite intrigued by this show. Like the Jeffersons, when we were black, that’s my mama and other old shows it had a powerful message. Though it was a comedy, it told a sad realistic struggle of a black family in the Ghetto whose sole ambition was to get out of the ghetto and find a better life. I found myself engrossed in this show because it told a story me and many of my Cameroonian brothers and sisters can relate to. In Cameroon, the lives of most people are a picture of Good Times. There is an everyday struggle to progress from poverty to a better life.Parents take up regular jobs, farming and petty businesses on the side. Youths are pursuing education now than ever before. Music, arts, and fashion are gradually growing. We are trying to embrace whatever we think will get us out of our “Ghetto” situation of life. No matter how many times we try and fail; we are holding on to that small glimpse of hope, that our level will change some day. Some will get there, but some will die trying.

Things have even gotten so bad that Bush falling (moving abroad) has actually become an aspiration for most young Cameroonians. The means of doing so does not matter, as long as the goal is achieved. 

I applaud those Cameroonians who survived the teeth of misfortune to be of great fortune. You are an inspiration to many. However, a sad question comes to mind “Do you look back?” A powerful quote I got from the Good Times was “Just because you got out, does not mean you should forget those who got stuck behind.” A wise man once told me there were three important things in life; knowing where I come from, knowing who I am and knowing where I am going. While you live in your air conditioned houses abroad, do you ever pause to look back? We have people die every day at our hospitals back home and we have unemployed Cameroonian specialists abroad. Our universities need professors and we have great scholars working in shopping malls abroad. Even back home I have watched people who have crossed the margin of poverty turn back to rub their wealth in the face of people they were once like. With all the problems we have in our country, we are more interested in building a caste system. I do not discourage Cameroonians moving abroad, or making it big at home. On the contrary, I applaud it as a means of empowerment so one can one day look back and give back.

I am challenging myself and other Cameroonians in the battle to cross over the margin of poverty. When you get to the other side, remember; “Just because you got out does not mean you should forget those stuck behind.” If you have made it abroad, look back at your country. If you made it in the city, remember your local community. No one demands you become Father Christmas. You could look back and give through talks, seminars, health sensitization, university lectures, community service, mentoring and an occasional donation where you dim fit. Do not join the vast majority who feel too good to look back and identify with their roots. I greatly appreciate the great men and women who took a break from their comfortable lives to give back to us. Give someone a fighting chance by looking back and lending a helping hand…Thanks…God bless Cameroon


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You could live on a wish

Or you could swim like a fish

You could live on a speech

Or you could be what you preach

You could live on excuses

And you could outgrow abuses

You could live as a pun

Or you could shine like the sun

You could be a fool

Or choose to be a tool

You could run and hide

Or you could stand and fight

You could lie down and cry

Or spread your wings and fly

There is choice

And it is yours

The world owes you nothing

You owe yourself something

Poem by Hilda S. Ndenecho


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Today I woke up depressed. I stayed in bed calculating my problems. I laid there thinking and thinking. I thought about what I was studying, the project I was working on, and I worried if I would be taken into the masters program I had applied to. I then studied and went into town to pick up groceries. I go home to cook some food and while cooking I was listening to the news. Something about the whole day so far got me into a conversation with myself.

On the news was this Ethiopian man who was migrating to Saudi Arabia through Syria and had gotten severely burnt by a bomb blast. His lung and skin had been deeply burnt. There was a man whose every single breath was painful. I had woken this morning to breathe with ease. I was in school; I have things I could work on. I had my legs intact and I could go to the mall and had money to shop for groceries.

Yes my life is not perfect. Yes I do have many things that do make me sad. However, I realized the things I have that I worry about are gifts others lack. Someone out there may be worried about not having water at all and am worried if the water I have is clean enough. Someone hasn’t eaten in days and I am worried if my food tastes good. Someone has never worn a shoe in their life and I am worried if my shoes are of the latest fashion. Hilda what are you worried about? How important are those worries? I just realized I am being selfish. The selfishness we carry in our individual lives is representative of what is going on in the world. Above the color of skin, where we come from and all the lies the media wants to paint; the bottom line is the problem with this world is selfishness.

Selfishness is about me. Selfishness is having the world and pulling scraps out of the mouths of those who have nothing. Selfishness is consciously subduing someone else in order to create a gap of power. Selfishness is gaining image and prestige at the expense of starving and killing innocent children. How much do we throw away, how much do we waste on ourselves? What values are we passing to the next generation? Are we going to teach our kids that it is perfect to grab all you can even if it means walking over the weak? The media and the new movement of the world are creating hoarders instead of sharers. The philosophy of ‘ME’ will create wars, violence and crime. The world is a community of individuals and not individuals in a community. Selflessness will break the barriers of culture, color and religion. As long as you bleed as I bleed and cry as I cry; I should be able to share your pain.

I am on a journey to leave beyond the bounds of me. In these hard times as we live from day to day. Please do remember those who need what might appear as nothing to you. Someone is one word away from a suicide; someone is one hug away from breaking down. Let us look beyond ourselves and bridge the gap.


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