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Life Lesson

Inner Conversation



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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