Of Mentors, Workshops and Aunties

In 1995 I had my first surgery. I have had two more ever since. I don’t like hospitals very much. Maybe it is because of my condition. Meh.

Surgeries and Bus Trips

I was 5 at the time of my first procedure. I had to travel with my Mom from Bafoussam to Douala where my Auntie, my mother’s elder sister, lives.  I remember it as my first longest journey.I am horrible with maps and locations but I have done that journey for the past 7 years now and the average time is 4 and a half hours.

Imagine that with a 5 year old’s notion of time; that must have been months.

I also remember that before going to Douala, as the unwritten custom demanded, I needed to have a haircut. Something very funny happened at the barber’s . Sadly, this is not the day you find out.

It is only a few weeks ago that I came to discover that 1995 had more significance to me that I had held. That same year, I met someone who I will only come to meet again after 2013 (online through her blog), chat with (via Facebook), and respect (through various workshops including the one I will barely mention here).

My Auntie in Douala has four children. So does my mom. Actually, almost all my mom’s sisters have four children.

#Interesting

Anyway, when I was in Douala, my Auntie’s daughters were in college at the time.

I treasure the memories of my stay  there.The first song I learnt at home from the Cameroon Hymnal with Auntie Tina, and how Auntie Ju sneered at my day long hunger bouts.

I love those women.

I call them ‘Auntie’ because…well…they are really older than I am and I can’t afford to comfortably call them by first name.

Plus, they are more like mothers to me than cousins. In every way.

Now, in 1995, Aunty Ju and Auntie Tina were High School students at Our Lady Of Lourdes Secondary School; a respectable single sex boarding institution in the Northwest region of the Country.

Dear reader, we both know my stance on boarding schools.

Well, what I later came to find out was that my cousins were school mates with the person whose name just joined my list of mentors. And that she and I met during my stay in Douala.

 

Dear mentor, I don’t need your permission to take you as a mentor.

In 2012, I stopped my four years of Medical Laboratory Science studies and returned home. Sources say I was not motivated.

My reason is totally different. That, again, is another story.

My first week  in Bafoussam after my decision to quit school was a painful one. This is a euphemism: my parents were extremely displeased with my decision.

I started reading James Altucher’s blog that week. I have never stopped since. James became my mentor and taught me how to choose myself.

My father spares no effort at making his children comfortable.  If I am half the man he is, I would have a very proud family of my own. My father was my mentor before I even started walking.

That is probably why I swam the fastest.

Don’t smile.

Too late. 

Since 2007 I have been in Buea. I have watched the town grow as a tech hub and I have talked with a good number of entrepreneurs. Nara Lawrence of Wasamundi stands as my best bet for a future boss. He is one of the most inspiring minds I have met in my short life. Nara is my mentor.

Last year, I wrote a blog post pointing out the similarity between Stanley Enow’s hit single and a song by Chris Brown. At the time I was totally ignorant about music. I still am. It is thanks to people like Muriel Wondja and her blog that I have come to understand what Stanley Enow is actually selling. I love her blog and her drive. She blogs by night and probably works or studies by day. Find her on twitter #IamTeamMessyDawnForever #MyMentor

Richard Branson built Virgin Galactic from a school magazine. He IS a kick ass mentor…mine!

William Takor is one of the best designers I know. Maybe the only thing we have in common is a distaste for phonies (not unlike J.D. Salinger’s Holden C.). However, his designs and occasional articles inspire me.

I have a huge list of mentors. Probably one for every field of life.  This blog won’t be enough. But I will try to put them all down.

Just…not today.

Yefon Kathleen Mainsah went to school with my cousins .  She is the founder and editor of irepcamer.wordpress.blogspot.com. A chemical engineer turned social media pundit. 

No idea how that happened. 

She amazes me with her energy. I found out about our mutual family a few weeks back.

Ever since, I call her Aunty Yefon.  She deserves it.

Me and my Aunty Yef!

Me and my Aunty Yef!

 

 

Yesterday, she held a workshop for my department (Journalism and Mass Communication) at the University of Buea. It was themed: “Branding, Social Media and Blogging”.

You will not get a report about the workshop from me. Sorry, but as much as I have been trained in news writing, I do not enjoy the activity. I find it too factual and boring.

I prefer this: Yefon Mainsah would make an awesome mentor. I know because she is mine.

(Shhh…She doesn’t know)

 

Workshops and Other Light Mares.

At Amphi 150 E at the University of Buea

At Amphi 150 E at the University of Buea

While Aunty Yefon spent some time resting, the electricity was cut off. We were still setting up the hall because of some red tape induced misunderstanding.

No lights! A nightmare for any speaker right?

Well, not for Aunty Yef.

In her slightly hoarse voice she said:” It’s Okay. Let’s start with a discussion”.

In the heat of the discussions.

In the heat of the discussions.

Energetic, optimistic, loud (in an endearing way), cultured, bold and…wait for it…pretty short!

Yep. For all what she has accomplished, and plans to, Aunty Yefon just confirms the rule:

Do not mess with the short people. They are deadly when set to accomplish a goal.

Did someone say Napoleon? Or Stalin?

I feed on positive energy. And the whole of yesterday, I was euphoric. The hall too seemed to be. The students were strangely interested in finding out a lot of stuff. One question even had a clause:

“Are you married? If yes then…”

I guess the curious cat resurrected in Amphitheater 150 E.

Oh…and did I say she was generous? Yeah…always walking around with gift bags for ‘the proactive ones’.

When I talk to an entrepreneur, I feel lights in my brain… I feel like I am high.

Yep. I know because I have been high before and it is awesome. You just don’t want to be all the time. Life sort of passes you by.

Plus, it is supposed to be an experiment, not a lifestyle.

LSDs? Steve Jobs anyone?

I was high yesterday. Not because of the workshop.

Ok. Fine. It was because of it. I…hum…stole the presentation. I was too happy enjoying the hall I barely paid attention. What would you have me do?! Skip on the opportunity?

You Pharisee…!

Checkout the poster I did:

My Non-designer's design

My Non-designer’s design

 

I hope we will have more of these. I think the English speaking Cameroonians need a larger online presence in the form of blogs. Especially younger and more passionate bloggers.                                  Auntie Yefon agrees: 

“Don’t tell them to start blogging, just say ‘write online’. The term ‘blogging’ seems to scare them”.

Thank you for reading. I would be glad if I could get your comments.     And oh…if you’re on Facebook or Twitter, let’s chat.

See you around.

T.  Kamga.

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15 comments

  1. Aw…
    I wasn’t expecting that, im speechless… Thank you, this is probably one of the most beautiful story ive read lately. And Im not saying it because there’s my name in it lol (well… Lol). I think its important to take some time and talk about all the people we admire and can get inspiration from, really this is great… And im discovering so many great people, thank you so much!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. U know i always got a coment. Yefon is definitely my blogging mentor. Learned alot from reading and following her.
    Having a mentor is good and knowing how and when to use them is even better.
    Your definitely on the path to success

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s my big sis @Yefon Mainsah…missing her already in Houston! Yes and in addition to being such an intelligent lady, she has a heart of gold and is such an awesome person. I agree with you about her mentorship. Confession; only started reading from where I saw her picture. I wasn’t going to read this now, but couldn’t resist finding out what you wrote about her. I promise to come back and read the rest of the article later(wink).

    AT

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are right about her oh! I am learning a lot. But eh…I beg read the whole post THEN post corret comment. I dey wait. ( Thanks for half-reading though. :))

      Like

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