My life as a student

With eight years spent largely in a University, I have some interesting accounts to share.

On scammers, average people, and bettors.

A. I played Parifoot exactly three times. I won the first time. I bet 500frs and got 35,000Frs. I still feel the dopamine rush when I think of that memory. I told the lady who gave my prize money:

” Remember this face, you’ll be seeing it often”

She never saw me again. Three years ago.

If you can predict anything , successively, for many days in a row, you are probably not a human being. Go back to your mothership.

Why would I, or anyone , think I can know whether Messi would score within the first half of a match? Because of statistics? Because of previous match results.

Wait.

I don’t know if we ever think of how stupid it really is to bet on the likelihood of ANYTHING, happening. The only thing I am certain of (apart from the fact that I am certain that I am not certain of anything), is that one day, I will die. That’s it.

Betting, should be a sin. (Thank heaven I did’t write the book ( now that I mention that, it probably IS in the big book. And that last statement expresses my lack of religious education. Sheesh. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot))

Solution: The passion we have for football could be directed towards-

1. Writing critical football blogs that could generate revenue for their owners while exposing the loopholes of our “national” sport and providing a transparent arena for leadership, checks and balances.

2. Organising interurban football games sponsored by “multinationals” like MTN ( and why not FIFA?) that would see the next Eto’o come to light.

3. Make a TV show or movie showcasing the struggle of a rising football star. Employ screen writers who are passionate and know the game.

4. Make a quarterly magazine covering national and local football that would encourage Sports writing and constructive fanship.

5. Garner resources to build outdoor viewing ( and even Cinemas) for shared viewing among fans.

6. You get my point.

B. I’ve never known how scamming works. I have heard rumours and whispers. I have but one simple image of the idea: fool someone into giving you money for something you don’t have a.k.a theft. Period.

I’m a big believer in Karma. And that we get what we deserve. My conscience is a biatch. Seriously. I can’t owe you and sleep. I can’t steal. I can’t lie.

I mean…I try…but the pain I feel. Bro, I just can’t keep it. Plus, when you lie, you need to remember the lie.

(Note: I think that is why I love poetry and fiction. I get to write things you will never understand in the name of art. But if you did, you’d see it’s just perfumed truths. I suppose you’ll now go through all my blog posts huh? See ya face.)

Here are a couple of traits I think could be repurposed ( or is it rehabilitated?) from Scammers:

1. Salesmanship: it takes a load of skill to sell anything. Do you know the skill it takes to sell something you don’t have? AND GET PAID FOR IT? Kudos bro! Kudos Sis! Seriously. You could sell anything ANYTHING! if you so chose to.

2. Negotiation: If you’ve read any entrepreneurship listicle, you must have come across this one. Talking on the phone, changing intonation to suit the audience, verbal skills…a scammer is a born negotiator. Give him/her a deal and watch the clients wet themselves.

3. Persistence: If scammers got rich on the first few takes, I don’t think we’ll be hearing about them anymore. It must mean they try and fail. Try, and fail. Until they win. Then try again. Can’t you see the entrepreneur staring at you in them?

4. Again, I’ll stop here.

Note: I was scammed a couple of months ago. And it sucked. It was one of the worse points of my life. Don’t think for one second I am in love with scammers. Karma is a bitch. And she will get what she wants. Or not. Who cares? You’re making my day by reading this. Screw scammers. Right?

C. I strongly believe that everyone is born with a gift. That the Lord sends each of us with a purpose. It is now the job of our parents to guide us to it, and soon, very soon, it becomes our job to identify and nurture it to perfection.

Most people spend their lives being the best average person at a talent they might have. Not why they were sent here in the first place.

I know this too well. One year in Biochemistry. Three in Medical Lab Sciences. You know my story drill. Until recently, I have fought with my real nature. What I wanted. Who I was. And what I was good at.

And especially, what I wasn’t good at. Here’s my illustration of the pain we go through trying to be who can never be:

Let’s imagine we are in a race. All of us. We are racers. Some of us are born with the lungs that permit us last longer. Some with longer strides. Others, with better muscles for springing.

Now, if you were born to jump, why would you bother to race? Why would you, because your dad was a professional racer, practice every day in order to be an average racer?

If only you put half of your practice into the the talent you came to this earth for- jumping- do you have any idea how high you could get?

Stop wasting time. Stop racing. Start.

Start jumping bro.

P.S: Or sis. 🙂

Time and (all) my high school friends.

It’s interesting how time doesn’t change high school relationships.
For me anyway.
I still laugh at the same jokes and get bored at the same instances.
I still click with the people I did ten, fifteen years ago.
And, ( very important for me at this moment in my life plot) I get to know why there was a tiny,itsy-bitsy voice that said:

“Dude, this ‘friendship thing’ just won’t work out”.

At the time, I thought it was the cold in Belo. That waking up and taking an ice cold bath at 5a.m. for 7 years had traumatized me to “Ghost Whisperer’ mode.
Or rather, “Cynic Whisperer”.
Now,I know better than to NOT listen.
When the voice says:

“Dude, something is off with that guy/dude/person”.

There is only one thing to do: Run like I would if I were in Pompeii.

P.S: Pretty hopeless run huh?

P.P.S: It’s my birthday month! Yay. I once wrote a pretty “sad” post about my birthday. Actually, this would be the first in a long time that I celebrate without being in some sort of school.

Totally rad yeah? ( Er…for me anyway… 🙂 )

I’ll be getting pretty pretty old in 7 days. I’d be doing a special post.
An “answer post”. So!

What would you like to know about me?

All this time I have been away, I tried to put a summary here. It’s a very short summary. Trust me. Also, I know there are things I have mentioned that I haven’t written ( or made a poem ) about yet.
So, for my 26th birthday, tell me what you’d like me to write about in the comments section.
Thanks in advance!

P.P.S.S ( Is that even allowed?): Thank you so much for following my blog. Every ‘like’ thrills me immensely.
It means a beautiful human somewhere on this beautiful earth of ours thought that what I wrote was pretty cool enough to click “like”.

Your attention is priceless.

Thank you.

My Apology Letter to @MTNCameroon; #BringBackMyInternet

Dear Y’ello Tiger,

An Apology for Being a Horrible Customer ( or Lover?)

This is the first time I have taken my pen (keyboard) to write to you. How are you? I was scared you had a chronic case of jaundice because you have always looked so …you know…Y’ello.
I understood what the obsession with the color all meant when I read on this weird thing called ‘branding’.

I know. I am as surprised as you are reading this. Yes. The last time we spoke, someone had told me I would be adding a ‘6’ in front of all my contact phone numbers. It took me a while to understand. Truth be told, I still don’t. But, given that you cover a huge portion of the Cradle of Life, you must definitely know what you are doing.

How are the kids? I hear you incubate now. I saw a host of young people playing with their phones a while ago. Thousands of them. Literally. Something about ‪#‎MTNChallenge‬ or whatever. That you had said you would fund their ideas. I love how you prod brains and select viable biz ideas to pursue.
Talk about business acumen. ‪

#‎UBeBoss‬.

I was just wandering eh…what do you do with the other ideas ? The other not-so-viable ones that DON’T get funded? Do you fund them secretly or something? Because I bet Cameroonian minds have gems when it comes to being creative. Especially with this thing called ‘3G’. A cousin came and made noise about it. Said she was the Next Tel or something. You know how paranoid I am sometimes.

I notice the wave of feminism had taken over the family. That is great. I hope KT is safe and sound. Given his ability to communicate (or not?) using Google Hangouts, I suppose he is okay. Extend my +regards.
I saw this #21days thing. Hum. Talk about ‪#‎CSR‬! You know your thing oh! So, you build homes in 21 days? Wow. How I wish you could apply that speed to your customer service.

Wait. I take that back. Don’t. Make it 21 SECONDS not DAYS.

Now, let me not waste your credit. That lady is always waiting for the reason why I call to tell me “Votre credit est insuffisant…” See eh. I don’t know whether you trained her in 21days too but she’s damn good.

I tried BRIGHT FUTURE.
So, er, here is the thing. I know we have had problems in the past. You were not very happy when I hooked up with MOBILIS 2.0 . You panicked and started sending messages, on the hour:

Do you want to eat? TEXT CHOPON to 7222 and get daily recommendations,
DO you want to text a friend and have no credit? TEXT I BEG YAH to 75667.

I get that. You were upset.

Also, there were times when you would just sit and send me credit. I was so glad! I would call everyone. Just like that! That was amazing…in the beginning.
What I did not realize was this: you had plans to take it all back!
Why did you do this? When we started dating, I did not say our relationship was exclusive. You need to be able to let go. I lost my phone. I had to change my sim card. You need to understand.
You’re right though. The problem is me. Not you. Because of that, I understood and forgave you.

I even decided to buy your WIMAX key. I thought it could serve as a truce. Chai. That key was sweet oh. White…sleek…cute…tempting the money out of my wallet. FCFA20000 I paid.
Guess what? THE VERY NEXT DAY YOU SLASHED THE PRICE BY HALF!
My love, why? WHY? Why would you do that to me?

That’s okay. I know relationships have ups and downs. I forgive you still. After all, your minions who answer the phone are very courteous and polite. I even have crush on one of the ladies.
I lied. I have crush on all of them.
So, like I said, I bought the key and you punished me for it. Then I forgave you. I then decided to make it up. I started purchasing airtime and surfing. Sometimes it would fail. Sometimes it would be awesome. My download speed never got to 1MB/S but, like I said, all relationships go through troubles. I still love you my yellow tiger.Four days ago , something else happened. I had switched to the 12am-6am tariff because of brokenness and lack of money.

A Net Detour
Let me pause a little and admit this: you mean a lot to me and many Cameroonians.
We can now use Whatsapp WITHOUT THE INTERNET!
I mean, come on, was it not thanks to you that I could send an sms with: ? Just that. A single question mark.
Before you graced us with ‪#‎MTNUnlimitext‬ , an SMS cost 50frs!
Can you imagine? TWO PUFFPUFFS! (Or ten if you prefer quantity to quality). But, tell me eh…is that thing really unlimited? Because, I don’t think so oh. I could be an idiot here and say I have proof. But who am I kidding? Who owns the servers?
I just think the chatteur of Molyko deserves to know that if he sends the same 150 character message to 300 potential chicks, he might not be able to reply.

Just shaying.

Anyway, back to the reason why we are here: four days ago, I precharged my mobile. FCFA3000. I had borrowed from you and, ‪#‎AlreadyWeKnow‬, you don’t joke with your debtors. You left me FCFA2764.
Then, I subscribed to ‪#‎MTN‬(Almost)Unlimitxt. Fab sang, na e you take am.
I then went home and waited for the darkest hour.
I plugged my sleek 20 nkolo WiMAX key. 27 DB. Not bad. I opened the login page.( Kudos to your designers eh. The simplicity is elegant). I logged in and renewed my MTN NITE successfully.
Then all network hell was let lose.

1. My key disconnected. Alone. ‪#‎NaWitch‬?
2. The transaction went through. I checked on my phone and I have 264 frs left.
3. I have not been able to connect. Green light doesn’t change to yellow blinking one.
4. Oh, did I mention the validity of the bundle is 7 days from activation?

So, my love, I want to beg for forgiveness. Maybe you heard I went on a date with Next tel‬. You have ears( literally) everywhere. I apologize.

Thine 3G shant be doubted, your royal networkness.

Please eh, reconnect my key. I want to browse. I have to stalk research.What do you want from me? How can we make this right? I know you’re Everywhere I go, so, let’s talk soon and sort this out. Or do I prepare the divorce papers?

Sincerely,
Your distraught lover (customer)
674231654.
P.S: Sometimes messages don’t go through. That should not surprise you anyway.. And I have not been able to connect to the internet in a while. #AlreadyWeKnow. So, I may be slow to respond. Forgive me my tiger.
1010

ASJUB Trip: Day 0

“If you don’t expect anything from anyone, you will never be disappointed”- James Altucher

I did not expect anything from the annual Academic trip organized by the Association of Student Journalists, University of Buea- ASJUB. So, I am not only NOT disappointed but, elated I’d changed my mind and taken these three days from Buea to Yaoundé and back.

A lot happened. Fun mostly. Great conversations and the discovery of awesome people. If I were to attempt to give an ‘account’ of the trip, I would miss out a lot. Fact. That’s why I have constituted a picture gallery (lightest),  an audio slideshow with music only (lighter) and an audio slideshow with voice clips and interviews from most of the participants( light). As usual, not everyone was in love with me so, I did not get everyone to speak. That’s okay. I wasn’t expecting anyone to agree to speak.

So, we both win!

Day 0:

On the afternoon I changed my mind, I had been thinking of a new business idea. A food delivery service. I had no idea how to write had been caught up with the intricacies of a business plan. I was stuck and getting unhappy. I don’t like being unhappy. I called Joshua so that we meet in school and work on the initial stages of the venture.  I then headed to campus to meet him and connect to the internet. There, I found two students waiting for the president of the association to come give their departmental T-shirts, PRESS badges and the programme for the trip. They were all supposed to meet at 1pm on campus. I look at my phone.

1.30pm.

Of course I laugh at joke with them and hangout. I don’t know Ebai that much and Alida is the younger sister of my nursery school crush. Seriously. I had a nursery school crush. I have the pictures if you want proof. But, that’s another story.

Ebai and Alida are freshmen. Excited about the trip ( why else would they be still here after the delay?) After a while, a couple of students who have equally paid for the trip arrive at the meet-up point: Beverly ( freshman), Noella, Ivorita and Marvellous ( second year students). Marvelous ‘Marvy’ Ngale  is the vice public relations officer of the ASJUB and he does his job. He assures the slowly pissed  students that the president was on her way. According to his account, she had been stuck at the printer’s and would soon arrive.

The very slightly infuriated students connive to express discontent when the president arrives:

“Nobody should smile,” Noella instructs the rest.

If they can’t have her there when they expect, at least they would show how ireful they were.

Soon enough, an out of breath Gabrielle appears laden down with a huge white sack containing T-shirts and badges. She is moving as fast as she can, sweating, panting and smiling nervously.

Noella can’t help it. She smiles back and rushes to help her president.

After the reasons for her late coming had been cleared and (almost) everyone was comfortable with his/her T-shirt,( there is always someone whose garment either fits too well or is too loose. Always.).  Gabbie needs to go continue to make the arrangement.

Can someone still pay now?” I half-hope she would say “NO!”

“Of course”, she says “We are 16 of us and we need to pick up Sandy from Douala plus Trevor and Penn who are already in Yaoundé making arrangements.

“If you’re certain to pay tonight”, she hands me a t-shirt “Here’s yours”.

A few hours earlier, I had called Joshua so we could work on market research for my business idea. Now, in a few hours I will be miles away.

Who said life was predictable?

After robbing a passer-by making a few calls, I get the money required for the trip.

I don’t even know what I will take to Yaoundé. The last time I went for the trip, I was one of those in charge. This time, I am an ‘in charge-ee’. How would that be like? Will I be able to wake up at 5 am so as to be at UB junction by 6.30 am? Will I forget a pair of socks and be miserable for the next three days? Will I get missing in the capital? (My list of things I am horrible at has:  city maps and roads  at position 28 and 31 respectively.)

When I stroll down from Malingo Street with Miike Snow’s ‘Silvia’ blaring in my headphones, I barely see the other humans on the street. My mind is far off to ‘la capitale’. I know it is going to be exciting. Every change of environment is for me.

I get home and plug-in all my devices to make sure all are ready to shoot/ record/ tape. As I fail to fend off insomnia.  I know the reason why I am so enthused is that I know deep in my eye sockets that tomorrow is going to be different.

But, how?

CAMWATER #BRINGBACKMYWATER!!!

IMG_0131

Sometimes, I wish I could drink sea water.

(As of the publication of this post, water has started flowing in my hostel. Here’s the caveat: it flows only from about 1AM to 4AM every two days. I get to sacrifice sleep for H2O. Great.)

This is bullshit. Where did all the water go?

I have lived in Molyko, Buea for the past 7 years. 7 bloody years and never have I spent a week in such a nasty predicament.

“My line is different from the others across. But, it seems the others too have the same problem. But your neighbors say….also I have heard that…you see…”

When my landlord (cum caretaker) was trying to explain why our taps had not been flowing for the past 7 days, I was feeling way too sleepy to quip or prod further. Added to my stoned mood was the fact that I had, at the time, a 60 liter drum half filled with water I could use to take a bath and …er…do other stuff.

So, I wasn’t bothered. Dumb me.

6 Days Later

All my clothes are dirty. My toilet stinks. I have no idea how I will take a bath tomorrow morning and I have a Continuous Assessment at 9 a.m.

And oh, did I mention I don’t have water to drink either?

What is wrong with this town?! Seriously! WTF??

I pay rents (actually…er…my parents do). Everyone who lives in a hostel pays too! When #ENEO does its epileptic electrical display of force, all we can do is complain, eat and sleep. At least, you can smell nice while complaining. I would not wish to have written the G.C.E this year. Goodbye to late night revisions…

What happens when I can’t wash my pots, cook, take a bath and eat BEFORE being disgruntled?

If it were a hostel issue, we would probably have burnt our landlord on a stake by now.

Who do I complain to? It’s rainy season (or is it?); the breeze snickers as I bundle clothes over my shoulder. A tactile reminder of the true color of ‘the town of legendary hospitality’.

After spending a day in school; exhausted, hungry and in need of a shower, what do I get?

A stuffy room and a mound of laundry. I don’t even know what the hell I will wear tomorrow.

What sort of bullshit life is this? Who do I hold responsible? Do I buy mineral water to do LAUNDRY with?

They say ‘Water is life’. Really guys? Really? Water WHICH I DON’T HAVE is life?

I suppose I am lifeless now.

Gosh!

This is frustrating. Take away all the electricity you want. In fact eh, take away my already debilitating internet access.

But …#BRINGBACKMYWATER!

A holed bag of tricks

If I don’t get water tomorrow, I have a couple of options:

  1. Crumble of insalubrity like a pillar of salt.
  2. Recycle piss, sweat and saliva. I know it’s not going to work. But, ‘When there’s hope…’
  3. I have no third option.

I don’t know what to do. I don’t have water to take a bath, do laundry or even drink.  I’m essentially, screwed.

Shit.

Oh wait…even that I can’t do.

Reality 101: My suggestion to all Cameroonian Institutions

(c) flicker user: ajc1

(c) flicker user: ajc1

In my department ( Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Buea),  doing the news for at least a week is a compulsory part of our training. Either as reporters or producers. During this ‘newsweek‘ we cover events on campus, in the region, the nation and in the world. The News goes on air from Monday to Friday at 6pm. Every Saturday, there is a News Magazine– a compilation of all the major news stories during the week. Additionally, the News Magazine carries a Press Review and an Editorial, written and read by the producer for that newsweek. During mine, I was the producer. It took place in the week that followed the 11th of February dubbed  the ‘Youth Day’.  My editorial focused on the speech our president  gave this year and my suggestion on what we should be taught in ‘institutions of higher learning’. Who am I to suggest? What qualification do I have?

Honestly, I am not qualified. But I can’t sit and watch either. 

 

On the 11 of February every year, the president of the nation addresses the youth…

In this year’s address, what struck a cord of agreement with many, was the degree of unemployment in our country. Especially given the strides taken by the government in the form of actions through the National Employment Fund.
My interest, however, was piqued when the president acknowledged the need from radical reform in our educational system. He and I agree when he says: ” There is the need for professional education”.
Now, for four days last week, a symposium themed: “Perspective of inclusive education in West and Central Africa with multidisciplinary focus”, took place in the Dorothy Limunga Njeuma Amphitheatre of the University of Buea. This week’s news crew followed the event all through. I was particularly interested again when one of the participants expressed his lack of faith in the symposium because of the lack of key actors in the education sector at that gathering.
My worries the following:
1. Why can “professionals” afford to be absent from “professional” trainings like the said symposium?
2.Who will employ the youth and
3. When will we have the educational overhaul we so badly need?
Today is exactly 2 months since the president made his speech. And, in approximately 9 months a horde of 3000 plus job seekers will be pumped into the unemployment garden fondly termed “Chomencam” (Chomage( Unemployment) du Cameroun).

3000 JOB SEEKERS

I stress on job seekers because that is what I feel the University milieu provides as training to the the Cameroonian minds.
Rich in theory, inadequate in character and practice, and worse, White collar job addicts.
How can an educational reform take place when departments offering “professional” training  are understaffed? When admission requirements are malleable and teaching is more or less cosmetic?
How can we be trained as proessionals when the tools we need to master our trade are depreciated, undermaintained , and the lecturers are either under-used for their true potential   or overwhelmed by work?
How can WE be ready for a job market when the handwriting on the wall is clear but ‘everyone’ seems to either myopic or, like me, astigmatic:
THERE IS NO JOB MARKET.
( Note: I sought data to prove this . All I found was outdated databases. If you have sources , I would be very grateful).
The only way I see unemployment reducing is the day High School students realise the University is NOT supposed to train you to seek jobs but to make them. However, when I go through my rich educational curricullum and course outlines, I don’t find any course titled REALITY 101.

The Course  and course of the Future

All students, lecturers and professors need this course. Here is my suggestion for the content of this ‘Inclusive and Exclusive’ University Requirement. In fact eh, high school students should be allowed to attend as well.
Course Code: Reality 101
Course Title: Dear Youth, Don’t Seek Jobs. Create Jobs
Lesson 1: The Job Market is Saturated
Lesson 2: Your Country Needs You.
Lesson 4: Time Waits For Nobody
and the final lesson – Sooner or Later, We all die.
The course, of course, will be spread throughout Students’ University Years. With  no credit value because anyone who passes this course would have created jobs.
Anyone who fails, well…would work for those who passed.
🙂
The educational reform we need is going to happen whether we want it or not. Maybe in 2035.
Use of Buzz word. Check.
But multiply 3000 by each year we waste by and that is the same number of young, ambitious and energy fillled Cameroonian minds we waste.
We don’t need the 11th of February to be reminded we need jobs.
What we need is REALITY 101.

 

The five steps I took to Beat Depression

Image (c) Flickr User: Hernanpc

Image (c) Flickr User: Hernanpc

No medical doctor has declared me clinically depressed. So, who am I to judge and label myself with such a serious and often painful condition?

I know what it feels like to be hopeless. To be frightened by the unknown future and the sick feeling that nothing you have ever done matters to anyone. The sudden feeling that the world sucks and that the only thing to do is sit in your corner for as long as possible. And avoid all human contact . Maybe this is mild for you. You might have heard of people who have had suicidal thoughts coupled with such feelings. A feeling that the world is against us and nothing but despair reeks out of the fabric of life.

I have felt that way. Not to the point of wanting to kill myself. But, to the level of neglecting my wellbeing for days.

So, you’re right. I have no idea what I am talking about. Who am I to be giving lessons on how to overcome feelings of despair? You have the right to ask like Will McCavoy in The Newsroom: “Are you somebody??”

Yes. I am somebody. I have felt sick in my stomach for reasons mostly explained by psychology and yes, I have been able (recently) to get off my state without medication.

I don’t know if I will be able to do so every time I get into the ‘dark room’. What I am writing here mostly is a reminder to the future me:

“Dude, we did this once. We beat this depression whatever thing. We can do it again. Here is how we did it the last time”.

In 2010 I was studying Medical Laboratory Sciences. I had  switched from Biochemistry. After taking my second semester results, August that year, I was utterly disappointed in myself. I sat home, watched TV and ate only when I really had to. I took no baths, spoke and left my room rarely. I didn’t answer phone calls. Even from my parents. For one week.

This behavior spooked the hell out of my father. He travelled overnight from Bafoussam to Buea just to discover that had totally over reacted.

I felt that way again two days ago and I wish someone would have told me what I found out yesterday. I monitored my steps as much as my melancholic state allow and here is what I got:

 

1. Watch someone/something you aspire to be/do/become.

Because I have been working on preparing a promo of a new radio programme titled: “Meet the entrepreneurs”, I have been stocking quite a lot of TED talks and videos from personalities like James Altucher, Sir Richard Branson, Dave McClure, Rebecca Enonchong etc. Home, in my dingy hostel room, I forcefully double-clicked on  a montage of snippets from Will Smith’s interviews.

“I love living…I think that is infectious”  –Will  Smith.

Watch the video for yourself and see if you can grab a few recurrent themes from books like: ‘The Alchemist’ by Paolo Coelho and ‘Think and Grow Rich’ By Napoleon Hill.

What I realized, is that when I am sad or depressed, I am essentially scared of everything. Life. The future. Living. Failure. Even success. I am just scared and I want to roll into a ball of energy and just disappear. Inspirational videos with people you believe in or look up to just have a way of pulling you back to ‘the now’. They make me realize: they’ve done this, I can too! There is no time to wallow in this dark pit of soulless tar. I need to wake up! Call a friend, your spouse, your mentor, and/or your parents. Listen to a trustworthy speaker. Read spiritual text.

Feel your heart leap out to bask in the wisdom of the universe and realize your journey is not complete.

 

 2. Write ideas down.

After watching a couple of videos, I was still laying in my stinking, sinking ship. I decided to do two lists: What are the 25 skills I need to acquire? (Outrageous right? I know!) And Businesses I want to start. (Yep. What can I say? I am a born dreamer).

I did not complete the lists. I wrote 5 items on one then 6 on the other. However, what I noticed what that I started thinking. Focusing. What are the next steps? What skill in really important? What next? I was no longer feeling ‘doomed’ but rather starting my time-travelling machine. Not a very good habit either, but far better than wallowing in self-pity. I can handle a burst of enthusiasm. Isn’t that what we all need?

James says you need to write 10 ideas every day. He walks with a waiter’s pad and does that every, single, day. According to him, the idea muscle atrophies when it isn’t exercised every two days at least. And, after six month of daily  practice, you become an idea machine. *clears throat* Let’s just say I am an ‘idea knob’ right now and that putting down those 6 and 5 items flexed the muscle a little.

Pick up a pen and a paper and PHYSICALLY  right down ideas. Ten ways to cry. Ten ways to use the color blue. Whatever comes to your mind; just flex the muscle and watch it stretch out. It is painful, but we both know for a muscle to grow, pain is required. No pain, no gain. (Now you know why I don’t go to the gym).

 

 3. Take a bath

This sounds like a no-brainer. But, I had to will myself into the bathroom and, felt much better afterwards. Try it. A cold one if you can. If feeling bad is your unrequited mental state, a shower might be all you need to remind you there are other feelings associated with living. Not just melancholy. Plus, you get to visit the loo and smell nice. Totally worth it.

 

 4. Talk to people who respect/love/believe in /admire YOU.

When I was writing my list down, my sister called. We’d not spoken to each other for a couple of months now since she is in boarding school. I had to fake my happiness. Don’t get me wrong. I was happy to talk to talk with her but, if I did not heighten my sense of happiness so as to let if show in my voice, I know she would have sensed it.

When someone believes in or admires me, I feel the desire to keep that promise. I can’t seem weak in front of my sister. I can’t afford to be sad after all this time we’d not spoken to each other. So, I fake my joy. The call did not last more than a minute.

As soon as she dropped, I looked around my room and started packing up. This nonsense had to end.

Fake it until you become it. Period.

 

 5. Take action buddy!

Get up! Get out! Live! Breathe! By the time I was done writing lists and watching videos, I packed my room and took a bath. Then, wrote my radio script for a programme I was to present that same evening. De-depressed Kamga was back!

I believe we all have a purpose. We all have a choice on how we live our lives and whether we achieve our dreams or not is entirely up to each and every one of us. Depression is just one of the many obstacles we face. For some people, it is worse than for others. The end is sometimes fatal. This post could seem like an insult to others.

But, I will end with what I know to be true. It is a quote from Confucius, I stole from Will Smith:

“The man who thinks he is can, and the man who thinks he can’t are both right”.

I think I can break the chains of  depression  with these five steps. What do you think?

Andrew: My Neighbour and Fly

A cousin of Andrew

A cousin of Andrew

I wonder what insects think of us. Not just insects. Animals, plants etc. I am assuming, of course, that they have a certain degree of consciousness. I could be wrong. But then again, the whole of life is about assumptions: that you won’t die tomorrow, that you will love forever, or that no one would notice that your zipper is actually bad and that you did not UNINTENTIONALLY forget to pull it up.
So, let us ( I will understand if you don’t want to) assume that a fly can think.
Let’s take this one fly I met a while ago. Call him…hmm…Andrew.
( Andrews, this is not personal. Seriously)
Now, Andrew has a simple job: signal disgust.
He spends his life, roaming earth and visiting any and every location that provides an adequate ecosystem.
Here is my question: Does Andrew enjoy his job? How does he feel about our attitude towards him?
We give him a charming label: Musca domestica.
I want to assume that Andrew thought we wanted him home, that we wanted to ‘domesticate’ him.
Boy, were you wrong.
Anyway, Andrew has been doing a pretty great job. I just wonder why he didn’t think of , say, starting a business.
What if Andrew built a mound of ‘interesting …hmm…STUFF’ for his crew?
Not only would he decrease the mortality rate of his species, but he could actually increase their lifespans and improve his pension!
Won’t that be brilliant?!
I wonder whether Andrew looks at Man and says:
‘Dude, what’s the point? We’re no different you know. We both have a simple goal: survive. What is it with love, work, goals, ambition etc?’
I wonder.
But I guess talking alone in my room and thinking about what a stupid fly’s brain contains is not such a good hobby.

Like I said, I could be wrong.
I could.
🙂

P.S: What if I am not?
Happy Labour Day by the way.

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.

What if I were a girl?

I have had a headache now for three days. I don’t want to take medication. First of all because I don’t trust anything that gets into my system (except food) and second, I think I deserve the pain.

Every once in a while at least.

I have difficulties sleeping too. I start reading books and I can’t stop. I read till 3a.m. I always considered myself a book nerd. Now I am certain I wasn’t.

I AM a book nerd.

 

  Black Holes and Confusions

This post is not about my headache or insomnia or reading. Like every other post I have written from my heart, is it is about a certain kind of confusion.

Who knows…maybe it is the confusion that has clotted an artery in my brain and is giving me this pain.

Or maybe I just need to sleep. Meh.

Anyway, what if I were a girl? I am not the typical male. No, I wasn’t born with both sexual organs. And no, I am not attracted to boys. Let’s leave anatomy and homophobia for another time.

I am not the ‘alpha’ male. I am not particularly handsome and I don’t have the required ‘charisma’ to hide it.

    The Charisma-ed Knight

A lady once ended our two week relationship because (true story) :  She: “You have no…what is the word…’charisma’…yes. You have no charisma”.

Me:“…”

She: I don’t think this can work out.  Then she left.

Me: “What the fuck is ‘Charisma‘”?

She didn’t reply. She had left the room and I had been so confused I didn’t see her leave. Story of my life.

Anyway, what if I were a girl? Not being the typical male…little or ziltch charisma…horrible build…astigmatic and short-sighted( you need to see me without my glasses, you’d weep for my mom.  Oh…and for the record, ‘The Charisma Story’ took place in 2012. And yes, I have moved on but no, I have not completely been over it. Seriously, what the…is Charisma?

To Break or Not to break?

If I were a girl would I break up in that way? I don’t know. I mean…we all have our goals and aspirations, our dreams etc. Maybe she needed King Charisma and I was just Dude Typical. I was hurt.

Yep. I would probably have said the same thing if I wanted to make a point. I admire her focus. She knew what she wanted. I hope she’s found it.

If I were a girl, would I sleep better? I don’t know. There is a period of the month ( or so I have heard) when human biology provides( for a select female quota of the human race) a surmountable amount of pain and non-deadly liquid exudes. That is as far as my euphemism can go. Maybe I would feel pain and not sleep well.                                 But, we both know I need to sleep early. So, forget that.

   A Question of Stereotype?

If I were a girl, I would have to wear make-up and gossip and talk about boys…and….                                                                                                        HA! See your face! You were already thinking:                                         “This dude is just another ‘dude’…thinking every girl does make-up and talks about boys…

Well, guess what? You’re right. I think a majority of ladies wear make-up. That is why the ones who don’t stand out.  Oh…I know guys who wear make-up too (Yes…I was shocked when I found) .

I also know boys who talk about boys (and no, they are not attracted to them. Think of t politicians; I want to believe Mr Romney talked a lot about Mr. Obama in ’08’). My lady in ‘ The Charisma Story’ did not wear make-up. Not that I remember clearly. But she was pretty. Still is.

If I were a lady…would I wear make-up? I don’t know. That would depend on many factors. I am sure one of them would be what I’d eat for lunch. I know it doesn’t make sense.

 

My Unadulterated Love For Food

I don’t know how to cook like my mom does. I wish I could. I love her food. If I were a girl, would I be able to?                                                                 Yes.                                                                                                                                         My younger sister is an excellent cook. I don’t think that is fair.  That , now, is the age old African Stereotype: the woman stays in the kitchen and the man in the parlor reading a newspaper.

I wonder what the ‘typical man’ read before the Newspapers….parchments?                                                                                        Who cares?

I would be an awesome cook if I were a woman. I would relish my mother’s food and I would probably not lose all the weight I am losing now because of poor feeding.  Fact.

I still relish my mother’s food. Fact.

 

Purpose And Other Truths

Last, confusio! (yeah…I just had to pull the Harry Potter card):

If I were a woman, would I write this post?                                                            I don’t know.                                                                                                                          I write to figure things out. I write to think. When I start writing, it is because I have a problem I need to address. I am a coward. So I run around and the problem is stuck at my heels.

Writing makes me stop and turn around.

I will never be a woman. I will never bear a child and I will never know what it is like to break up with a dude because he ‘has no charisma’. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Just like I don’t know where I will be in a few months. I don’t know many things.

Here’s the fun part: It doesn’t matter!

Only through imagination can we live other lives. Through books and movies (and food).

I love those. I love travelling in my mind. I sometimes laugh alone. It doesn’t matter whether you are a man or woman, you’re alive.

You will have problems and you will find solutions. Maybe not. But you’re alive. That is all that matters.

So far as you’re alive, you can either sit on your ass like me and pretend to solve a problem by writing about it or get out there and live.

I need to sleep. Maybe I will find out what ‘charisma’ is in my dreams.

 

P.S: I love this song. I think the best age for rock music was 80s. Enjoy.