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Simply said, i am big at what i do, believe in, and who I am...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cameroonian Tradition "Born House"

Baby in the arms of an elderly lady.

Baby Passed around for viewing

Palm oil and salt, shared to guests while singing songs for Love, peace and prosperity in the Baby's family.

Singing and dancing

Baby reunites with mother

Baby and mother, happily ever after

Do you have any clue what your tradition is? What is tradition anyway? There could be a thousand definitions, one of them i picked up on the internet said: an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom)

I have been inspired by a recent event i attended called in one of my local languages (pidgin English) "Born House". Simply put, this is an event where, when a woman has a baby, she invites well wishers, friends and relatives to come and see the child.

What is most interesting about this is the origins of the event. The tradition here, is that, when a baby is born, the umbilical cord is buried under a plantain sucker, when this tree grows and bears fruit, you now harvest the plantain and invite all these people to come and eat as prove that your baby is growing well and is very fruitful.

The baby is first passed around for everyone to place a hand as a sign of blessing, and to have a close look at the baby. Then salt and oil is passed around for every one to have a taste while wishing, love, peace and prosperity to the baby's family. There after, there will be singing and dancing in jubilation of the child's life, in thanksgiving for the child's parents and in hope for an outstanding future.

The well prepared pot of plantain is then shared to everyone present, every single person present must taste of the food as a sign of a prosperous life for the baby.

Most of the talking is done by elderly women of the family with experience in child birth.

If you know of a similar tradition, please share with us.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Dream Just Came True - Think It Till You Make It!

Life will blow us to different opportunities, places and visions on the globe, but dreams, passions and relationships bring us together. Remember, you don't need to have it all figured out, you just need to have passion for whatever it is you do at every point in time, with a realisation that, "you are a child of the universe... and whether or not, it is clear to you, don't stop, cos the universe is unfolding as it should..." (Desiderata)

On the 5th of March 2011, at the Martin's Crosswinds, in the USA, a childhood relationship between two great men with a dream comes to reality. 4Jcouture is born out of pure love for fashion by Dr Fote Bertrand and out of business interest by Ernest Esunge a.k.a Dr J.

Thus: Dr Fote + Dr J = 4JCouture

Read what one of the partners had to say...

"I have liked fashion for a long time and have always been talking - albeit jokingly- of one day getting into the industry. My very good friend ( from high school back home in Cameroon - Sasse) called Lyonga a.k.a Dr J started selling shirts and suits in small scale back when he was in university back home in Cameroon. He always came to me first whenever he had new item to sell, because he understood my love for fashion.

As I finished residency and finally settled down financially and time-wise, I told Dr J he needed to get out of his basement and think big. I told him we could make our own designs and take advantage of the Internet etc and really grow big. He bought the idea and we started working towards creating a business venture. It was a perfect match - we both have the love and eye for fashion, I have a business background (MBA), he has over 15 years of experience in the industry, we have been friends since childhood.

Over the past 2 years, we have been working on building the business and trying to find ways to be unique and innovative. The website release is the first step in our marketing strategy. Our vision is to be the leading contemporary menswear company in the next 5 years. We have already been getting lots of requests from women to get into women's fashion - we just might do that in the near future."

What do you make of a business with such multiple skill? Dr Fote is says. he is a "Philosopher by birth, Psychologist by inclination, Sociologist by induction, Poet by inspiration, Engineer by instruction, Physician by training and passion" Dr J is a hard core business man with so many years of experience.Their bond is unbreakable and is now taken to another level, who can beat that?

Tickets are running out, $100 for regular tickets and $150 for VIP tickets!
Whats more? three other designers, Stand-up comedy by a famous Nigerian comedian, dinner and live music.

Lets encourage one of ours, have fun and keep walking the talk!

Look up www.4jcouture.com for the latest fashion. Upgrade your wardrobe now!

The View, My View with DC

DC: Hey sister, how are you?
Kelen: Great! Thank you.

DC: Who is Kelen? Give us an insight into your personality and your life.
Kelen: she is very daring! I am big about everything (literarily). I’ll encourage people to do just anything, all I need to be sure of is the passion you have for what you believe in, and that is pretty much how I live. I believe there is no right or wrong way of doing anything, I’ll say, “It is just how you or I do it!”

DC: You recently started a blog called Kelen for Vision Shakers. What is the idea behind this?
Kelen: Picking out a name for my blog was a challenge, because I have a bigger dream for the blog than it really is now. The challenge was to ensure continuity and consistency in the future. I shared with a very close colleague,(Arrey) and we came up with words representing my vision.
‘Kelen for Vision Shakers’ simply shows my interest and support for anyone who dares to make a difference, I feel like a bridge between the visionaries and the rest of the world. I will represent them in any way possible; I will shed light on them till they shine.

DC: You are very big on “change”. What would it take to “change” Cameroon in your opinion?
Kelen: Thank you for noting and pointing that out. Change is the one thing that is constant, yet the one thing we resist the most. However, as far as Cameroon is concerned, the change we need in my opinion is very moral, thus the need for every individual to look within his/herself and identify what they need to work on as individuals.
It is time and long overdue that Cameroonians need to start asking “what can I do for my country?” rather than what can my country do for me.

DC: How can the government deal with the brain drain syndrome? What would entice Cameroonians, young & old back to their country?
Kelen: Tricky! Depending on where you are standing or looking, this question can be tackled from different perspectives. Like I mentioned earlier, the state of the country is a hard nut to crack, but if only we can look within individually from a moral stand point, and work collectively with the same vision – (which I have to say now is already happening a lot)

I am wondering if there is something Cameroon could do as far as regional integration is concerned. We already belong to Central Africa, even though we rightfully are from West Africa, you may say I am saying this now because west Africa is prosperous, but hey! However as one of the leading countries in the Central African Region, could they ensure better regional activities and less politics and power struggle… this is for another.

The Cameroon government needs to be a little more transparent and open to the changing world. They need to simplify operations and take little things into consideration, little things like services and “feelings of people” and by people here I mean both citizens and foreigners.
I am again wondering what will be so complicated if the government could just let dual nationality be a discuss in the open, and not under the table.
I have a proposal here DC, let us take this question separately sometime during the next year, I am available for another interview… hahahaha.

DC: Let’s talk about your inspiration. What inspires Kelen?
Kelen: People, realities of life, my drive to grow and be a better person. Most of all, the will to be the difference I want to see in my community.

DC: What keeps you going and longing to accomplish things?
Kelen: The inner voice in me that keeps telling me “it can only get better”

DC: What else are you passionate about in life?
Kelen: Life itself. To live the most I can, be happy, see my family happy, watch things change for the better…

DC: Tell us about your trip to the Taj Mahal.
Kelen: It is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I am thankful I made the trip. Now I am not sure how many wonders there are any more in the world, cos things are changing so fast. The last time I checked, there are 8 wonders, and the Taj Mahal is now number one.
If you read the story on my blog (I don’t think it is the most accurate version) but that translates to what I saw and how I felt.
The detail in the construction, and the love story behind it, is what I will always lay emphasis on.
All I can say is, that was one of the most intense moments of my life.

DC: And the “Ubuntu” trip to Zambia. What was the mission?
Kelen: Oh my God! Did I just say the Taj Mahal was one of the intense moments of my life? No! the PanAfrican Event in Zambia was even more.
This was a forum of young leaders from all over Africa, sponsored by the UK, who came together, with all our differences, challenges, views, and values and even issues.
There was this point where we built the “wall of greatness” this wall contained the greatness of our countries. This was when we chose to forget our vices, challenges and issues and only focused on the greatness of Africa, the majesty of Africa, what we are good at, what we love and what we hope for.
This was when we allowed ourselves to live the true spirit of “UBUNTU” (brotherhood, togetherness) while dancing to the tunes of Africa.
For a minute, you could see what a great nation Africa will be if we put aside power struggle, superiority, hate, our negative past, our colonial masters and the wrong they did… you name it.
The mission was to prove that if we want a united Africa, it is a choice and it is up to us!
Two very interesting auestions came up during this forum, and I will be glad for DC to collect some answers for me.
Are leaders born? and Who is a leader?

DC: If you were to predict a “changed” vision for Cameroon’s future. What would you say?
Kelen: For a Bilingual country, in the heart of Africa and in fact ‘Africa in miniature’ it will be the first stop to Africa and the place to be in the next Generation. Who wants to give me a five on that?

DC: Thanks, and that’s it!
Kelen: Thank you very much DC, for a moment you got me talking, let me walk a little. Hahahaha!

Catch Kelen on her blog www.visionshakers.blogspot.com