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Blogs from West Africa

    Nigeria

Molara Wood recounts Ngugi wa Thiong'o’s ordeal in Kenya on returning home after spending 22 years in exile. Ngugi and his wife were brutually assaulted by some Kenyans.

“Two weeks into their visit, the couple were attacked by four men in their high-security apartment complex. Ngugi was beaten and his face burned with cigarettes. Njeeri was sexually assaulted – an ordeal she made public, she says, to combat pressures on women to remain silent about abuse…Three security guards and a nephew of Ngugi's by marriage were remanded on charges of robbery with violence, and one count of rape. The trial, which began in November 2004, is in its final stages, and the couple have returned twice to give evidence.”

Ngugi is the author of “Weep Not Child” and other great books.

Emeka Okafor via Africa Unchained, showcases the Kanu Heart Foundation located in Nigeria. He states “continuing on our theme of indigenous foundations the Kanu Heart Foundation's goals include ‘…to alleviate the problem of heart related diseases in Africa, the Kanu Nwankwo Heart Foundation plans to establish five specialist hospitals in several African countries and dozens of clinics in Nigeria. The Foundation also plans to promote the research for heart disease and other related conditions and disseminate the useful results of such research.’ ”

The foundation is the initiative of the Nigerian professional footballer, Kanu Nwankwo. He became the focus of attention when, after a celebrated transfer from Ajax of Amsterdam Inter Milan F.C. Italy, he was diagnosed to be suffering from a weak aorta valve in his heart. For which he was successfully treated.

Superstition is the subject of discussion at the Reality Blog, asking “How superstitious are you?” If you believe in superstition then you can probably relate to these examples listed on his blog:

“Hitting your left foot against any object as you walk along the street”, “making the sign of the cross following flashes of lightning and thunder clap”, “eating in your dreams”, “asking for money early in the morning”, or “being at a road junction (an intersection) where all traffic lights are red”.

The blog- Black Looks in a post titled:Citizen Jury, writes about some Malian farmers voting in a Citizens Jury against the use of Genetically Modified (GM) crops despite pressure from mutinationals to do otherwise.

“African countries are being increasingly pressurized to adopt GM crops. In Mali which is the largest producer of cotton in SSA Farmers in the South West region of Mali have voted in a “citizens-Jury” against the introduction of GM crops. The farmers came to the decision after cross-examining 14 international witnesses representing a broad range of views on GM foods. The jury was hosted by the regional assembly of Sikasso and facilitated by the ‘International institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and RIBios, the University of Geneva's Biosafety Interdisciplinary Network.’ ”

Ore, blogging from Lagos Nigeria, contemplates on the future- wondering if her chances of “succeeding at balancing a work and family life are totally doomed.” In her post- “the Life of a Woman“. An extract of her musing goes like this:

“As I spend more time at home, I feel increasingly weighed down by thoughts of what lies ahead for me in life. Sure, I plan, hope and pray to have a fantastically-fulfilling career, with lots of opportunities to travel! A wonderful family life is also on my wish list and it is this that fills me with worry and (more than a little) dread. All the women I know end up pulling double-duty i.e. working and taking care of their family and home. Even those married to the most progressive, new-age type of men!”

Jeremy at Naija blog captures Africans’ penchant to commemorate important landmarks in a post titled:“Beyond the Pail”. He writes:

“On the side of the bucket is some text, which states the following ‘In Remembrance of Our Father, Asani Olanrewa Aju Oseni, (a.k.a Aram Aram), 1901-1978. 11th August 1978. Presented by Charlin & Children…’ The humble bucket is therefore not simply a receptacle for carrying water; it is also a receptacle of memory. There is something profoundly moving about how humdrum everyday objects in Nigeria are often suffused with meaning and memory in this way. In the midst of banality lie the most precious forms of spirit.”

Using Jeremy’s post as a pivot, Ethnicloft, a recent entrant into the Nigerian blogoshpere remarks :

“Africans have a unique tendency to commemorate historical events, important landmarks and personal achievements. Surprisingly, the vestiges of these endeavors often manifest at the most unexpected times, and in objects and places.”

EthnicLoft features a printed commemorative cloth from circa 1975 supporting the anti apartheid movement and the then imprisoned Nelson Mandela” as an example of this tradition.

    Cameroon

Expatriates in West Africa often blog about their experiences at work and about life in general. Jennifer Kennedy and Scott Harrison are some of these individuals.

Life In Cameroon is by Jennifer, an American teacher living in Cameroon since August of 2005. She teaches 4th grade students in Yaounde, the capital city. Jennifer celebrated the Christmas/new year holidays visiting the Northern province of the Cameroon with her boyfriend. This excerpt describes her experience on the trip:

“The next day, we set off (in a 4WD Toyota with a driver) to Rhumsiki. The drive there was gorgeous. We passed many villages with homes made of mud/clay bricks and roofs made of wood and grass. As we drove, children shouted out Bon Anne (Happy New Year) and Cadeaux (gift). We passed beautiful mountains and amazing scenery. When we arrived to Rhumsiki we were immediately given a tour guide who took us on a tour of the village. The most impressing part of this particular village was the landscape of amazing peaks and mountains. We could even see over into Nigeria. On the tour we saw the crab sorcerer who told Darrell and I our future from the movements of two crabs. We learned how some village ladies make pottery from clay. Also, we went to an area where they weaved cotton.”

    Liberia

Whereas, Scott of Scott Harrison – notes from West Africa is a volunteer photo-journalist onboard the Mercy Ship Anastasis in West Africa. According to Scott:

“Mercy Ships is the world's largest non-governmental organization of hospital ships, the Anastasis currently the largest operating in the fleet. Since 1978, the organization follows the 2000 year model of Jesus, & brings hope and healing to Africa's poor. The blind see through cataract and other eye operations. The lame walk through orthopedic operations. The mute speak through cleft lip and palate operations. The disfigured are given their dignity back through advanced, life-changing maxillofacial operations. The Anastasis also engages in AIDS education, community development projects, water sanitation and well building, dental & maternity health clinics…”

In additon to their narratives, Jennifer and Scott do have some pictures to share as well. Be warned that some of the pictures on Scott's blog may appear “somewhat unsettling”.

3 comments

  • jess

    I am doing a school project concening the ethnic group of Malinke. Iwas wondering what the family lif and social life of Malinkans are?

  • Danielle

    is there a hospital in Nigeria West Africa named PeterJames General Hospital

  • Sherry

    Danielle,
    I saw your question, and I too am trying to find out about a PeterJames General Hospital from Nigeria. Are you talking to a guy by the name of Peter? I am trying to get information on this. Please help if you can.
    My email is srysturkie@aol.com

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