Life is great when we add a little sunshine and laughter to it. This is especially true for people living with sickle cell, especially the young ones who know more about pains, medications and hospital stays than more children their age group.
I have been an active member of the Etougebe Baptist Hopsital Sickle Cell Clinic for a while and I had this desire to help the younger warriors to see life beyond hospitals and pain. To help them see that they can have fun and happy moments without the hospital and when the young Dr in charge of the clinic, Dr Michael Budzi also bought the idea, we got about preparing for a picnic with whatever resources we had. We are both not very familiar with the City of Yaounde, so we had to scout out the town and find suitable places where children could gather for a fun few hours. Eco-park was a first choice but we were working within a tight budget. We had to settle for Bois Sainte Anatasie at the Carrefour Warda neighbourhood. It was also a great place, but with limited fun infrastructures. Still, we couldn’t keep pushing the Fun Day out until we had enough cash. We therefore decided to start small while we hopefully plan for bigger and thus, 24th November, 2018 was agreed upon and it thankfully, came to pass. It was not hitch free.
There were a few delays as some things were not ready on time and because we had postponed it before, we were wary about the parents taking us for jokers lol. Thankfully, despite this little start problems, we made it. The weather cooperated and the sun shone brightly. We made it to the place before the population of Yaounde started coming in and the mosquitoes too. The Media House, CRTV was present and it was heartwarming to hear the kids … that is those who wanted too … talk about their future and dreams and aspirations. We had to apologize to parents who didn’t feel comfortable with their kids talking on camera, even though the kids themselves came forward to talk and we had to emphasize that the whole thing we are involved in is in #BreakingTheSIlence and Stigma around sickle cell and they need not be ashamed of because sickle cell is not some crime committed in which we need to feel shame.
Yours truly was asked why the picnic idea and I said to help the kids see life beyond hospital and pain and to make them understand limitations is only in their heads. With just a little more care, they can live a normal and healthy lifestyle even with sickle cell. I also had to emphasize on the need of knowing our genotypes to make informed decisions and the fact that parents should take care of their warrior kids because it is a genetic blood disorder and not witchcraft. Dr Mike and Ms Olivia Acha Morfaw had their own wise words to add. We had fun as we played games like cards, scrabbles, word games, Charades etc and ended the day with some yummy and healthy bites provided by Miss Monique Tina of Tina’s Cuisine.It was a memorable few hours and it was very satisfying to see parents and kids alike happy. One progress at a time, as we work towards demystifying sickle cell and helping kids and parents see life beyond hospital and pain. As we look forward to more of such programs, we continue to appreciate all who have been helping us make this possible.