When I was much younger, my family use to tell me I was a miracle child, because I stayed 11 months in my mother’s womb and the doctors said I was dead but I somehow was born successfully. So I guess I was a miracle child after all. I was born out of wedlock precisely in the northwest region of Cameroon. I was born as a native of a town where women are considered prostitutes, loose and people who end up having nothing. I didn’t even have the opportunity to know my Dad because he died when I was 3years old. I was raised by my mother and her siblings in a family house with many other children (my nieces and nephews), it was a good experience growing up with so many people but then I realized that among us will be so many school drop outs. I can recall our house having close to 20 children in which about 12 were girls and at a certain age they all started getting pregnant and dropping out of school, some will be involved in unsafe abortions and intend have tradic health outcomes. I was the only one left to follow down that lane.
Even though I was born safe and surrounded by loved ones, I had so many health challenges, I was very weak and will collapse at any given opportunity, I was not able to do any work because I was very weak. In school I will collapse from reading intensely because I never wanted to accept the fact that I was weak. Due to these challenges I had people who will mock, laugh and call me weak thing. With all these still being a problem for me to handle, my mum was diagnosed of breast cancer, she was sick for a few months and finally gave up the ghost when I was 16years. I became what I never wanted to be called “an orphan”. I remember I cried for months, slept and woke hoping I will see her but she didn’t come back. Then I remembered the last words she said to me, she said “my girl I trust you will make our family proud”. Even though I promised her I would, I was just saying to please her at that moment but was filled with uncertainty and fear for the future.
It wasn’t an easy task for me leaving with the trauma of first being born out of wedlock, then having health challenges, being an orphan and then seeing almost everyone around me just being dropouts and getting unwanted pregnancies at very tender ages. Sometimes I will work down the streets and hear negative comments from people and neighbors on how the girls of my family were so loose and all they knew was to open their legs for men. I was traumatized and depressed I successfully went to the university but was still having health challenges. I remember how in my second year I got an attack and got paralyzed and could not walk and missed by exams but I fought through that and miraculously regained my ability to walk again.
I knew I wanted to be different, I knew I didn’t want to go down that lane, I knew my family deserved better and I knew it didn’t have to be the end of life for those who made mistakes in their life choices. My mother’s illness and the different health challenges I had provoked a passion in me to eradicated diseases not caused by any particular bacteria or virus_noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). I found alot of people having these diseases, my anty had diabetes, my grandfather had hypertension, and one of my aunts were obessed.
Equally, the normal trend in my community and family which was girls being dropouts and pregnant, lead me into more research on sexual and reproductive health among girls.
It was not easy but I fought so hard to be strong, fought so hard and successfully made it through school and had my degree in foodscience and technology in 2016. I was the first in role out of 20 children growing up, to have a degree. It was a cause for me to be happy and proud and to say I have achieved in life but no; I knew the degree wasn’t suppose to be the end because I wanted to correct the image that was painted about girls in my family and my entire community. I started by defending and advocating for my sisters by talking back at anyone who looked down on them and encouraging them to start all over. I will do some odd jobs to raise money and give my family to make the society know that we can be different.
My quest for something better, to be different and my passion to eradicate diseases like cancers and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) connected me to an outstanding lady Mercy Kyeng in 2017, she was the CEO of Value Health Africa an NGO that seeks to reduce the prevalence of NCDs, I expressed by passion for health and what I have been through, I pleaded to work for her for free that is volunteering. Fortunately she gave me a slot and mentored me. In working as a volunteer with Value health Africa , I was determined to be the best I can and impact as many people as I could, I remember with a small phone I will do little videos and share on facebook and other social media platforms to sensitize and raise awareness on pertinent issues, like healthy lifestyle choices from healthy eating habits, physical activity, entrepreneurship, sexual and reproductive health among adolescents and so many other healthy lifestyle issues. I did these because I believed these were the bases of health, happiness and prosperity.
Choosing and determining to be different first in my mind and fighting my fears and weaknesses has made me empower and change the lives of thousands of people especially young girls and NCD patients. I am 24years but im amazed at the things I was able to achieve. I now see myself as beautiful, strong and confident leader who many others look up too. I am now being invited to speak in different conferences in local communities, in radio stations and different organisations, my programs on the socail media now attracts thousands of viewers around the world? the most recent program I posted on facebook about menstrual hygiene attracted over 5000views. Futhermore, My sisters now walk with their heads high up because I succeeded in motivating them to turn their weaknesses to strengths and their mistakes to messages some of them are learning a trade while the others seek to pursue their education. Their babies are wonderful, brilliant. Moreover people that scorn and mocked me now come to me for advice and admire my family.
It is ok to be different because the day u decide to be different you will motivate others to follow suit and that's how a legacy is created.
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