Raised in a culture of suspicions, witchcraft and rumors of witchcraft, Cameroonians, and most Africans, are skeptical of any good thing that comes their way, or that happens to others. These suspicions have crippled them from their ability to fully rejoice or proclaim the bountiness in their lives or the lives of others.
Call a fellow Cameroonian [African] today and ask them how they're doing. Undubitably you'll get a variation one of the following answers: - "ha, a de massa"...a broken english form to say "here I am"...
- "na you see how?"...an insinuous way to say "look at me, how do you think I'm doing?"
- "we're pushing"...to say "it's hard but we're trying to move fwd"
Things get worse when dealing with things like pregnancies, trips or else. In Cameroon, when you're pregnant, you never shout it over the top of a roof, any roof, even yours. I got reminded of that when last year, one of my sisters got pregnant with her first child and it was only a few months from birth that I got awared of it. Indignant over being "left out of the loop", I called my mom just to hear her say that "you know here we don't talk about this kind of things, people just notice [the change when the belly comes out]. It's because you're far away that she even told you".
In Cameroon and most African countries, after high school, you may have either an opportunity to travel abroad for your college studies or get into a reputable local school. The former is more prestigious, as it's not everyone who can afford to travel or even get a visa. I remember
twelve years ago, a bunch of us from my high school promotion had the opportunity to go abroad. Some to Germany, France, The Netherlands or the US. It was on the day of our departure (or the eve at best) that we informed our friends of our plans. It didn't matter if we were best friends, close friends or mere friends. When it came to unveil our grand travelling ambition, every soul became a potential hindrance to our initiative. we couldn't afford to leave any end loosed. Your BFF could be or become your BEF (Best Enemy Forever) or else.
This true story happened a long time ago in Cameroon. A girl, that I'll call Mina, was making the rounds to say goodbye to her friends as she was about to depart the next day to Europe. When she got to Gayle's her best friend, (they had grown up together, went to school together, studied together, celebrated each other birthdays), Gayle became very sad . They cried, lamented and promised each other never to forget about the other. Gayle then suggested they shared a last meal. She went out and bought some bread with chocolate cream inside, broke in half and gave the other piece to her departing friend. They ate, laughed together wished each other good things. Later in the evening, Mina started complaining about stomaches, a few hours later she was dead. it was discovered that she had rat poison in her system. Further investifation led to Gayle who confessed that she didn't want to stay behind alone for her best friend was leaving her.
Just a couple of months ago, my godmother came from Cameroon to visit the US for the very first time. As her return got close, she packed half her luggages with gifts for people from her church, her work place and other acquaintances. To some she brought shoes, to others purses, or
cologne or clothes. To her bewilderment, the very same people who received gifts from her, spewed in her back "who does she think she is...going to USA for vacation and coming back?"..."She has it all, doesn't she? plulizzz..."
I supposed my immersement in the American culture has made me lose sight of what my African inheritage has bequeathed upon me. Blessings are not supposed to be discussed out loud. When something good happens, it must be kept a secret in fear that a malevolent soul would jeopardize it. One can't truly celebrate their life in the fear that some evil soul will spoil that for them. They're forced to develop a false sense of humility because them fear people may misinterpret them as showing off.
As I pondered on this topic, Shouting The Blessings of The Lord, I poured myself in the Psalms of David and got struck by his approach. He didn't hold back in proclaiming high and loud what the Lord had done for Him and through him. Repeatedly I encountered:
[Ps9:1-2] 1 I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
2 I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.
Then he goes on describing exactly how the Lord has blessed and delivered him.
David as a warrior, did have many enemies but it didn't keep him from shouting, dancing, praising, proclaiming, cheering what the great deeds of the God of Israel!
The other day as I was cruising FB, i came across the page of a church member and was surprised to see written on the wall from different people "Congratulations! You'll make great parents!". I was puzzled and wondered when they got pregnant and gave birth. Came to find out the bun was still in the oven and the lady wasn't even showing yet!
Africans can learn from their fellow Americans. Our attitude has done us more harm than good. It has robbed us from recognizing a blessing when it shows up at our door, incapacitated us to express gratitude, cheated us from more bounty, made God a recipient of our indifference,
thanklessness, rudeness and ungratefulness. And being a Christian has not made us less victims of this viciousness.
Therefore, I decided to break the mold and follow David's footsteps. Stay tuned for part II.
-- My Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/TresorDeBeaute