Monday, 13 December 2010

The Avocado : Rekindling The Past!

By Mabi Azefor Fominyen

I went to buy a few items from a nearby supermarket last Sunday, when my eyes fell on these avocados. I leaped with joy because these fruits are sooooo scarce in the part of Africa where I find myself today, whereas they were a common feature of my diet in my native Cameroon. Seeing those avocados brought a torrent of childhood memories which pushed me to write.

By the way, I am not used to calling this fruit avocado! I grew up calling them pears surely because we were taught in primary school to call them that way. It's been difficult to wipe that off but my daughter is working hard to get me there.

"It’s avocado not pear mama, that's what my teacher said," she says each time I ask her to have some pears. I guess I really need to get it into my head. However, for this post, I would enjoin you to permit me call it pear like I did while growing up.

I remember how my parents, my brothers, sisters and I all loved having pear and bread for breakfast. In fact we happily opted for pears rather than butter when we had both of the on the breakfast table.

Then, there were those days we used to call “twenty-hungry” – when the month was dragging to an end and most or all of the food items were finished. The dry days when butter was hard to find on the breakfast table; talk less of chocolate, cheese, mayonnaise or eggs.

Pears often came in handy. They were available and cheaper. My mother used to buy so much of it from the local markets at a giveaway price. We sometimes harvested them from our farms. We would wait impatiently for them to get ripe for eating.

And pears could accompany anything! Bread, soaked garri (drinking/cold water garri), roasted cocoyams or plantains or corn, miondo/bobolo and, oh My God, pear and plum (safou)!

Sadly, when I got to secondary school (boarding school) I realised that pears were labeled. They were called "the poor-student's-catalyst". Accordingly, students who came from less-affluent homes could only afford pears (avocado) as a bread spread (catalyst) during breakfast.

Meanwhile, the rich students often spiced their breakfast with “delicacies” like chocolate spread, sardines, margarine, cheese, jam, peanut butter in addition to what the school provided for breakfast.

Whatever the case, I loved pears and even when I had some margarine, I didn't mind having some pears, as well. Now that I can afford a variety of items for breakfast, I still have a craving for pears.

Looking back, I wish I ate pears (avocados) every single day given the food values you can derive from the fruits. Today, I can barely find them. When I do, they cost so much.

Friday, 10 December 2010

In the morning!

By Mabi Azefor Fominyen,

A gentle breeze blows in the morning
It's 6 o'clock in the morning.

Another day is here.....Mama!
Another moment of bonding is here....Mama!

So, I jump out of bed !
Sometimes, I am a little tired and sleepy but I am thankful.
Yes, thankful indeed!

Thankful for my children and my entire family.
Thankful for God's grace, His blessings, His love and protection.
Thankful for the peace and joy!

Saturday, 17 July 2010

A New Man in My Life

I've got a new man in my life.

Yes, he's the one who has kept me so busy and far from this blog. He loves to be the centre of attention. It's been 24/24 hours "ndolo" (love) between him and I.

He actually was inside me for a good nine months. He kicked so hard, I could hardly sit to write as I would have loved to. But I loved every moment of it.

He's George Fominyen....jr. My son. My latest bundle of joy! I love him dearly!

What a blessing!

The baby is doing great! Big sister too. Mum, dad, and the rest of the family at home and abroad, have continued to celebrate the baby's arrival.

To God be the GLORY!

Friday, 23 April 2010

It's been a while!

By Mabi Azefor Fominyen

There comes a time when you really can't do all that you would have loved to do in a day!
Oh yes ! I suppose this holds true for many people.

I had been planning to pull-out my sewing machine and try out a few new designs but I have just not been able to find the time to do so. Procastination...., a busy schedule, .... or mere laziness ? I guess I have been so taken by many other things: school, family chores, work :to name but these!

Helas! I found the time this morning ! Indeed the time to once more put my sewing passion and creativity to test. So I went searching for and digging out some fabrics from my sewing basket. See what I found!

I figured it would be a good idea to design a small-purse using any of these fabrics- so I settled for the "blue & brownish-piece" . I placed the piece of cloth on my measuring table, plus the material for the inter-facing and another piece for the lining. Once I finished taking the measurements, I cut out the pattern and settled down to sewing.

In less that twenty minutes, I was through with the process!

See what I made !

Now I know I really didn't need to take much time to come up with this bag.
If you love it, then let me know.You don't mind having one, do you?

Sunday, 28 February 2010

It's My Birthday!

By Mabi Azefor Fominyen,

What a blessing to turn one more year!

What a strange feeling to think one gets older as years actually come and go!

Did someone say "the older one gets the wiser one becomes?" Oh! that sounds so sweet when one looks at it from this perspective! Afterall wisdom is something to long for.

"Age is really a number......" So says my hubby!
How about that?

......and for my little girl, it's been a day of celebration starting with the sweet wordings on the birthday card she designed for mama......!
"Happy birthday mama. I wish you many more years and that you should continue being happy forever ."

Then the cutting of the birthday cake( another pleasant surprise), the gifts and plenty of love plus good wishes from family members and beloved ones.

I can't help but continue to count my blessings as the years come and go!

Sunday, 7 February 2010

What's the best approach to curb female genital mutilation?

An estimated 120 to 140 million women have been subject to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) and 3 million girls continue to be at risk each year, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said in a statement on the International Day against Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting.

UNICEF said on 6 February 2010 that there had been progress in tackling this issue that many international organisations view as a harmful practice against women.

I suppose such progress would include a recent decision by Mauritainian Muslim Imams to ban the practice. But how effective are such decisions and what are the best methods of tackling this issue. The following article by George Fominyen originally posted on Reuters AlertNet attempts an answer.

Mauritanian Muslim imams initiate rare ban on female circumcision

Human rights campaigners who have been struggling for years to eliminate female genital mutilation (FGM) in West Africa got a boost this week as news emerged that a group of Muslim clerics and scholars in Mauritania had declared a fatwa, or religious decree, against the practice.

The centuries-old practice involves removing part or all of a girl's clitoris and labia, and sometimes narrowing the vaginal opening. About 72 percent of the women in Mauritania have undergone FGM which health workers say often causes severe bleeding, problems urinating and potential complications during childbirth.

"Are there texts in the Koran that clearly require that thing? They do not exist," the secretary general of the Forum of Islamic Thought in Mauritania, Cheikh Ould Zein, told Reuters.

"On the contrary, Islam is clearly against any action that has negative effects on health. Now that doctors in Mauritania unanimously say that this practice threatens health, it is therefore clear that Islam is against it," he added.

In many parts of West Africa, FGM has been presented as a religious obligation for practising Muslim women, leading most to believe that if they are not circumcised they are unclean and their prayers will not be heard. Which makes the decision by 34 imams and scholars -- supported by the government of Mauritania and UNICEF, the United Nations' children's agency -- all the more unusual.

"The fact that the religious leaders in Mauritania are standing up and doing this is quite amazing. It shows how concerned Islam and the religion of Islam is about the health of women," said Molly Melching, executive director of Tostan, a Senegal-based organisation that has been working with 30 communities in Mauritania on FGM and rights issues.


UNICEF estimates that 3 million girls and women are cut each year across communities in 28 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle-East. So, what is the likelihood of seeing similar bans on female circumcision in other countries?

Well, it's hard to say.

A fatwa in itself is generally binding only to those who follow a particular imam, so communities could be subject to contradictory decrees. Moreover, not all the communities in the other countries of sub-Saharan Africa where the practice continues are Muslim -- reflecting the fact that, as a longstanding cultural practice, FGM may be hard to end especially when campaigners use judgmental approaches.

"In the past, people have gone into communities and simply told them to stop this practice because it is bad and they display pictures of naked women and their reproductive organs in communities where this is shocking," Melching said.

Many organisations including Tostan and Save the Children believe this approach failed to stop the practice because it ignored the cultural context in which the targeted communities were living.

"I once asked a community: 'do you have the right to cut somebody's hand?' They said no. 'Do you have the right to cut somebody's head or foot?' They said no. So why do you cut somebody's sexual organ?" said Ame Atsu David, a former regional programme coordinator for HIV and harmful traditional practices of Save the Children (Sweden) in West Africa.

"This got them thinking," she told AlertNet. Many campaigners back an approach which involves human rights, education, community development, health care and leaves the decision to the communities themselves.

A Save the Children-backed campaign run by the Mali Centre Djoliba based on this approach has seen 40 villages abandon female circumcision and set up community groups to oversee the implementation of the decision in a country where over 80 percent of the women have experienced FGM.

In Senegal, 4,121 villages have abandoned FGM since 1997 with the support of Tostan whose work has been praised by U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, and has also contributed to a law against FGM which was passed in the country in 1999.

"But a law is not what will change a social norm. For it to be sustainable it has to come from the people, a decision made by the people, because they really believe in it," Melching said. "The key is empowering people to make their own decisions but with good information," she told AlertNet. (Additional reporting by Laurent Prieur in Nouakchott)

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Happy New Year!

By Mabi Azefor Fominyen

Huraaaaaah! Another year begins!

It's 2010!

It's a moment to extend my best wishes to all of you who visit Mabi's World.

May it be a wonderful year for you and yours!