MUSINGS NEWS LETTER - SEPTEMBER 2023 EDITION
Hello everyone and WELCOME BACK!
I would be gravely remiss if I did not start off with a heartfelt THANK YOU to you all for your warm and enthusiastic response to the maiden edition of the MUSINGS Newsletter which went out on Monday, August 7th 2023.
THANK YOU ...
For reading it,
For liking, rating and sharing it,
For participating in the poll, and especially,
For the invaluable feedback!
I sincerely hope the response will be the same for this "falla-back" edition.
Well, a whole month has whizzed right by, and the First Monday in September, (LABOR DAY), is here already, so here comes EDITION #2 - all 4 segments of it:
COMMUNITY SUPPORT: EYA'S ANGELS - A community-oriented Organization.
SPOTLIGHT OF THE MONTH: Dr. Yvonne Fondufe-Mittendorf, Geneticist.
CULTURE CORNER: Cameroonian Traditional Attire showcased in Punta Cana, DR.
EGBE'S TAKE: The Joys of Dependence.
This month, our Community post is centered on "EYA'S ANGELS", a 501 (c) community-based, nonprofit organization made up of family and friends who have come together to assist the less fortunate in Cameroon – West Africa, and promote cultural diversity in the United States.
The philanthropy-oriented entity was birthed in 2018 with Mrs. Pauline Litumbe-Hill's wish to honor and uphold the legacy of her deceased mother, Late Iya Beatrice Enanga Litumbe, in a meaningful and unique way.
She convinced her siblings to join her in conducting a free Health Fair to celebrate/commemorate the 15th Anniversary of her passing. The event was fulfilling and served as a springboard for a "Charity" that was named Eya's Angels, abbreviated EA.
The organization focuses on 4 main areas:
Health, (They provide FREE basic diagnosis/preventive care),
Education, (They distribute Back-to-School supplies to individuals and institutions, provide assistance with tuition, purchase of school uniforms),
Empowerment, (They assist with micro-financing) and
Cultural Diversity, (They organize fairs and community events in the U.S., showcasing Cameroonian, African and other cultures. )
Since its inception in 2018 they have provided support to other non-profits and individuals in need, serving more the 2000 people, especially in orphanages and villages.
Conducted 10 health fairs,
Undertaken 5 orphanage visits,
Micro-financed 30 applicants and
Sponsored 4 back2school events.
WANT TO LEND A HAND? INTERESTED IN KNOWING MORE?
They accept (tax deductible) donations of cash and gently used items which they ship and distribute to the needy.
They have their annual fundraiser each February, tied to Black History Month celebrations. They also raise funds all year round by recycling gently-used items and relying on volunteers to help cut cost. For more information, visit the EYA'S ANGEL Website
A DISPLAY OF GRATITUDE FOR "EYA'S ANGELS", BY WALANA WA FAKO MICRO-FINANCE BENEFICIARIES, IN WONJONGO (SOUTHWEST REGION OF CAMEROON):
YVONNE FONDUFE-MITTENDORF, Ph.D - EPIGENETICIST
YES, women have come a long way and have made very significant inroads into many academic fields that were either exclusively or predominantly occupied by men in the past.
However, it is not that long ago since women (girls) were "allowed" to go to school in some parts of the world, and even now, there still are areas where access to education for females is not a given.
And then, in countries where girls can and do go to school, they are expected and encouraged to go into the ARTS, as opposed to the SCIENCES. (Hence the current push for STEM education for the "girl child".)
This, at least partially, explains why female savants like Professor YVONNE FONDUFE-MITTENDORF, a renowned, well-respected EXPERT EPIGENETICIST with a 7 page long resume, stand out. To top it off, she is (relatively) young, BLACK and CAMEROONIAN-born.
She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the highly-reputed University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and her Ph.D. in molecular genetics from Georg-August Universitaet, Germany, followed by a successful postdoctoral fellowship at the prestigious Northwestern University.
Dr. Yvonne Fondufe-Mittendorf has earned numerous awards and accolades for her extensive research and dedicated mentorship, including the National Institutes of Health’s IDeA Thomas Maciag Award, University of Kentucky Research Professorship and recognition from University of Kentucky’s Chellgreen Center.
To understand and appreciate even better the significance, importance and IMPACT of the work she does, it might help to read this excerpt from a December 7 2021 VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE (VAI) article which includes an explanation of what EPIGENETICS is, in the first place:
"Epigenetics is a growing field that explores how and when the instructions in our DNA are used, and what happens when things go awry. Fondufe-Mittendorf investigates how environmental impacts, such as exposures to toxicants, disrupts this intricate process and influences health and disease. Her groundbreaking research — which blends epigenetics, toxicology, bioinformatics and medicine — aims to reveal insights that may be translated into new cancer prevention and treatment strategies."
In that same article, the Chair of the Institute's Department of Epigenetics makes the following statement which is so very accurate in this day and time when there are a lot of WHYs in the field of medicine, for which there are no forthright answers.
"Understanding how environmental factors impact disease risk is a critical area of research with massive implications.
Dr. Fondufe-Mittendorf’s exceptional work is illuminating previously unknown connections that hold great potential for improving human health.”
Know what else is NOT "stereotypical" about Dr. YVONNE FONDUFE-MITTENDORF??
The fact that she is married - has been for 21 years, has 2 beautiful, well-adjusted daughters, and is very stylish, as in, TRÈS CHIC!!
Think this is no big deal?
Then you certainly haven't heard from many of the very highly qualified (African) female Scientists who readily declare that friends and family strongly counseled them against venturing (far) into their out-of-the-ordinary chosen field of expertise, dreading that doing so would guarantee them "spinster status" for life!
With regard to "fashion", the perception is that girls/women who are deep into the sciences do not care 2 hoots about their appearance, and those who might care are strongly dissuaded, for fear their "nyanga", (makeup, hairstyle, form of dress, etc.) may cause them to not be taken seriously or respected.
Furthermore, highly educated women - particularly in the field of science, are often presumed to be too "weird" and/or "busy", to be good, effective, hands-on, emotionally-invested Wives and Moms!
Well, well, well!
Yvonne Fondufe-Mittendorf definitely DEBUNKS all of that, in one fell swoop.
Hopefully, many a young, intelligent, black girl who aspires to be a "WOMAN OF SCIENCE" would take a look at Prof. Yvonne Fondufe-Mittendorf and KNOW that it ain't necessarily so!!!
You really are an INSPIRATION and ROLE MODEL to so many, in very many ways!
Click right here, to learn more about her research and academic work.
No one is likely to think "AFRICA" and even less "CAMEROON", if the Dominican Republic Resort town of PUNTA CANA is mentioned.
However, this past weekend, if you airdropped or parachuted yourself into the Hall in the Hotel Resort where the MINANG - ELSHERIF TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE was taking place, you would be convinced you were in the very heart of Cameroon.
The MUSIC, the DANCE STEPS, the ULULATIONS, and, above all, the GARB, made it so!
The DRESS CODE for Friday, September 1st was "TRADITIONAL ATTIRE" and the guests did, indeed, comply!
Just take a Delightful look and a Joyful listen at a few of the Sights and Sounds:
WE DO WISH THE COUPLE MANY, MANY BLESSED YEARS OF WEDDED BLISS!
CONGRATULATIONS TO THEM, TO THEIR PARENTS, AND TO THEIR RESPECTIVE FAMILIES.
THE JOYS OF DEPENDENCE!
Usually, and I would say, understandably, it is INDEPENDENCE that one would crave or strive for, not DEPENDENCE.
Weary Moms anxiously await the day their baby is weaned off the breast and potty-trained, and as such, not have to depend on them so much! (Glory Hallelujah!)
Children, (most of them at least), cannot wait to “come of age”, move out of “the nest” and live their own life, just as they see fit.
Many an artist who has been part of a band has decided to break off and “go solo”, à la Lionel Richie who left The Commodores or George Michael who left WHAM.
The Family and Friends of anyone who’s struggling with substance abuse, are definitely praying that the day would soon come when their loved one’s dependence on narcotics would come to an end.
Through the years, peoples and countries have striven for their Freedom and INDEPENDENCE, battling - to the death, to break free from the choke hold of Slavery, (Neo)Colonialism, Apartheid and other such types of subjugation.
In short, anyone who feels stifled, oppressed, overwhelmed or mistreated by someone or something else would actively seek to get rid of that person or thing.
Does this therefore mean there’s nothing at all to be said for “DEPENDENCE”?
Is there really no “good side” to it?
There certainly is!
There are, in fact, times when it actually is a BLESSING to (be able to) be DEPENDENT … on someone, or something, simply because you can RELY on that person or thing to support, sustain, boost, enhance, remedy, facilitate, make possible, ease, eradicate …
When it comes to THINGS we’d like to be (able to be) DEPENDENT on, we can list quite a few:
TRANSPORTATION: Who wants to “trek” in the heat, rain or snow to the grocery store instead of drive their car and who’d rather swim across the Atlantic than fly?
MEDICATION: Get a debilitating infection, and you’d be ready to write an “ODE TO PENICILLIN”!
SYSTEMS: We are glad when we have a JUSTICE system we can look to for (re)mediation and recourse, or an EDUCATION system that can produce experts well-equipped to thrive in whatever domain – sciences, arts, politics, finance, medicine …
However, it is so much more gratifying when, as the co-dependent Human Beings we were created to be, we have PEOPLE in our lives that we can DEPEND on:
A good, understanding, supportive and dependable SPOUSE/LIFE PARTNER,
Caring, doting and respectful CHILDREN who take the 5th Commandment very much to heart,
Friendly, nosy-in-a-good-kind-of-way NEIGHBORS,
Loyal, trustworthy, genuine FRIENDS,
Tell-it-like-it-is PASTORS, MENTORS and COUNSELORS, (professional or not), who can be counted on to tell us the hard truths, but with Love & Compassion, and ULTIMATELY, ...
GOD!!! Infallible, Unchanging, Faithful, and Ever-present!
May He make us grateful for the people in our lives we can truly RELY on, and grant us the GRACE to be the kind of people who can be RELIED upon and COUNTED on as well.
UNTIL NEXT TIME, STAY CONNECTED!!!