Book Review of “Behold the dreamers”

Book Review of “Behold the dreamers”

“Behold the dreamers” is the debut novel of Imbolo Mbue, a Cameroonian writer. It was my first time of reading a Cameroonian writer and I honestly fell in love. I could barely stop till I finished!

She tells the story of the American dream from different perspectives: the Jenga family and the Edwards family.

Jenga and his family move to New York, America for a better life but in the aftermath of the global financial crisis and with immigration challenges, they move back to Cameroon.

Mr. Edwards is an American executive working with Lehman brothers in New York. He employs Jenga as a chauffeur. When we first meet them, he and his family seem to living the American dream at the beginning of the novel but also go through various changes and decide to move closer to their extended family in another state at the end of the novel. It is unfortunate that it takes the death of his wife for that to happen.

I loved the various themes the author brought up: teenage pregnancy, parenting, marriage, family, the American dream, drugs, homosexuality, faith/religion, immigration laws, remittances, parental expectations, home, infidelity, domestic violence/abuse, employment, the global financial crisis, blackmail, social class, the global financial crisis etc. I loved how relatable the novel was.

I loved the writing style! I loved the French words she interspersed to show their Cameroonian heritage. The back histories helped to put a lot of things in perspective. Her descriptions were very vivid to the extent that I could almost taste the foods they were eating. Her dialogues were also very down to earth and very realistic. I also loved the suspense although it was painful while reading…lol

I loved her characters and their development. It was very great how most of the characters had their good and bad sides. Neni was my favourite character. She had balls!!!! It was interesting how she chose her marriage over the USA. I felt really sorry for Mrs. Edwards and wished she had asked for help.

I loved the book and learnt a lot from it. Some take aways for me were that things are not always what they seem and you make your own happiness.

I wish the author had saved Mrs. Edwards but I guess her death was the sacrifice she made to bring her family back together.

I totally recommend the book!

Angela Azumah Alu

18/07/2019

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Love and Trust (ft Angela Alu)

Love and Trust (ft Angela Alu)

Lovely poem!

Zuviel's Tempest

It is a wondrous thing,
…to love, to trust.

It is a dangerous thing,
…to love, to trust.

It is a beautiful thing,
…to love, to trust.

It is a fragile thing,
…to love, to trust.

It is an amazing thing,
…to love, to trust.

It is a wicked thing,
…to love, to trust.

It is a passionate thing,
…to love, to trust.

It is a burdensome thing,
…to love, to trust.

It is a joyful thing,
…to love, to trust.

It is a painful thing,
…to love, to trust.

It is a noble thing,
…to love, to trust.

It is a treacherous thing,
…to love, to trust.

It is a wretched existence when we love and trust others.

It is a blessed experience when we love and trust others.

It is God’s will,
…that we love and trust.

It never fails,
…when we love and trust.

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Themes for the next WYDs

Themes for the next WYDs

These are the themes chosen by Pope Francis for the three-year World Youth Day itinerary that will culminate with the international event scheduled for 2022 in Lisbon:

35th World Youth Day, 2020
2020: “Young man, I say to you, arise!” (Lk7:14).

36th World Youth Day, 2021
2021: Stand up. I appoint you as a witness of what you have seen. (cf. Acts 26:16)

37th World Youth Day, 2022 (Lisbon)
2022: “Mary arose and went with haste” (Lk1:39)

http://www.laityfamilylife.va/content/laityfamilylife/en/news/2019/temi-delle-tre-prossime-gmg–2020-2022-.html?fbclid=IwAR26T5qaqJw5buIk_HuuFlV9KyWzvDd87AKwPdrvH6F6JxpczMd8B-JU7Ds#.XQ5tR_ajsvV.facebook

Becoming a travel worthy youth

Becoming a travel worthy youth

Another challenge for Catholic Youth in Ghana who may want to travel for WYD is being travel worthy.

A visa is a necessary document for international travel. However because we live in the developing world and developing countries have had too many experiences of people from developing countries becoming illegal immigrants their requirements are quite stringent.

Usually, some of the documents needed include: the international certificate of vaccination (yellow card), other vaccinations if need be( these may depend on the country in question), your original birth certificate and marriage certificate (if applicable), proof of employment, bank statements, your passport etc. Apart from the health related certificates, the other documents are meant to show your social and economic ties to your country.

So the first thing is to start acquiring those documents if you do not own them. Get a birth certificate and a passport if you do not have one.

Open a bank account if you do not have one. If you are “scared” that the bank may collapse, you can choose one of the old/established banks. Do well to engage in some bank transactions. Even if you are an informal/casual worker who is paid over the counter, do well to deposit the money into your account before withdrawing. If you are a student who receives an allowance, try to deposit your allowance into your account to create a financial footprint for yourself. This will make it easier to print out bank statements for yourself when you are doing your visa application. If you are self sponsored, you may need to request bank statements from a relative/other established member of society who knows you well and can guarantee your return. The person needs to have substantial funds in their account.

If you are employed, you will need a letter from your institution showing that you work with them. You may also need to attach your salary slips. If you are a student, you will need a letter of attestation/introduction from your school to the embassy.

If you are self employed, kindly make sure that you have registered your business. Please also make sure you pay your taxes regularly and have the tax clearance certificate. You will also need a bank account for your business. It would be ideal if you pay yourself i.e. you have a regular salary you take even as the owner of the business. You also need to pay SSNIT for yourself and your workers.

Even if you are employed but make some money on the side, do well to register your business since you never know what may happen. In fact, you improve your social and economic ties to Ghana by having multiple sources of income.

If you have not travelled before you can improve your travel worthiness by travelling to neighbouring African countries and countries where visa requirements are not as strict as developed countries. The trips do not need to be long. Just a weekend trip or a one week trip is okay.

Eureka moments-Finance

Eureka moments-Finance

I always love hearing about how the things I learn or teach in school work out in the real world.

And today I had just such an opportunity. I happened to be in a trading room and I saw how spots and futures are traded. It was fascinating listening to all the explanations. Although my head is still swimming from all the information I can die happy😂

I remember once talking about how I would want to go and see LIFFE and other exchanges if I ever travelled.

I still haven’t seen any of those exchanges yet but it was a real blessing meeting these traders and learning about they do on a day to day basis.

I can’t wait for more eureka moments! And of course the icing on the cake was when they under estimated our ages.

Abi we are fine girls😎

Angela Azumah Alu, 03/06/2019

Financing your WYD journey

Financing your WYD journey

For young Catholics in Ghana, financing the journey to WYD seems to be one of the biggest issues.

Many of those who participate are sponsored by their parishes, deaneries, dioceses or by the Ghana Catholic Youth Council. But that is an option open only to youth executives or other extremely active youth.

Some are sponsored by their parents or other relatives. Since not every parent or relative can do that, that is also a limited option source of financing.

Others are sponsored by parishioners while some raise their own funds.

Herewith, we propose some funding ideas that everyone can try.

The next WYD will be held in Portugal in 2022; sometime during the middle of the year/summer. That’s about three years away.

Projected cost is $3500; using a proposed exchange rate of GHS 6 to $1, a potential participant may need to raise GHS 21,000.

The options for going include being a participant or volunteer. There may be an option for musicians/youths with other talents. There may also be an option for journalists/other media.

For each of these options, the ticket fare, visa processing fare and some pocket money would be needed. Since with a Schengen visa it is easy to travel to neighbouring European countries, there may be additional places to tour.

Some fundraising suggestions:
1. Consistently saving GHS 20 a day for 36 months. This can be translated into GHS 600 per month or GHS 7200 per year for the three years.
2. Another suggestion is to invest the money in a safe investment while you’re saving. That’s a conversation for another day. We’ll come back to it.
3. Another option is to start with the susu box. There are various options. One option is to drop whatever coins you have at the end of the day into the container.
Another option is to have two containers; one for coins another for notes.
With the savings, even if you decide not to go in the end you will still be happy with the money you have saved.
4. Another suggestion is to raise money. Ask family, friends or parishioners to support your dream of participating in a WYD celebration. It will be important to be as transparent as possible with this process and to give them enough time. Reminders are a must. Not everyone will contribute so be sure to ask a lot of people. Some options are to raise e.g. $1 each from 3500 people, $2 each from 1750 people, $5 each from 700 people, $10 each from 350 people, $50 each from 175 people or $100 each from 35 people etc. The fundraising could also go as GHS 1 each from 21000 people, GHS 2 each from 10,500 people , GHS 5 each from 4200 people, GHS 10 each from 2100 people, GHS 50 each from 420 people, GHS 100 per person from 210 people, GHS 200 per person from 105 people, GHS 500 per person from 42 people or GHS 1000 per person from 21 people. After raising the funds, kindly keep them updated on your progress. If possible, you can take their prayer intentions for the pilgrimage. You may also buy souvenirs for them from the WYD to show your appreciation.
5.The strategies are not mutually exclusive. There may be the need to do some targeting to find out which strategies may work given your peculiar circumstances.
6.Youth in a parish May decide to come together to undertake some fundraising activities to raise the funds needed.
7.The important thing is to pray and ask God for direction, start early, be consistent, keep good records and decide not to give up. Remember to keep the end in mind and encourage yourself.

You are kindly invited to share with us how you may have raised funds either for WYD or another activity/plan.

Angela Azumah Alu, 1st June 2019

NB: Although the specific figures are targeted at WYD 2022, in general they apply to other fundraising activities. I pray they’re a blessing.

Featured image from: https://blog.textnow.com/devices-financing-and-you-82644c8ca334

The case for participating in WYD in Portugal

The case for participating in WYD in Portugal

The next World Youth Day (WYD) will be held in Portugal in 2022. In brief, WYD is a Catholic Youth Festival that was introduced by the late Pope St. John Paul II in the 1980s.

The most immediate WYD was held in Panama in 2019 under the theme “Behold I am the handmaid of the LORD let it be done to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38.The entire programme was focused on being fully surrendered to God and saying yes to His will. Pope Francis’s final message at the WYD included a reminder to all youth that we are the now of God.

As is usual, the venue for the next WYD was announced during the closing mass. The next venue is Portugal. The dates, theme and other details are yet to be announced. But from now till then, it’s basically about three years plus.

So a few thoughts. Portugal is quite close to Africa so it should be relatively less expensive. I want to propose that youth in Ghana decide to attend the WYD 2022 either as a volunteer or participant.

Whether you’re a student or a worker, it is possible to raise funds, save or be sponsored to attend the WYD. Although on the face value it seems expensive, it’s a very life changing experience which I believe every Catholic should have. Many parishes and dioceses in Ghana sponsor active youth to WYD. It’s important to start early; you can save daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly according to your strength. You can also raise funds from family, friends and other benefactors if need be.

The experience of travelling, the opportunity to experience the Catholic faith in another country, becoming a member of a Catholic family in another country, meeting and interacting with new people, sharing your faith with others and seeing the universality of the church are among some of the benefits of participating in WYD. There are many other benefits.

And the location! Portugal is old Europe so it will be pretty exciting to travel and see. In addition, because of the Schengen visa it will be pretty easy to potentially see a few other places such as Lourdes in France, a site of Marian apparitions. Of course, Fatima is also in Portugal so it’ll be great to visit.

You can go as an individual, with the Archdiocese of Accra, the Ghana National Catholic Youth Council (GHANCYC) or with a private agency organizing a WYD trip such as Safe Life Experience Consult in Ghana.
Try to explore the available options and choose what’s best for you.

A key thing to remember is to start getting your documents ready. You’ll need a visa which is quite a laborious process especially in developing countries where you need to show your social and economic ties to your country before you can be considered for a visa. So you’ll need your birth certificate, your marriage certificate if you are married, your bank account statements (which should be quite substantial; even if you’re a student please try to engage in some bank transactions). You would also need letters from your school (if you’re a student), your workplace (if you’re a worker) and your company if you’re self employed. You also need to add your company documents if you’re self employed. Salary slips may also be needed.

Angela Azumah Alu, 12/04/2019, Legon
lisbon 2022