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Cameroon:IPW, Reborn and Rising Commissions Bokwai Water Station Restoration Project

May 12, 2020

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Investing in People Worldwide (IPW), Cameroon, in partnership with Reborn and Rising have rehabilitated and dedicated one of the public taps in Bokwai village, a community under the Buea subdivision.  The dedication exercise this May 10, 2020, was the second project under the “Water Station Restoration Project”.

Some minor repairs and maintenance were carried out at the public tap with a platform built and a faucet added. The tap is an important point for most residents in the community to fetch clean drinking water. For the past years, the community has been facing difficulty in getting constant water supply with long queues often observed.

To Ruth Abunaw Besong, Exec Dir. Investing in People Worldwide (IPW) this project was aimed at encouraging women to be involved in every developmental project in communities because women are seen as the main actors that drive change in communities.

Hear her: “In this project, women are the persons who used water more; they are the ones you will always find on water points trying to fetch water for the families to prepare meals, for their children and husbands.” We are passionate about lessening the burden on women when it comes to performing their triple roles. We decided to put two faucets to enable them (women) to carry water within a limited timeframe.”

“We passed here a couple of time when we were doing the baseline studies and we realized that women were queuing making it impossible to carry water within an hour. That is why we had to rehabilitate the tap to enable the women to carry water faster and quicker and to lessen the burden on them.”

The Bokwai Water Restoration Project is the second of its kind after the first Long Street in Buea

Ruth Abunaw added: “… We hope that the community continues with the best practices. We have shared with them a water user community document which outlines everyone’s role,” She said while noting that the document is just for sustainability as they will not be there always to ensure that the water is being properly taken care of.

“We will be coming like every three months to ensure that the water station is properly handled and the water user committee is implementing those best practices we have taught them. We are here to share some information with the water user community to assist them to continue maintaining the water point as they have been doing before,” Ruth Abunaw Besong, Exec Dir. IPW said.

“The water problem in Bokwai community is a long story. But through a personal initiative of someone, the community has been able to get water,” Teddy Mwake Lika, Water User Committee Chairman of Bokwai said. “The Bonavada water (from Koke to Bova before coming down) is no longer coming out. The one we have is from Koke to a tank in the community. So the water problem has been solved through this initiative.”

“Normally water is not very consistent in the village…but what IPW, and Reborn and Rising have done is very important. Initially, the tap had one faucet with a lot of scramble to get water. But now the two faucets that are there will eliminate the scramble”.

A lot has been put in place by the community to ensure that water flows constantly, according to the Water Committee Chairman. “Electrical pumps have been instituted to ease the flow of water. But we have looked at it and the consumption in the area has outgrown more than the population.” “Maybe in subsequent projects the NGOs should bring more catchments into the area. I like what is going on because I cannot be in my village and there is a lack of water,” Teddy Mwake Lika added.

Ruth Abunaw Besong, Exec Dir. IPW hands documents to Teddy Mwake Lika, Water User Committee Chairman of Bokwai

Background

IPW: Investing in People Worldwide, Cameroon is a Non-governmental community-based organization involved in sustainable development. It aims at building resilient communities in which women, girls, and youths engage in sustainable development activities to attain their full potentials.

Reborn And Rising is a nonprofit based in Houston, TX, USA. This organization provides support to minority male child homicide survivors beyond the grieving period. Through music, art, education, entrepreneurial ventures, travel, and humanitarian efforts, with the support of dedicated mentors, “RISERS” are encouraged to discover their passions and explore tangible possibilities of making their dreams come true. Reborn And Rising’s desire is to empower youth to find strength in their experiences and rise above the pain to choose life after loss. .

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Poetry Corner:Reborn And Rising in Cameroon

February 27, 2020

By Renée Dugué-Strother *

Renée M. Dugué-Strother in Small Soppo,Buea, in the South West Region of Cameroon in February 2020

I am Reborn And Rising
You see me as the sun
My rebirth is evident
The ascension has begun

Wading in waters of our Motherland
Washing away old pain
Moving to Makossa melodies
Dancing in the Cameroon rain

Your home feels familiar to me
Your eyes your teeth look like mine
Your welcome was immediate
You’ve just been waiting all this time

Through time and space
To places unknown
Consistent lesson learned
All Roads…Home

Come home my son
Return my daughter
Come shine your light
Come bring us water
  ~Renée Dugué-Strother

*Mrs. Renée M. Dugué-Strother is a Healer, Artist, Writer, Humanitarian, Co-founder, and Executive Director of Reborn And Rising, a nonprofit based in Houston, TX, USA. This organization provides support to minority male child homicide survivors beyond the grieving period. Through music, art, education, entrepreneurial ventures, travel, and humanitarian efforts, with the support of dedicated mentors, “RISERS” are encouraged to discover their passions and explore tangible possibilities of making their dreams come true. Reborn And Rising’s desire is to empower youth to find strength in their experiences and rise above the pain to choose life after loss.

Reborn And Rising will continue to implement its Water Station Restoration Project 4 times annually. A long term partnership with Investing In People Worldwide (Buea) and Solid Fort Construction (Douala) has been established, and plans for the 3 remaining public tap rehabilitations this year are already underway. Reborn And Rising is committed to continuing to support the efforts of IPW, as Ruth Besong works tirelessly to ensure women and children’s rights are respected. Additional plans are also in progress, as Renée has identified that the boys and men of Cameroon are critically in need of assistance. Reborn And Rising will return in 2021 specifically to support them.

A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, she has resided in Houston, Texas since Hurricane Katrina devastated her hometown in August 2005. In 2007 after settling in Houston, nicknamed Space City, she started her own business. Pleasure Principal provides massage therapy, alternative, and holistic healing services. As a Licensed Massage Therapist, Renée provides the opportunity for her clients to be heard, seen, fully accepted, supported, embraced, unconditionally loved, encouraged, inspired, and empowered to be who Our Creator is calling them to be. The goal is to experience healing through a deep, non-sexual intimate connection.

Renée’s spirit is as free as her mind is determined. The consummate seeker of light and insight; she encourages all to seek the pathological origins of their behavior. She provides support in identifying, accepting and ultimately appreciating every aspect of existence, as completely necessary to fulfill our divine purpose. She is laser-focused when achieving an objective, yet never forgets to laugh and love along the way.

She loves spending quality time with family and friends, as they enjoy what she considers life’s must-haves…lots of love, beaucoup laughs, tasty treats, and scrumptious sweets…while music that moves your soul plays on repeat.

*Watch out for her Cameroon Diaries series coming up soon

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Cameroon: Reborn and Rising, IPW Commissions Water Station Restoration Project

January 31, 2020

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Investing in People Worldwide (IPW), Cameroon, in partnership with Reborn and Rising have commissioned a water station restoration project aimed at restoring the dilapidated public tap in long street, Small Soppo, Buea, South West Region of Cameroon.

For the past one year, the community has been unable to fetch water in the tap due to various issues. The unavailability of water had made the community to move to other areas to get water which has not been easy for them. The people in this neighbourhood complained about constant water shortage but have been unable to get water due to lack of maintenance.

“This was not the plan for Reborn and Rising when I came here. I came to support IPW what they are doing. But it was only when I saw the need, it was something I could do to assist what the community is already working for and it just torched me,” Mrs Renėe Duguė from Reborn and Rising (USA) said.

“I am an advocate for water, and it is a running theme in my life. It was just important for me to see a need and do what I could do, and this is what Reborn and rising going to do in Cameroon.”

She added: “There is no other organization in the world that assists black and brown boys who are child homicide survivors beyond the grieving period, phase. That is what we want to do and that is what we are doing.”

On what Reborn and Rising has a project for Cameroon, Mrs Renėe Duguė said, “In Cameroon this is going to be our thing. I have made a connection with the engineer of the project, and I am so inspired to do such project at least three more times this year, and four times every year beyond that.”

To Ruth Bisong Abunaw, Director IPW, this project came as a result of the need in the community that the water system was flowing properly, and the meter had a hole, and which was draining the water making it impossible for it to come out in a high volume.

The tap is an important point for most residents in the community to fetch clean drinking water. Often, people spend a considerable time waiting to fetch water due to the population — at times people even leave without even getting drinking water.

“The project was solely sponsored by Reborn and Rising as they did all the maintenance, and changes that needed to be done. New faucets have been installed and a drainage system has been dug for the water to go directly in to the pit to avoid runoff for mosquitoes and other small insects as breeding grounds, Ruth Bisong said.”

With respect to maintenance which is usually the issue with most rehabilitation works in Cameroon, Ruth Bisong did indicate to PAV that as a means of ensuring sustainability “a water user committee has been created, and this committee is made up of five inhabitants who reside in the area. They will ensure that the structure is rehabilitated if it needs minor maintenance, and also involve in taking care of the water.”

Background

Reborn and Rising: Reborn means Renėe in French and Rising, and we assist minority black, and brown boys who are child homicide survivals — so boys who have lost their parent, a parent or caretaker to murder. My son lost his father at 10 years-old to murder, and we struggle, and we want to give back.

IPW: Investing in People Worldwide, Cameroon is a Non-governmental community-based organization involve in sustainable development. It aims at building resilient communities in which women, girls, and youths engage in sustainable development activities to attain their full potentials.

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Reflections… My First Trip To The Motherland

March 4, 2020

By Renée Dugué-Strother *

Pilanesberg, North West Province, South Africa September 2017 Photo Credit: Renée Dugué-Strother

The Anticipation…
Eyes wide
Heart open
Wings spread
Feet landed

At First Sight…
Soul weighted
Stomach pained
Tears flowed
Fists clenched

Settling In…
Being welcomed
Hands held
Energy soothed
Spirit imbued

Parting Gift…
Mind opened
Ears pierced
Back strengthened
Soul stirred

Each one, reach one, teach one
So much work, to be done

*Mrs. Renée M. Dugué-Strother is a Healer, Artist, Writer, Humanitarian, Co-founder, and Executive Director of Reborn And Rising, a nonprofit based in Houston, TX, USA. This organization provides support to minority male child homicide survivors beyond the grieving period. Through music, art, education, entrepreneurial ventures, travel, and humanitarian efforts, with the support of dedicated mentors, our RISERS are encouraged to discover their passions and explore the tangible possibilities of making their dreams come true. Reborn And Rising’s desire is to empower youth to find strength in their experiences and rise above the pain to choose life after loss.

Reborn And Rising will continue to implement their Water Station Restoration Project 4 times annually. A long term partnership with Investing In People Worldwide (Buea) and Solid Fort Construction (Douala) has been established, and plans for the 3 remaining public tap rehabilitations this year are already underway. Reborn And Rising is committed to continuing to support the efforts of IPW, as Ruth Besong works tirelessly in ensure women and children’s rights are respected. Additional plans are also in progress, as Mrs. Renée has identified the boys and men of Cameroon are critically in need of assistance. Reborn And Rising will return in 2021 specifically to support them.

Renée’s spirit is as free as her mind is determined. The consummate seeker of light and insight; she encourages all to seek the pathological origins of their behavior. She provides support in identifying, accepting and ultimately appreciating every aspect of existence, as completely necessary to fulfill our divine purpose. She is laser focused when achieving an objective, yet never forgets to laugh and love along the way.

A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, she has resided in Houston, Texas since Hurricane Katrina devastated her hometown in 2005. She loves spending quality time with family and friends, as they enjoy what she considers life’s must-haves…lots of love, beaucoup laughs, tasty treats, and scrumptious sweets…while music that moves your soul plays on repeat.

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Sən Rise

May 3, 2020

By Renée Dugué-Strother*

Renée & René Dugué, Mother, Son, and Father, Terence “Sporty T” Vine, deceased. c. 2010-18

Giver of light

Sən Rise

Giver of life

Sən Rise

The source we need 

Sən Rise

To feed our seed

Sən Rise

Illuminator of the soul

Sən Rise

Without you here the world is cold

Sən Rise

To the world magnificent

Sən Rise

To the world, you are a gift

Sən Rise

All life needs you

Sən Rise

You are the truth

Sən Rise

Without you Sən this world would not be

There would be nothing to see

Everyday open your eyes

Everyday Sən rise

Twenty-two orbits ago today

You sent you to shine the way

The light, the match, you were the spark

The flame, the fire, light in the dark

Sən rise, Sən shine, Sən dance, Sən sing

Sən lead, Sən follow, Sən take, Sən bring

Sən laugh, Sən cry, Sən love, Sən feel

Sən beam, Sən grown, Sən burn, Sən heal

Twenty-two times you’ve circled you

On your journey for the truth

Stay the course and you will see

You possess the light you seek

~Renée Dugué-Strother

Author: Mrs. Renée Dugué-Strother is a Healer, Artist, Writer, Humanitarian, Co-Founder, and Executive Director of Reborn And Rising, a nonprofit based in Houston, TX, USA.

She shared with PAV that her son inspired this piece, and it was included in a letter written to him while in Buea, Cameroon on her organization’s first mission trip. She revealed that her son, also named René, is currently incarcerated in Houston, Texas, USA and that her departure date from Africa was strategically chosen to at least be in the same city as she and her family wished him a Happy Birthday on February 6, and celebrated Our Creator’s grace and mercy in allowing him to see another year, even if behind bars. 

Mrs. Renée reminded PAV of the mission and vision of Reborn And Rising, born out of the pain experienced when her son’s father was murdered. He was only ten years old, and they have struggled desperately to move forward without his Dad. While there were organizations that offered grief counseling throughout the grieving period, there were none that had any programs in place to address the combination of issues Lil René faced, with regard to the loss of a parent due to homicide, specifically providing the unique psychological needs of a “Black” boy in America growing up without his father and extended programs in place to ensure developed and sustained healing. Reborn And Rising acknowledges all of these as absolutely critical to treat the acute trauma experienced and to foster a sustained recovery. This one of a kind nonprofit offers a holistic approach to healing and recovery through mentorship by people who look like the youth we support and will work with them to establish a meaningful connection and share how they survived what these children are struggling to grasp, let alone having to overcome. Crucial to Reborn And Rising’s program is providing psychological treatment by professionals experienced in African psychology methodology as developed by Dr. Wade Nobles and support by a “Village” who embrace traditional African wisdom traditions.

“We know too well that nothing can erase the pain of losing a parent this way or any other. Our desire is to empower youth to find strength in their shared experiences and rise above the pain to choose life.”

~Renée Dugué-Strother

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SOUVENIRS FROM CAMEROON

April 23, 2020

By Renée Dugué-Strother *

Nges Roland, presents his commissioned artwork. Feb. 2020.Photo credit: Renée Dugué-Strother

I breathed in my ancestral air

I ate from the earth plowed by my Mother’s great great great Grandmother’s hands

I was nourished by the same solar waves that powered the minds and strengthened the backs of my Father’s Father’s Father’s Father’s Grandfathers

My feet felt the surge of fertility coursing through the forever fertile soil that feeds nations

I drank from earth’s fountain

I danced in the waves

I waded in the sun

I bathed in my genes’ pool

I sank into our human history’s darkness

I soaked in every drop of blackness

I slathered my skin with each drip

My every pore yearned for more
Of this ebony fuel that flowed from my toe tips to my lips through to my coiled tentacles

The longer I sat the thirstier I became

Then I heard a voice that spoke my true name

It whispered “You are Mine.”

Now Leave
With this wisdom of inherited
Ebony Spiritual Connectivity
To The Most High

And Share
The reality of your birthrights’ royalty

Then Return
With more thirsty for more

*Mrs. Renée M. Dugué-Strother is aHealer, Artist, Writer, Humanitarian, Co-founder, and Executive Director of Reborn And Rising, a nonprofit based in Houston, TX, USA.

Artist:NGES CHAH ROLAND, native of Bamenda, Cameroon. He is an Engineer, Visual Artist, Founder of Solid Fort Construction, and the ingenious designer of Reborn And Rising’s 1st Water Station Restoration Project completed at Long Street, Small Soppo, Buea, SW Cameroon, dedicated on January 31, 2020. His heart and love for his home and people are as big as Africa. In spite of the more financially rewarding opportunities that his education and experience could provide abroad, he is committed to investing his talents and his life to Cameroon. In addition to his construction company, Mr. Roland has an arts group, BIFIN ONE HAND, based in Buea, which seeks to showcase local talent globally.
“There was an immediate connection with Mr. Roland. He instantly grasped my vision, and surpassed my expectations! Reborn And Rising looks forward to the long term partnership with Solid Fort Construction, and I enjoy the daily personal reminder of him in my home. His commissioned painting, depicting Cameroon’s beauty and culture, is my most treasured piece of art!”~Renée Dugué-Strother

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#BLACKGIRLMAGIC CAMEROON

March 10, 2020

Renée M. Dugué-Strother*

Ruth Arreyngang Abunaw Besong (IPW) and Renée Dugué-Strother (R&R)
Buea, Cameroon 1/20

In true #BLACKGIRLMAGIC Fashion she walks life’s tight rope…

Masterfully balancing her journey’s responsibilities…

Magically maintaining her integrity, her esteem, her compassion, her mental acuity, and her spiritual awareness.

Resilient and resourceful, she relies on her ancestors and angels to fuel her rocket ship spirit guided by her Creator into her destiny’s galaxy.

She wondrously weaves all of these elements…

Faithfully embroidering each panel with threads of poise, grace, dignity, and class…

Each stitch embedded with vibranium-like endurance.

In true #BLACKGIRLMAGIC Fashion she wears her cape.

A garment fit for royalty, crafted with quality far superior to the finest fabrics this plane can create.

No runway in Paris produces this.

No fashion show in New York knows how.

No place in India inks silks of this caliber.

This regal drape…

This coveted covering…

Is embellished with the blood, sweat and tears of this planet’s Motherland.

Her Motherland.

Her Mother’s land.

And so she stands.

In front of her life’s proverbial mirror preparing for the day.

Seeing that she is completely dressed, equipped and covered.

No additional accessories needed.

The only befitting enhancement to her birth right suit and her natural beauty is her brilliant smile.

She puts it on.

And in true #BLACKGIRLMAGIC Fashion she sets out to share her radiant gifts with everyone she encounters.

*~Renée M. Dugué-Strother

#BLACKGIRLMAGIC CAMEROON was inspired by my host and Cameroonian partner, who warmly welcomed me into her home and her family in Buea.  She is a(n)… Woman of God, Faithful Wife, Nurturing Mother, Loving Daughter, Amazing Sister, Loyal Friend, Courageous Humanitarian, Relentless Scholar. This LADY is intelligent, sensitive, powerful, ambitious, kind, and strong beyond my comprehension! She is the epitome of perseverance and humility personified. I’m so inspired by this CEO Boss Lady with a heart as rich as Africa!

Because of you…

I WILL #Walk4Water

Mrs. Renée M. Dugué-Strother is a Healer, Artist, Writer, Humanitarian, and Co-founder, and Executive Director of Reborn And Rising, a nonprofit based in Houston, TX, USA. This organization  provides support to minority male child homicide survivors beyond the grieving period. Through music, art, education, entrepreneurial ventures, travel, and humanitarian efforts, with the support of dedicated mentors, our RISERS are encouraged to discover their passions and explore the tangible possibilities of making their dreams come true. Reborn And Rising’s desire is to empower youth to find strength in their experiences and rise above the pain to choose life after loss.

Reborn And Rising will continue to implement their Water Station Restoration Project 4 times annually. A long term partnership with Investing In People Worldwide (Buea) and Solid Fort Construction (Douala) has been established, and plans for the 3 remaining public tap rehabilitations this year are already underway. Reborn And Rising is committed to continuing to support the efforts of IPW, as Ruth Besong works tirelessly in ensure women and children’s rights are respected. Additional plans are also in progress, as Mrs. Renée has identified the boys and men of Cameroon are critically in need of assistance. Reborn And Rising will return in 2021 specifically to support them.

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