Tag Archives: Death

Something more than bullying…

Standard
As if bullying is not enough to worry about...

As if bullying is not enough to worry about…

*dusts cobwebs* I don’t even say I have a blog anymore, it’s embarrassing that I haven’t posted anything in a while…I’ve got to get out of this rut I’m stuck in.

So blogfam, howz it hanging? Sitting good? Weekend went well? My weekend was fabulous, spent it out of town with friends – plus the AH-MAY-ZING football match between Cameroon and Tunisia (Go Indomitable Lions!) where we whooped Tunisia 4-1 in the qualifier to the 2014 Brazil World Cup just made it even better. Team #237 for life! Did you watch the match? what were you up to? Let me know!

Ok, on to the topic of this post. We all know that bullying is a horrible practice, and when practiced by children in schools it can have lifelong devastating consequences on the victim, and dare I say even on the perpetrator.

However, bullying is increasingly taking a back seat to actual physical violence in schools – case in point? The stabbing of a Lowersixth (aka sixth form/freshman) student by a fifth form student in a popular boarding school in Buea Cameroon, St. Joseph’s College Sasse, yesterday November 18th, following a dispute OVER A PAIR OF SHORTS!! The stabbed student has since been declared dead, and his attacker is under police custody. ‘Sasse’ as it is popularly known is a Roman Catholic institution, and has fostered some of the greatest minds in Cameroon, including a former Prime Minister of Cameroon and countless other persons of repute. Their alumni association, the SOBANS, is amongst one of the most charismatic and popular ones nationwide. So in the midst of all this, what went wrong?

This story has made me sick to my stomach – unfortunately, stories like these are increasingly recurrent. All over the world, students are stabbing other students are stabbing, shooting, beating and maiming their classmates for any and no reason whatsoever. Happens in BHS Buea,Cameroon (yup, happened while I was there), Washington, West Virginia, and elsewhere . This begs the question, what is being done about this increase of violence on teenagers, by teenagers, in schools?

Is it enough for the schools to install metal detectors, perform searches of bags and lockers and report/punish/expel children found guilty of physical violence? Or does the blame lie elsewhere?

I think it does. The parents.

I may not have any children, but I’m around children and young, busy professionals often enough to know that a lot of children are growing up in the hands of nannies, preschool teachers, nursery attendants, grandparents, and a host of other people ill-suited to raising a child with the kind of discipline often required in today’s world. Charity begins at home. How many parents correct their children with corporal discipline nowadays?Your child throws a stone at a classmate in prenursery and gives them a cut on their forehead, and you scream bloody murder when they get suspended etc from school, saying ‘they are children’!! What happened to teaching a child the way they should go, so that when they grow older they don’t depart from it? My mother whopped me well and proper when I was younger (try being the headstrong daughter of a public-school discipline mistress! I was well acquainted with electric cables and branches from guava trees, springy buggers) and I think I turned out pretty great! Forget corporal punishment – if a parent cannot pay enough attention to their sole child or brood of three, how do you expect a teacher supervising a class of 20 (or in the case of my country, anywhere between 40-100) to catch and report signs of such anti-social behavior early enough to stop it manifesting?

I think it is not enough to punish a physically abusive child, especially if this child has already displayed signs of anti-social behavior eg getting into fights, cruelty to animals, etc. The problem needs to be addressed from the root, which is the home they grew up in. Parents also need to be held accountable for the actions of their (especially minor) children. I wish people had only those children they had the time to train, and didn’t just pop them out so they could have a mini-me, or fulfill scripture and populate the earth, or whatever other silly reasons people give for having children.

What do you think? Who’s to blame for the rise in physical violence between children and how can it be stopped?

May the soul of the murdered teenager, Chu Brian Ebelson, rest in peace.

Advertisements

The day I looked death in the eye.

Standard

The T-shirt I was wearing that night.

“I can’t die like this. My mum will be heartbroken, and my house is a mess, and my T-shirt is really sweaty. Oh God Oh God Oh God, I can’t die like this.”

Doesn’t make sense huh? Well, it’s hard to think straight when you are gripping the blade of a knife whose handle is held by a lunatic, and he’s trying to bury it in your body. I’m surprised I even managed to think about anything.

It was a regular Friday night. As I took a little walk from the gym, I thought about my plans for the weekend. I was down to my last 10 000 FCFA, but I wanted to be broke with style – a bottle of white wine, some roasted fish, and movies. I needed to call my mother. I had to find time to pick up my shoes from the cobbler and my skirts from the tailor. I could sleep at 1 am because I only had to be at work at 11 am. Normal random thoughts for a Friday night. I remember that I didn’t flag the taxi, I looked up and there were 3 taxis lined up, so I took the first one in the line. It was 9pm, a busy street – my mind was filled with how many calories I intended to consume and if I could power-walk them off on Saturday – I barely noticed the guy sitting in the back seat.

“Think, think, THINK”. I can’t keep this up much longer. Have you ever been opportuned to look into your body? See your blood in free-flow, come up close and personal with the muscle and sinew and gory bits which are hidden by this most resilient of organs, the skin? It’s an unforgettable experience. And one I wasn’t prepared for.

I remember crying, screaming for help, begging them to take what they wanted, and let me go. I mean, people get mugged everyday, right? So why was my own different? Why wasn’t he looking through my bag? Why hadn’t he seized my phone? Why did he seem excited at the sight of my blood, spattered over the dashboard, leaking down my arm, staining my T-shirt, and whose smell filled the car? WHY WON’T HE STOP STABBING ME?

“I need to get out of here. I’ve got two minutes max, before we hit open highway, where I won’t be able to get help. I need to jump. Don’t think about it. Jump. JUMP! Oh, don’t forget your phone and your bag. That Blackberry cost good money. Erock will be so upset if you lost it.” For the first time in my life, I didn’t second-guess myself. No thinking ‘what if i hit my head/break my spine/get run over by the back tires? etc etc’.

It’s been 2 weeks 2 days since I looked death in the eye, and refused to sit still and let it consume me. I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of visits, phone calls and text/facebook/chat messages, emails etc from people who are concerned about my wellbeing, and others who, I suspect, just wanted to be in the know of the juicy details.

When I think about what happened that night, about the men who woke up that morning, sharpened a dagger, rewired their car, and went a-searching for someone to kill; about the car whose headlights I saw reflecting in the rearview mirror, whose driver had to have seen me struggling, heard me screaming for help, but who carefully overtook us and sped away; the guy who drove past me standing along the highway, bleeding and cut up; the taxi driver who stopped on a lonely highway and took me to hospital; my dear ‘grande soeur’ who waited in the hospital outside Emergency for 2 hours while the doctor put over 25 stitches in my body; it amazes me how different people are. How the actions of one person can be a source of so much pain for others. How intertwined our lives are, such that each action we take has untold repercussions and effects on those around us.

As I prepare to go back to work tomorrow after 2 weeks lying in bed, nursing numerous physical and mental wounds, I realise that this has been a blessing in disguise. I’ve gotten a second chance to make it right, to live my life like my Father in Heaven wants me to and make it count for something, to redefine myself, and reevaluate my worth. And even while it might take some time to stop shaking when I think of the events of that night, I’m confident I can do it. After all, I’ve been told that I’m brave, I’m courageous, and I’m too stubborn to even die.

Plus, I wanna go to England in the summer. Can’t travel if I’m afraid of my own shadow now, can I?