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Does giving your money to charity automatically make you a charitable person?

Gabriella Aka

I recently had a conversation with someone whom I respect very much. We were discussing the current immigration status in America. They were interested in my perspective as an immigrant.

Before I proceed, I would just like to say this, in case anyone was wondering; I am a legal resident in the USA.

While we were talking, they said; “I’m a very compassionate person. I’m always volunteering for one thing or another, and I give my money to different charities all the time, but I think that immigration in this country has…”.

The above quote got me thinking about what it means to be charitable. (Haha, I know you thought this post was going to be about my thoughts on immigration. Nope!)

What does it mean to give, to truly give?

We all know that giving to charity is a staple of good humanitarian behavior. It is important as a society, not to forget those who do not have the same privileges that we enjoy and sometimes take for granted. It goes without saying, that helping those in need of the basic necessities of life, is the fundamental responsibility of every human being. Christians know that Jesus preached love for neighbor as self, and it is said even said in Mathew chapter 25 verse 40; “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” I’m sure every religion preaches goodwill toward others in one way or another.

So, does giving money to charity automatically qualify you as charitable?

Why do I ask? Most people are proud to say that they give to charity and and help “the poor” in one way or the other. While I’m not adverse to this, I do however, feel that it shouldn’t be a standard by which we measure our “goodness”.

Many people who can afford to give to charities or volunteer their time at homeless shelters during the holiday season, tend to use their charitable acts as a validation of their character. For example, an executive at a large company gives thousands of dollars to a charity and then the world gets to clap for them for being generous.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with getting some praise for a good deed.

However, to me true givers are those who don’t think it necessary to point out the fact that they give to charity. They are those who don’t have enough for themselves but are willing to share the little they do have with someone who has nothing.

If you need to tell me that you give to charity in order to establish yourself as a compassionate person, I just think it takes away from the genuinity of your generosity.

P.S. This is my personal opinion. What do you think? leave your thoughts in the comments section.

 

The Impractical Spending Of The Wealthy

By Gabriella Aka
Fri April 21, 2017

Does it make sense to think that just because one has more money than they need, it’s okay to spend it excessively?

What do I mean? Well, I’ve been thinking about wealth. I don’t mean the kind that money cannot buy i.e. happiness, peace of mind, etc. I’m talking about the kind of wealth that we all dream of having; $$$$$$$$.

I was thinking about what I would do if I came into a lot of wealth. Would I buy the most expensive car and then buy six more? Would I build a huge mansion that even my entire family couldn’t fully occupy? Would I over flow my closet with shoes, clothes, jewelry and accessories that I couldn’t wear in a whole year with three outfit changes a day? What would I do if i suddenly could afford anything in the world.

This got me analyzing the typical rich person’s spending habits. They probably own a mansion with five, six, or more rooms than they cannot fill, own a fleet of luxurious cars and a closet full of clothes that they wear once or never wear at all, and probably splurge on the most luxury vacation destinations with only VIP service. I watched “Million Dollar Rooms”, and I never really understood the guy who put real diamonds in his shower head, or the guy who had his door knobs made out of gold, or even the people who collect cars and pinball machines.

While this is all great, I couldn’t help but think how impractical it is. Why does one person need six cars? I mean I get having two or three (for backup). But six, seven, eight? Why? Why does your house need to be so big that one could get lost trying to find their way to the other end? Why do you have more clothes and shoes than you can reasonably wear? In the TV show “Schitt’s Creek”, Eugene Levy and his son star – among others, as a wealthy family who are forced to live in a “crappy” city they bought as a joke. How does it make any sense to purchase a whole city just because you can?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against splurging on the finer things in life, if you can afford to. If it’s yours, then you deserve to buy seven cars and an island if you feel like it.

I just think it is impractical. If you have a big family who occupy the many rooms in your resort type home, then by all means build as many as you need. What I don’t understand is spending on the excess.

At the risk of sounding cliché, I will say this; I am a believer in the concept that world has so much to offer. If I had lots of money, of course I would buy a few extra clothes, get a nice comfortable house that fits me and my family, and make sure that those close to me are comfortable. I just would not buy seven cars and build six mansions, or buy a city as a joke.

I would help improve humanity the best way I can; schools in my home country, food banks/shelter for the needy, charity programs that uplift people, adopting a young person who needs someone to help them achieve their potential, the possibilities are endless.

I would chase the adventures the world has to offer. I would travel to every continent (every country if possible), take loads of photos, write stories, learn other cultures, have life fulfilling experiences and live life in a way that brings me the wealth that matters; happiness, peace of mind, love, etc.

Most importantly, I would always remember that wealth will fade away because after all, it is vanity.

Disclaimer; the views in this article are solely those of the author and are not intended to reflect badly on anyone who might identify with topic.

 

 

To Non-Africans; Response to coverboy James Charles’ Twitter ignorance

Dear non-African people guilty of this,

Why is it that when you visit a country in Europe, Asia or the Americas, you’re usually specific about where you go, yet when you travel to somewhere in the CONTINENT of Africa – which by the way has 54 countries, you refer to it as if it’s one country?

If you had an amazing experience at Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, went on a Kenyan safari, or hiked Table Mountain in South Africa, PLEASE do NOT say “I had a blast in Africa”. It’s a small minded thing to say. You wouldn’t say “I had fun at La Tomatina festival in Europe”.

Educate yourselves freinds. I’d say grab a map but Google already did that for ya.

To my non-African friends who know better, teach your friends, share your knowledge.

While I’m on the subject of the CONTINENT of Africa, let me say this; not all children are starving. We don’t all live in huts. Yes, Africans have skyscrapers, electricity and running water. No, we don’t live in trees either. It’s not all muddy/dirty/ridden-with-disease or underdeveloped.

You want to know what Africa is like? Do PROPER research.

Sincerely,
A pissed off African

In Tough Moments, Remember…

Dear Future Husband, This letter is not for all the good times we’ll have (an endless life of beauty, bliss and love unending is quite guaranteed in Jesus.) This letter is for the times when …

Source: In Tough Moments, Remember…

My Broken Motherland (Cameroon)

I’m Cameroonian. I say that with the deepest pride, and yet these days it seems my patriotism is fleeting. Why, you ask?

As of this morning (Nov. 21 2016), there are serious protests happening in the North-Western part of the country. Bamenda is the largest hub of English Cameroon, the birthplace of the only opposition party – Social Democratic Front (SDF), that has come slightly close to making any kind of political statement. You would think their popularity with the English masses would impart some change or at least enable their grievances to be acknowledged by the ruling government. However, the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM) has made sure that by any  means possible – including but not limited to bribing officials, they silence the people.

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Protester stands in a coffin symbolic of his preparedness to die for the cause. Photo credit; Tapang  Ivo.

Today, the people are tired of being silenced! They are tired of being marginalized, being led by officials who sell their positions for money and leave their constituents in poverty, unemployment and economic instability. Today, the people are in the streets with coffins, ready to die in protest against a government that has ignored the over three point two million English-speaking Cameroonians for far too long. Cameroon Concord journalist; Tapang Ivo interviewed a protester who said; “We are ready for death. The solution to end these more than 50 years of marginalization is inclusive dialogue and nothing else”.

This has been a longtime coming. For many years, English-speaking Cameroonians have been denied jobs solely on the basis of being anglophones. Many positions of leadership are reserved for the francophone indgens. Anglophone cities are at the bottom of the priority list when it comes to socio-economic development. Corruption plagues the country. According to Africa Ranking, Cameroon is the 18th most corrupt country in Africa, with a Corruption Perceptions Index score of 27, calculated by Transparency International.

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Flag of the Federal Republic of Southern Cameroons

The Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC) was formed in protest of this unfair treatment, and is seeking independence from the French part. Reporting for Vice, Oscar Rickett says he met a citizen living in exile in London because of his affiliations with the SCNC. His wife was raped and killed, and on several occasions, he spent weeks at a time in jail, before successfully fleeing to London on asylum.

It all started with the French and British colonial rule. French Cameroon gained independence in 1960 and in 1961, Britain was ready to leave West Africa too. Northern British territory chose to join Nigeria, and the small portion of today’s Southern Cameroon- for a varied number of reasons, joined French Cameroon. Their condition was that they would operate as an autonomy under the French government. That did not last because Ahmadou Ahidjo (the nation’s first President) made sure to flush out this autonomy in an effort to “unite” the country. In light of recent events, notice the irony?

President Paul Biya took office in 1982 following what many believe was a guerrilla-fueled coup d’etat that fooled late President Ahmadou Ahidjo out of the Unity Palace (Cameroon’s presidential residence) and into exile. For a few years after he assumed power, it is safe to say that the development that had come with the British and French rule, and partially maintained by Ahidjo, dwindled over the years.

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Derailed train in Central Cameroon, Oct. 2016. Photo credit; Mahamat Mazou Aboubakar/Reuters

1982 was 10 years before I was born. We’re in 2016 and Biya is still President at 83 years of age. Many of the roads constructed back then are the same ones used today, with little to – in some cases, no renovations. Just last month (Oct. 2016), a bridge collapsed on the main highway connecting the Capital city; Yaounde to the economic capital; Douala. This incident forced many to board the only existing rail transport system in the area. As a result, a train that could carry a maximum of 600 people had 13 hundred people in it and subsequently derailed, killing 70 and injuring hundreds more.

Youth unemployment rates reported by the National Institute of Statistics are soaring at 36.5 percent. According to the CIA World Factbook, 48 percent of the population was living in poverty as of 2014. With increased national unrest resulting from Boko Haram incidents, civil conflict between French and English Cameroons, and dropping GDP as reported by the World Bank, it wouldn’t be unfathomable if the poverty margin has increased.

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Mount Cameroon

What makes this even sadder is that the country has so much potential. It’s not for no reason that we were dubbed “Africa in miniature.” We have Sahara desert lands in the north, a coast line in the south, naturally formed plateaus, a tropical rain forest that is habitat to some impressive wildlife, a really high (the highest in west Africa) active volcanic mountain, natural oil and gas, timbre, rubber plantations, and so much more. This should attract tourists and investors from all over the world, and it does, somewhat. But to what extent do we even really benefit from it?

Our government officials (a good majority) do not serve the people, they serve their own political and financial interests. Thus, the country – for many years, has and is still suffering from this bad governance.

Will the protests help solve some of the problems that this country faces? Some doubt it will. Many are uncertain whether the change they so desperately need is even possible. Most youth who graduate university are living on the hope that someday they can emigrate to America or Europe or anywhere that isn’t Cameroon, so that they can have a chance at a better future.

To be continued…

Life Cycle of Rightoeusness

I’m sure you’re like me and you have those moments when you’re absolutely convinced that you can be the best version of yourself and achieve whatever seemingly impossible feat you dream about. That you can be righteous – to the fullest, and be the beacon of light that shines through in moments of severe temptation. That your Holy Spirit never diminishes. That all who see you see grace and strength beyond measure. It’s almost like the holy ghost surrounds you in an unmistakable halo that transcends any possibility for unrighteousness.

Yet, you sometimes consciously choose vice over virtue like you’re just tired of not living in the world, even just for a moment. Sometimes it’s just easier to lie your way out of a problem, or decide it’s okay to succumb to his or her touch just this one time. Christians would understand what I mean. I’m talking about those times when your desires trick you into thinking, no, BELIEVING that you need to just be human and save your arse any way you can, forgetting what consequences wait ahead.

When you’ve consciously fallen to your vices, the guilt seeps in almost immediately, a smirk on her face because she knew all along that you’d falter. And now you wish you’d listened to that nagging voice in your head that kept telling you to think of this particular moment of regret. So you whine and pine because that’s all you can do. You question why God lets you fall so far down, or why His Spirit and Grace leave you ever so often.

And after you’ve beaten yourself up and wallowed in the deepest pit of self pity, you start to make peace with your past and hope for stronger morality. You hope that next time you’ll actually adhere to the warnings of that oh-so-righteous conscience, and skip this cycle of self degrading hatred. You tell yourself God loves you anyway, and you work at climbing out of your self-dug pit.

But then your humanity gets in the way and suddenly you’re taunted with every possible possibility to fall in to your vices again. So you fervently pray every waking moment, for the strength it takes to overcome.

I’ll leave the end to you, because whether or not you overcome is up to you. Will you fall again, or will you triumph over the things that are not of God?

You and I, We Have What It Takes.

righteousness

Spiritual Breakthrough

Breakthrough

Last week I decided to finally do something I’ve pondered and mulled over for at least half a dozen years, but never mustered courage to go through with it. I decided to fast and pray.

fastingI’ve coasted through most of my teenage and young adult life, not really knowing God. Don’t get the wrong idea; I have been a christian, but only in title and rarely in practice. I never really sought to deepen my relationship with God or even try harder than pray a couple of times a month and go to church once in a year or two. In other words, God just wasn’t a priority in my life, except when I needed something from him.

Isn’t it amazing that despite our human nature to seek God only for favours, he still helps us and loves us unconditionally? That in itself is our small miracle each and every day, but I digress.

Like I was saying, I decided to fast and pray 12 hours a day, for a week. Why? Well, true to nature, I needed something from the man upstairs. I needed him to bless me with a few things I’d rather not name in this blog.

I couldn’t eat or drink anything from six a.m, to six p.m. everyday. While those were some of the most excruciating hours of my life, I felt the closest I’ve been to God in a long time.

Many times I found myself fantasizing about a mouth-watering steak dinner, feeling hungrier by the minute. I would imagine how much face stuffing awaited me, how my stomach would magically surpass its natural elasticity to accommodate enough food to last for the entire next day. Yet the clock literally crawled through every second. Everyone at work seemed to think that was the best time to ask me if I wanted anything to eat from the store. My stomach made growling sounds loud enough that I’m sure our Canadian counterparts across the border heard. I never thought that week would end.

In those moments, I reminded myself of why I was giving up my comfort and what I stood 27232772717193915_uszqkn87_fto gain. I said several payers for grace and strength, peace, love, family, and so much more. I read scripture after scripture on morality and living in Christ. I started to look beyond myself and to see God in others. I found myself making efforts to be slow to anger and rich in mercy, to love and live the golden rule the best way I can. P.S. It’s not quite an easy thing to do, I’m learning that now. But faith the size of a mustard seed, Jesus says, can move a mountain (Matthew Chapter 17, Verse 20). I believe.

That was my breakthrough, my miracle.

And now that I’ve felt the Spirit work in me and the hand of God touch me, I want more.