My Mission In Africa To Rescue Street Children

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The project coordinator and founder of KOINONIA STREET CHILDREN REHABILITATION, Eugenia Daskalopoulou-Tarlizou behind the plan of a school project ready to be built in Africa

Many ask why Africa has a vast amount of natural resources, including gold, bauxite, diamonds, oil,iron ore etc, yet many children live on the streets?

Poverty, lack of education and broken homes, are some of the causes which have led to street child explosion in Africa.

In a continent paralyzed by corruption, many are unemployed and those working are poorly paid. They can’t take care of themselves let alone their children. Children who are lucky to escape hard street life end up as child labourers abused by adults.

In such unfriendly atmosphere, facing hunger and violence, many of these children turn to drugs addicts, glue sniffers and indulge in juvenile crimes.

Solving The Plight Of Street Children In Africa

Even though many are not interested in issues pertaining Africa, there are others too that have taken the hardest challenges to cater for the welfare of street children. One of such organisations working directly with street children in Africa, creating a friendly environment and providing educating for them is ‘Koinonia.’

The Koinonia Street Children Rehabilitation Project is an organisation based in Belgium. The project initially took off  in Uganda in 2000 and has grown to 4 different projects in the country.

On Monday, July 11, 2016, I called at the offices of ‘Koinonia’ in Antwerp, to meet the founder of the project, Madam Eugenia Daskalopoulou-Tarlizou, to find out why she has taken the challenges of providing educational facilities to poor street children, while many aren’t interested in such non-profit projects?

Below are the excerpts of the interview

Joel: Why did you decide to take the welfare of street children in Africa into consideration?

Eugenia: Firstly, Africa is a continent with a sad history. It’s very hard and emotional to watch  documentary films on what many children go through daily without education, food, and shelter and secondly, my close relation with God also inspired me to begin the project to assist street children.

 Joel: How challenging it was to begin that project?

Eugenia: I knew how tough it would be to assist children in that situation because  many are orphans and psychologically abused, but when you are determined to do something you must be prepared as well to overcome those impediments along the line. You need to leave your home, leaving your children behind, that’s very hard to take sometimes.

Joel: ‘Koinonia,’ is the organisation’s name, is it affiliated with any Belgium organization?

Eugenia: No, it is not affiliated with any Belgium organisation but three years ago, we submitted an application requesting for development subsidy. The outcome is positive just this month.

Joel: Koinonia, is a non-profit organisation running since the year 2000, how do you provide education to those desperate children?

Eugenia: The question is just as tough as the challenges we meet mobilizing people and raising funds. “The harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few.” We run church service and through individuals willing to donate something but always the funds aren’t sufficient to handle the problems in the badly affected communities. Will you quit what you love to do because of lack of money? Not at all, the heart of God always seeks for the needy.

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Eugenia Daskalopoulou-Tarlizou, the founder of Koinonia Street Children Project In Uganda

Joel: How do wish to see ‘The Koinonia Street Children Rehabilitation Project’ in the next five or ten years?

Eugenia: The project initially took off  in Uganda in 2000 and has grown to 4 different projects in the country. We want to give access to education to children in the poorest rural locations in Uganda too. There is already laid plan to build a large school and what we intend to build is what you saw minutes ago. The project is in its initial stages but we need people’s support to execute it, so we invite everyone interested.

Joel: “Every child that is born into this world should be brought up with love and be educated to become a decent adult,” that’s one of your priorities, how is the  life of orphans and street children giving them the opportunity to educational facilities?

Eugenia: It’s like giving them a second life when suddenly finding themselves in the classrooms. One needs courage, Christ’s motivation and the love of God to carry on because it’s a tough job to take care of street children.

Joel: Thank you for your time, Eugenia.

Eugenia: You’re welcome.

The official website of Koinonia Street Children Project: http://www.koinoniakids.org/

How Jimmy Cliff’s Vietnam Song Inspired Paul Simon To Record Mother And Child Reunion

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Inspired by Jimmy Cliff’s ‘Vietnam,’ Paul Simon recorded ‘Mother and Child Reunion’ with Cliff’s musicians in Jamaica.

The Vietnam War began in 1954. It was one of the longest, bloodiest and saddest wars in conflict history, between the communist regime of North Vietnam and its southern allies, known as the Viet Cong, against South Vietnam and its principal ally, the United States. 

The war became an issue of concern to Americans and world leaders than any matter at that period because of those that lost their loved ones. Many American soldiers died. Not only world leaders were against the war but also some musicians.

Jimmy Cliff wrote and sang anti-war song called Vietnam. In the song Jimmy Cliff said “Yesterday, I got a letter from my friend fighting in Vietnam, And this is what he had to say “Tell all my friends that I’ll be coming home soon, My time’ll be up some time in June, Don’t forget”, he said, “To tell my sweet Mary, Her golden lips are sweet as cherry” And it came from Vietnam, Vietnam.”

“Vietnam, Vietnam, Vietnam, Vietnam, Vietnam, It was just the next day, his mother got a telegram, It was addressed from Vietnam, Now mistress Brown, she lives in the USA, And this is what she wrote and said “Don’t be alarmed”, she told me the telegram said
“But mistress Brown your son is dead” And it came from Vietnam, Vietnam, Vietnam, Vietnam, Vietnam, Vietnam, hey, Vietnam,Somebody please stop that war now.”

Inspired by Jimmy Cliff’s Vietnam song Paul Simon went to Jamaica and used Jimmy Cliff musicians to record ‘Mother and Child Reunion,’ and the cleverly-written song instantly became a hit expanding the fame of both Paul Simon and Jimmy Cliff.

A good music is not only entertaining, heartfelt and thrilling but the great stories behind them are sometimes exceptional and educative.

Surprising Invincible Enemies On Social Media

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The internet or the social media is the right place as a groundbreaking interactive marketplace and also an essential tool for people to access information and services right?

By the influence of the social media, we can now see the world through our windows, and enjoy effective and quick communication if the one lives thousands of kilometers away, but alongside its many valuable resources, the social media is occupied by invincible brood of vipers, whose aim to make sure that you never reach the top, hateful contents, offensive materials, black heart and treacherous people known as social media friends.

Frankly speaking, I wasn’t aware that the social media has its dark sides until I started writing. In a society whereby, ‘birds of the same feathers flock together’ you are not accepted if you look different. If that group is saying that ‘blue’ colour is ‘black,’ you need to agree with them to stay in the group.

Jesus said, “the truth shall set you free,” but in this present generation, the truth will give you many worries, discomfort and create a lot of enemies for you. I have said over and over that I may live in Europe for many years, but holding European passport doesn’t change my way of thinking, culture and identity. I am hundred percent true born African and proud to be an African.

Since I’m an African, my writings will reflect on my culture and issues affecting the African continent, which many European and American journalists will not do. This what many have failed to realize. Thus, writing the truth about Aids and Ebola shouldn’t generate hatred, because I’m an African, not European or American.

There are hundreds of scientists in this world, who are aware that the viruses of Aids and Ebola were biologically prepared as bio-weapons and tested on Africans by the Americans, yet only one scientist, the Dutch Johan Van Dongen revealed the truth and it costs him dearly. After losing his job as lecturer in the university of Maastricht, he became an enemy and his profile was deleted for the social media ‘LinkedIn.’

European and American journalists write distasteful and degrading articles about Africa, yet when an African writer reveals their weaknesses, corruption, inefficiency, racism, hypocrisy and their devilish plans against Africa, then everyone becomes angry. Thousands of Europeans and American commit suicide daily, if an African writer suggests, Europeans and Americans should learn from Africa how they have survived persecutions, diseases long before the white man’s medicine were discovered, then everyone is angry.

Recently, in United Voice News Magazine, a journalist wrote ‘9 Out Of 10 Americans Would Perish Without Power For Over A Year If The Isis strikes.’ I pointed out that this is a total disgrace to Americans if they will depend on electricity current to survive, knowing that there are thousands of villagers in Africa, who have never enjoyed light before since they were born, yet they are the healthiest and happiest people on earth. From school, they learn, read and write with the help of only kerosene lanterns. The link: https://goo.gl/5pAAFF

Empower Playgrounds Ghana

Rural African students study with the help of a kerosene lantern and some become doctors and engineers

This article sparked another controversy and generated hatred towards me. So now every truth generates hatred because the truth hurts? If Europe  and America called themselves ‘Super-powers’ that doesn’t mean that no African journalist or writer shouldn’t expose or write against the destruction and pain they have inflicted on innocent people in Africa?

In fact, the mainstream media in Europe and America have contributed to the endless problems including terrorism and the threat of terrorism Europeans and Americans are experiencing today, because they hate to write the truth, above all they support crime.

There will be a time Europe and America will sit and say “Had we know,” but that will be too late because the weight of the destruction of the two continents will be too severe to handle.

The Mystery Of Creation And Death

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The Skull, the end after-life. Photo credit: Working Title/Artist: Still Life with a Skull and a Writing Quill Department.

Who are we and where did we come from? With different kinds of people, languages, customs, cultures etc, many questions about creation remain unanswered.

What about death? That is more complicated than creation because many have different theories and opinions about death. Some say that the soul goes back to God after death while others believe in reincarnation, that is the soul, upon the death of the body, comes back to earth in another body or form.

However, the Bible says:  “For the living know they will die but the dead do not know anything nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten.  Indeed, their love, their hate, and their zeal have already perished, and they will no longer have a share in all that is done under the sun…”

The book of Genesis says: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Initially, that was what we were thought of at school. Years after this Biblical account, the man now faces the most difficult challenge in believing this Biblical account about creation.

Worldwide, hundreds of people, including so-called creationists, anti-Christ forces, and fundamentalists, continue to change the Bible’s account of creation into numerous tales that deviate from what the Bible really says.

The belief that there is no God and Darwin’s theory which rejects the account of creation in Genesis, has caused many people to dismiss the Bible account as mythical allegory. It’s not surprising to see big churches throughout Europe virtually empty on Sundays, reserved only for the dead to receive his or her last respect before burial.

It’s clear that a number of people have accepted Darwin’s theory that the Biblical account as many churches are being converted to drinking pubs, restaurants, and library.  Even though many still are confused over where man originally came from, some continue to play God by taking someone’s life by euthanasia, when he can’t bring the dead back to life.

Since God has given the man the opportunity to choose, thus; let those that lean on Darwin’s theory continue to do so and others that believe in the Genesis creation account also continue supporting the Scriptures. But one question which many find it hard to answer is: Where do we go after death?

Different religions have different opinions about death, yet another part of the Bible reveals: “For whoever is joined with all the living, there is hope; surely a live dog is better than a dead lion.”

Both creations of the human being and death will always remain a mystery because it’s something that takes us by surprise. One may cheat death, yet death is inevitable. When it strikes, like the fall of both fresh and dry leaves, it takes away the young and the old.

Doctors struggle to save lives and incubators save babies, but why no one has brought a dead man back to life? Is it true that there is life after death? Where does the soul go after death? Is there reincarnation after death? Are we going to see our loved ones already dead when we also die?

Even though I have no answers to those questions, I can’t depend on Darwin’s theory, because it has no roots. Since the Scripture says: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” I will depend on and believe in the account of creation in the book of Genesis.

#POEMS: OUT OF THE SILENT BREATH

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Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha’s poems portray images that stare us right in the face. Images of love, joy, death, pain, challenges, violation, and freedom. She writes in a language that’s rich in imagery, earthy, honest, vulnerable, yet full of the promise of hope, of loving and of Grace. A collection of light and dark soulful prose. 

Somewhere, sometimes, life takes us through difficult, unexpected pathways that bring us to the edge of a precipice. These life-lessons that knock us down to our knees also become turning and redeeming points in our lives. They open our eyes to the important things and make us to question or find our purpose.

They drive us to wake up, to make the conscious choice to rise and step out and to live fully in the present moments that life brings us. It is the things that we deeply love that saves our sanity in these moments and gives us reason to hope, to open the doors and to fly.

Out of the silent breath is a vivid compilation of joyful, melancholic and hopeful prose through different walks of life.

The Author

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Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha is a fellow blogger who is originally from Nigeria.  Her blog is A Cooking Pot and Twisted Tales.  She uses this platform to support fellow bloggers and to raise awareness of the many  ongoing cultural inequalities and problems in the world.  Here is Jacqueline’s story in her own words:

I like to describe myself as a Jacqueline of all trade and a mistress of nothing. Everything is work-in-progress in my life, including me. Nothing is finished for, there’s always room for more improvement.

If all is finished, then that means that I am done on this side of the great divide. I believe that I still have a pretty long way to go with hammering myself into a worthy state before toddling off to sing angelic lullabies.

I was born in Nigeria in the mid 70’s, to a family with one of the best parents that I could have ever asked for.

My growing up years was in University of Nigeria, Nsukka campus. A close-knit community where everyone knew what you had for breakfast, lunch and dinner and pretty much any shenanigans that you got up to. Back then, an honorary auntie could feel enough righteous indignation and would help to straighten you out before sending you home to your parents who will cement the straightening with their own dose of reprimanding.

As a young lady in High school, I was involved in a number of social and community activities. From Church work to participating in dramas at the local theatre, speaking at regular debate contests and contribution to the young writer’s club. At the initial stage, these artistic flairs propelled my interest to further my university education in Theatre or Communication Arts, however, due to the general inclination back then, that artists in Nigeria had no bright future, I leaned towards studying law.

My education in law was closely followed by several professional courses, in Public Relations, Chartered Secretary, and Administrators, an associate degree in the French Language as well as a Diploma in Translation. French is a language that I find not only romantic, but everything just sounds decadently delicious in French even when they are shouting.

Fast forward to my career path and like I had indicated right from the onset, I have done so many things.

I started my working life at The Embassy of Tunisia in Lagos as the Personal Assistant to the Ambassador and after a brief stint in France, I returned and joined the Embassy of France also in Lagos.

My position working with the Cultural Attaché to the Embassy of France paved an opportunity to join The Delegation of the European Union in Abuja, Nigeria. It was a job that offered a lot of training and travel opportunities and during this point in time, I met my dear husband, who whisked me off to the altar after a six-month whirlwind courtship. Our union will turn 16 years in November and we are blessed with three beautiful children.

The natural process of having babies with a stillbirth and several miscarriages in-between meant juggling family life along with my career, cycling through different jobs as I sought to find that which suited my family lifestyle a lot better.

I held job positions ranging from Archivist, Executive Assistant, Personal Assistant, Public Relations Officer, Administrative Manager, Records Manager to School Registrar.

http://www.amazon.com/Out-Silent-Breath-Jacqueline-Oby-Ikocha-ebook/dp/B01EYN38ES

 

The Pride Of Our Generation As Obedient Children

Hap 3A happy Ghanaian woman and child: Art work by Peter Asare

We are in a generation of disobedient children comparing to our time. We, the people born between 1940-1970 in Ghana, are the most blessed ones. We are awesome people and our life is a living proof.

While playing and riding rented bicycle, we never bothered to wear helmets. We played Oware, Ampe,  Kwaakwaa (Hide and seek) asosor, tumatu (Ghanaian games) and skipping rope etc, without thinking about television, video or computer games.

After school (those days, we went to school two times a day) we played until dusk but never watched the world (Television) by locking up ourselves in a room. We played only with our real friends, not with http://www.com friends.

If we ever felt thirsty, we drank tap water or stream water, bottled water didn’t exist but there wasn’t any Ebola or pneumococcal meningitis  We never got ill even after sharing the same juice or sweet with four friends

We were happy after our fufu, kokonte, etsew, ampesi. (Ghanaian dishes.) There weren’t any fried rice or ‘foes chicken.’ We ate rice and chicken only on special days. (Christmas, New Year, Easter etc.) Even then , we will go anywhere with our fresh chicken legs and wings in our hands, for everyone to know that we’ve eaten rice.

Nothing happened to our feet after roaming and kicking balls made of rags bare footed. We never used any health supplements to keep ourselves healthy. We used to create our own toys. Our parents were not rich but they never chased after money.

They just searched for and gave only love.They were proud to see us around them. These days parents are chasing after money and riches that they ignore the presence of their kids. We never used to share our emotions by using emoticons, DVDs, Play Stations, X-Boxes, video games, personal computers, internet, web chatting, but we had many good friends and communication was face to face.

We used to go to our friends’ home unannounced and enjoyed food with them. We never had to call them and ask for their parents’ permission to visit their home. Loving people were near to us, so our hearts and souls were happy. Hence, we never required insurance policy or fake spiritual support.

We might have been in Black and White photos but you find colourful memories in them. The ultimate is that we are unique and the most understanding generation because we are the last generation who listened to our parents and also the first that have to listen to our children.

I am proud to belong to that noble Generation.

Why I Will Not Sell My Blog For Money

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We often hear that: The pen is mightier than the sword, truth is bitter than the bile etc. These sayings are true. I just love to write but never aware that many of my articles are like a sharp arrow piercing through the flesh of the ‘Evildoers.’

On April 16, 2016, I posted an article entitled  ‘Why I Stopped Writing For Diplomatic Aspects Newspaper.’ The article was about“Holland’s Professor Johan Van Dongen Challenging Belgium’s Scientist Guido van der Groen over the origins of Ebola, which was submitted to the editor of Diplomatic Aspects Newspaper and the article was published.

Unknowing after the publication, Belgium’s fears of reprisal and exposure of the truth over the two tied diseases, secretly contacted the editor without my knowledge to remove the article from the web. This is a significant evidence that an article can make bad people in our society uncomfortable. Yes, some articles sting more than the scorpion.

I have received many messages from Google alert, Facebook and other apps I have registered people trying to crawl or hack into my blog. Why are they making such efforts to enter my blog? Because this blog has certain  articles from the Dutch Microsurgeon and scientist Johan Van Dongen and writer Joel Savage which are making those in the corrupt health sectors and some politicians uncomfortable. Our articles are revealing too much of certain facts which supposed to be secret or confidential documents.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve changed my password, trying to secure and protect my blog against those unseen cyber thieves and rogues. Now that we know (Johan Van Dongen and Joel Savage) we shall continue to make life harder and uncomfortable for them. Even though I’ve no penny in my pocket, I will not sell my soul for money.

If you fear to die, the reason you wouldn’t like to speak against injustice, corruption, crime, including Aids and Ebola crimes, death will find you where ever you’ve hidden to take you away. Die in truth and dignity not in lies and hypocrisy. That’s our (Johan Van Dongen and Joel Savage) philosophy.