Making a difference for AFRICA

Today I would like to share my thoughts about poverty in Africa and the huge effort made by some organizations around the world or by groups of individuals (students, friends,teammates) who decided one day to give a lot of their time and sometimes part of their income to help people in Africa and particularly children.

Most people in Europe or America don't have a clear picture of what poverty means in Africa, people without a home, without clothes and without food, children without parents enrolled by force in some revolutionary army where most of them will never live over 15, countries bleeding because of civil war, ethnic division or corruption, men and women without any hope in what the future will be tomorrow because no matter how hard the United States and the European governments try to help "my continent" nothing seems to change....

No matter what time of the day you turn on BBC or CNN, read the Times in New York or London, African headlines are always the same : negative.

Last week I had a talk with one of my colleagues and was really happy to hear him talking about his six month trip next year from Egypt to South Africa by bike (with 5 friends) for a charity purpose which seeks to eradicate poverty through different programs by 2015.
The Millennium Development Goals (I highly recommend this website) works with national and local communities to transform lives on the continent by engaging Nations, Corporations and the general public in the huge effort to end extreme poverty.
The result so far : 87 villages are under their program and already benefit from a better living and a better chance to go forward to change their lives....

I said earlier that I was happy about my friend expedition, which is deeply truth. Africa is a part of me and I'm proud of it and when somebody stand up and invests part of his life to help my continent, to help my people this really touches me and it shows us that people around the world feel what I feel and push themselves really hard sometimes to find a way to make a difference.

Living in England today, makes me realize how privileged I was to be so far from the chaos of the London Times headlines, but it makes me realize too how privileged and proud I am to be from the Cradle of Humanity and hopefully the continent of tomorrow.


Turning green with ingenuity

I was quite surprise a week ago to hear that IBM is at the front of the huge challenge to have a more “Green” business and is constantly investing in reducing its own carbon footprint and that of its clients.

I don’t know what most people thing about this, but my though on that is that this is a great news, not just because I work for IBM, but because if one of the biggest company in the world can be a leader in how to support climate change and be a major player on how to protect our environment, we should feel more safe and pretty happy to see a company like that put energy efficiency and ecological responsibility before profit at any cost.

IBM commitment in reducing the greenhouse gas [GHG] (a commitment to reduce its total global GHG emissions by 7% from 2005 to 2012) is a perfect example on making the right decision at a really high level to make our world better and sending a fantastic message to all climate change organizations around the globe.

IBM also is focused on reducing the climate impact of transport, both from its employees' commuting to and from work and from the transportation of its materials and products, the company’s policy of work at home is, from my point of view, a great opportunity to give parents the privilege to spend more time with theirs children and obviously avoided a huge quantity of CO2 emissions, and when you read on their website ( that “IBM not only believes in the importance of taking proactive steps to reduce its GHG emissions, it is leading the way” you can understand this without any doubt and be proud to be associate to them by any way.

Today we all know the importance of Climate Change, from Al Gore who received the Nobel Prize for Peace on his work to protect the planet through his organization ( to the 27th session of the intergovernmental panel on climate change [IPCC] which ended last Saturday, every world leaders or CEO company are on mission to find a different way to lead and make profit, every scientists look to a different approach on how to still go forward by being more “Green”.
Just thinking about it makes you realize the huge challenge ahead of us.

Responsibility are at every level, whether acting as consumer, officials, suppliers or big corporate, we all have a responsibility to seek or provide a better understanding of the issue and interest affecting the environment and their role and its health, and IBM seem to understand these points better than a lot of company out there, which can be a relief for most of us. Be a leader in that fight since 1971 we can trust IBM on taking the right direction and making the “Green” decision which could have tomorrow an positive impact on the life of our children.

To my Friend, Marc Ona Essangui

Aujourd’hui je voudrai rendre hommage (en Français) a un de mes plus chers amis, quelqu’un que j’ai toujours regardé avec grande admiration et envi, l’un des pionniers d’Internet au Gabon (créateur du premier cybercafé a Libreville) et de la lutte contre les inégalités : MARC ONA ESSANGUI

A première vue il est difficile de croire que Marc puisse être un farouche adversaire, et pourtant il peut se vanter d’avoir été a la tête de luttes acharnées pour porter son message de Paix, Solidarité, Justice et Liberté, et d’être un remarquable diplomate jouissant d’une excellente réputation autant en Afrique centrale que dans le reste du monde.

Ses combats sont les mêmes que toutes personnes qui cherchent a améliorer leur quotidien et veulent vivre dans un environnement ou s’exprimer librement, protéger l’environnement, avoir accès a une éducation de qualité ainsi qu’a des soins de santé peu coûteux est un droit légitime.

Trop souvent le reste du monde (particulièrement les pays du G8) voit l’Afrique comme un continent a la dérive ou l’unique solution d’aide est l’envoi de fonds financiers aux gouvernements en place, mais pour ce ceux qui comme Marc vivent au quotidien les difficultés locales, il y a d’autres solutions plus positives.

Par exemple le projet Brainforest ( ) dont Marc a repris le flambeau porté très haut par le regretté Giuseppe Vassalo (mort d’un accident de voiture en Mars 2000) ou son acharnement pour une presse libre au Gabon ( et bien évidemment ses nombreux partenariat sur différents projets dont chacun d’entre eux ont un but commun : Paix, Solidarité, Justice et Liberté.

C’est un privilège d’être l’un de tes amis Marc et j’espères qu’un jour nous aurons la chance de nous retrouver et de rire du bon vieux temps….

The Warriors (NBA Team) waive Stephane Lasme

I want to take some time this morning to talk about the successful path my dear friend Stephane Lasme took from being a basket-ball star for his team in Port-Gentil (Gabon) to be waive last Monday by the Golden State warriors, one of the most surprising NBA team of last season.

For those who didn't know him, Stephane was drafted last June on the second round (No 46) by the Warriors and sign his contract 2 month ago as a NBA player (the first Gabonese player in NBA), unfortunately he did play just 4 second since the 2007/2008 season started and the Warriors decided that they needed more size inside and to clear some space under the salary cap to sign DJ Mbenga (a former Dallas Maverick) they waived Stephane.
Meanwhile the good news for him is that most NBA analyst are pretty confident that he will land with another team before the end of the year and will have another chance to show that he belong there.

Stephane and me, we use to play ball together at the University Omar Bongo in Libreville (Gabon) when I was part of another basket-ball team, Ndzimba, as a player and as an administrator of the club, I always use to tell him that with his fantastic work ethic and great character that he will one day be part of the elite of his sport, and I should say that I'm proud of him as I always was (hope you can have a look at my Blog...) and many people home look at him today as a model and tell his story all around the place on how he did it...

If you read this Stephane, I want you to know that the all crew from LBV are proud of you, Tommy, Fanga, Assoumou, Faba, Le grand Ahmed Taofiki (New York) and all the fan'club of CAPO.....

God bless you my friend....

Helping each other....

Well, I had the privilege 2 week-end ago to be invited by the Cameroon's association in Portsmouth, where people mostly from Cameroon or Central Africa spend Saturday evening together (twice a month) to talk about their life in their new country and how hard sometime it can be to settle here in England. The first thing I though was really good about that is the fact that suddenly surrender by people from the same world of your, you just feel home again and forget about winter and the cost of living here in England, the other thing is that you can share your problem with other who speak the same language as you (French or Ethnic language) and this make thing much easier to solve them sometime.... Obviously nothing is easy and as proud African as we are, we spend most of our time shouting at each other just because we disagreed on the necessity to organize a cultural event, then spend the rest of the night all together launching and drinking until the next day.

I must admit that it wasn't the first time my good friend Patrick Mouessi asked me to come around and be part of it, and I did enjoy be with them and talking about "stuff" we all have to deal with when we decided to come here....

It's always much easier in life to be part of a group of friend instead to be alone on your side. This country, England, taught us that as a foreign and specially as black or mixed person we will always have to face tough challenge everyday from looking for a skilled job to renting or buying your own house.
I believe that our biggest challenge so far is to have our kids who were born here to understand where they come from and how they should be proud of their historic and cultural heritage, and I think that this Cameroon's association is a warm and welcome idea in a so cold country...

Who is the best choice for Africa? Hillary Clinton or barak Obama...

In less than 2 month the US will start to vote to elect their next president and so far it appear that the race is more focused on the new politic sensation : Barak Obama or the old Hawk : Hillary Clinton.

My Question today is: are this two highly skilled person concern about what happen today in most African countries and the gap in term of politic and economic with the rest of the world. When I look at where my own country stand today and how nobody over there seem to be worry about the lack of everything (Health, Education level, freedom of speech, jobs, politic...) I'm quite worry myself to hear that most of the topics of the democrats debate last Saturday (in Las Vegas) were more about Irak, Iran, or Hillary Clinton herself.... It seem that for most of the American people and their politics leaders (same thing in UK) the stability of Africa as a continent and as an economic player who need help to solve many problem we all knows so well (famine, Democracy, AIDS, Education... ) is less important to them than going to war around the globe (Today in The New York Times)

Obviously they first of all try to win an election and look to have the privilege to be the next President of the United States of America which will make him or her the most powerful person on hearth... But I guess that what is important for us as African who hope that one day we would have to, the privilege to be able to live in our country in peace without the fear of politic instability is right now not the most appropriate topic to turn the caucus's polls on your favor (we should ask what John Edwards thing about that).

Anyway, my last though today on this matter is that we all should pray that the next US leader would be a democrat, George W. Bush and his republican posse did to much damage in the world in the past 7 years, and so many innocent did pay a heavy price for that.

God bless all family who lost a son, a father, a brother or a nephew in Irak and Afghanistan.
God bless all of us....

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