It takes a village to raise a child

I was raised in Yaoundé in Cameroon, between town, Mbalmayo Mvog Mbi and the village in Mvog Amug. My big family and I were living all together. Each family had its own house, but we all lived in the same settlement. My grandfather was a polygamist. I did not have the chance to meet him. All I know is that he was a doctor, had 6 wives and the triple number of children, that he really took good care of!  A real village – I told you.

I spent my days playing with my many cousins. We had the chance to possess fields, where my ancestors planted all kind of exotic fruits, that grow in Africa: Mangos, Pineapples, Avocados, Papaya, Sugar Cane, Ambarella fruits (with a Pineapple-Mango flavor, so delicious!!). Everything was accessible for our little hands to fill up our little stomachs. I had an amaznig childhood.

We also had a little Ape…. I took most of the time care of . The life in the village was different from the one in town, because we were there for the harvest. We often went there during the school holydays. In town it was about going to school and to work in the offices (for my uncles). This was less funny for me.

Me the little Marie at the age of 2 or 3, I was gone from the morning till the evening, to play and visit my many Aunties and Grandmothers. Every day I ate at someone else’s place, the doors were always open, and we had the chance to experience the personality of each family member. If one Aunty knew how to cook the best, the other one was best at telling stories. Another one at playing games. This is how we, all the children of the family, could choose where we wanted to go. That was awesome!

My mother’s three younger brothers was in charge to bring my older sister and I to school and help us with our homeworks.
I remember going to the cinema and to have watched my first Bollywood film with my Uncle Miyanga. I was 2 years old, he was 19 years old. He kind of smuggled me in the cinema and fed me with yoghurt. Together with some of his friends we often went to the cinema to only watch Bollywood movies. That was our thing. I was an official member of the crew.We spent hours and hours inside. Imagine, the heat, the crowd, the loud music and the little Marie mesmerized by the dance and the colourful clothes of the actors. I was amazed! My mother not that much…
This I believe led me to love the entertainment world, dance and fashion. By sharing this experience with me, my uncle planted a seed in my soul. I would tell him how grateful I am to him for to have shared these extraordinary moments with me.
Indian movies ,the energy of this Culture, the colors of the outfits, the dances and beautiful songs mesmerized me.

I was mostly raised by my grandmother. She was a seamstress and I remember spending some afternoons gathering the fabrics leftovers on the ground of her atelier. I was kind of born there. This is how I developed the love for fabrics and sewing. My grandmother was not available all the time. She was busy working in her atelier sewing made to measure clothes for her clients. You could find her as well at church, doing her duties towards the church. Preparing and cleaning the rooms, selecting the gospel songs…Now you know who guided me to christianity. Every sunday we attended the Service. She was very involved in our presbyterian Church Marie Gocker in Yaoundé. I am very proud to have learned the christian philosophy of life.

My other Childhood Mother was my Grand Uncle. He was the boyfriend of my Grandmother’s brother. When this one passed away, my Grand Uncle Owono did not want to leave the family of his beloved lover. This man was just amazing! He could do everything better than women (laughing). He took most of the time great care of us. When he passed away I a was in France. It was a hard time for me. Especially because I did not have the chance to say goodbye to him.

Writing about my story makes me understand the chance I had to have seen so many possibilities. And each of my family member had something particular to share and teach me. Each of them did build the person I became.I kind of chose what I liked the most in each of them. And time made me become that person.

Now I measure the chance I had to have grown up in such an open-minded family. To revive all those memories make me so emotinal. I will talk about my great-uncle Owono and what he passed on to me on the next “Marie’s Notes” post.

Do you remember your childhood stories?
This is our plateform.
Your story matters, Marie.

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