GREAT NEWS FROM ExSSA-MASS! CONVENTION PLANNING IN FULL SWING.
BOOK YOUR ROOMS AND HIT THE STORES.
We the Sakerettes of Massachusetts are now looking boldly to August. We are pulling all the stops to welcome you to the Bay State! After an exciting International Women’s Day campaign, we know you all can’t wait for our grand reunion. Just looking forward to meeting your dulongs, petites, classmates, besties a.k.a “inties”, and sisters is our delight. But first things first: Book your rooms now and let the mega fun begin! We cannot wait to welcome you.
Click the link or copy and paste the link into a web browser:
Your destination in the land of the mayflower is the signature Framingham Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center at the low rate of $129 a night for a luxurious two double beds or king bed room. Splurge alone or room with your inties. Our EXSSA USA website also carries the hotel reservation link. Don’t delay! We can’t wait to be your hosts!!
Taking About Boldness, we are Indeed Bold with the Colors. Check this Out!
Yes, we made a change from white bottom and went for denim blue jeans. As for orange, we wanted to capture a bit of the magic of a bright New England fall where orange stands out! But there are other reasons too! Orange stands for hope and captures that spiritual energy found in a glowing sunset. Like fire, it captures vitality and radiates that inner zest. Can’t wait to see us paint the Boston harbor in orange and denim blue. Yes, we welcome shades of orange. Want some ideas? We got you covered.
Bring your shade of orange and join the fun- each one of you like a piece of God’s magic at sunset!
You prefer a skirt? Go for it! Bring your summer accessories too!
You want More Ideas?
Yep! Grab those accessories.
It could be summer you know!
Go for cool- Any way you want.
Wondering about our colors or dress code on Friday night and Sunday morning? Registration? How Massachusetts got that funny state name? Lol. Stay tuned. We are on the roll now;
With Love Unity &Sisterhood from all of us.
EXSSA USA Sweet 16 Convention – Framingham Sheraton Hotel
August 4-6, 2017
Book your rooms now and get a surprise gift on arrival.
EXSSA USA 15th Annual Convention:
Keynote Address:Empowered to Inspire Change
Sara Bame-Kum, Esq.
Past President, EXSSA USA
Past Chapter President, ExSSA DC Metro
Development Professional, USAID
Good evening and welcome!
Like the many women seated in this hall today, I had dreams, hopes and aspirations for a future that was filled with accomplishments. My dreams as well as the dreams of several of these women were brought to fruition by several individuals who saw the value in education and understood that it wedged open the door to contributions by women in the development of communities and nations.
We enter the 21st century acknowledging the efforts of several men and women who fought, and are still fighting for gender parity in every sector, and for girls to earn an education that empowers them to inspire change in their communities and nation.This acknowledgement is the thrust for a renewed call for girl education and women empowerment.
Evidence of educated women and empowered women is all around you, they are contributing to the home, making decisions for their children, rising above incredible challenges to position themselves as voices for girls and other women. Quality education allows girls and women to walk up the starting line with an equal advantage. Education elevates, it act as a spring board for several girls in Cameroon and Africa who are living in abject poverty. And when it does, it empowers them with a voice, to tell their stories, so that any one listening will be inspired to bring change.
There’s a woman who has found the voice to tell you how an uncle raped her when she was 10 years old and wants you to understand how much it has taken her to be here today, fighting for the next girl. There’s a woman who has found a voice to describe how she struggled to hold her head high when she found out that she was pregnant at 15, and would like you to know that there are several other girlsstill subjected to the same rejection and scorn in the community.
Another woman has found the strong voice to tell the world what it meant for her to witness classmates headed to high school, while she was forced to marry the man of her parents dream so that family finances would be substituted. No other voice than that of the empowered woman here today can elevate higher the plight of a million other girls, who like her,are forced to end their education to marry early in order to substitute family finances.We need your voice!. Yes, no narrative of growing up without parents and relying on the altruism of family to complete your education is better than the voice of the woman seated next to you.Only you know the pain. Thepain in the voices of these women has triggered a typhoon of emotions that istearing throughan amalgam of women in the audience, setting off a thundering call to action. Are you listening?
The lightening crack in these voices should trigger a tsunami of change in you the healthcare provider, researcher, mother, girl, homemaker, entrepreneur, IT professional, legal professional, nutritionist, engineer, pharmacist, etc. Such that when you retreat to the safety of your own thoughts, imagesof a wife who was sexually molested years ago, young girls blowing up themselves on market streets, walking miles to school, living with no power, raising younger siblings because both parents are deceased, unable to pay hospital bills or gain access to health care, the seismic effect of your rage would be so strong that those in your path will simply run to higher grounds for solutions. No one will be left on the white beaches of idle gossip.
To find these solutions we must take off social blinders that make it easy for us to overlook a myriad of issues impacting girls and their progress. When we do, our solutions become the transformational change that flows, grows, and blows winds that enable others to rise from despair.
Change that inspires comes from the heart; it has lived the problem, knows what approach to adopt to solve the problem. And when it empowers others, it inspires them and develops a human chain of responsibility, reaping benefits that far exceed financial gain and one generation.This inspiration led Dr. Conrad Tankou who cofounded Gifted Mom, a simple-yet-incredible mobile app that sends vaccination notifications and other pregnancy-related facts to pregnant women and new mothers who have subscribed. Simple, yet effective in communities where hundreds of heavily pregnant girls and women travel miles just to get to the nearest healthcare center. It inspired aman who did not have a desk to write on when he attended primary school to inventtutu desksfor children in his village. These desks have now benefitedone million school children sub-Saharan Africa, shattering a glass ceiling for them.
You see, we do not need to look too far to shatter glass ceilings. If you understand that in 47 out of 54 African countries, girls have less than a 50 per cent chance of completing primary school, a third of marrying before the age of 18 and women make up more than 50% of Africa’s population, then you join advocates in questioning how the continent’s current economic growth and outlook will be sustained, if women’s issues is suppressed. Only then do you identify with Theresa Kachindamoto, senior chief in the Dedza District in Central Malawi, who has shattered glass ceilings for more than 850 girls by using her power to establish a law that prevents child marriages. Not only did Theresa establish this law, she enforced it with gusto.Helen Keller, a blind and deaf girl, overcame her handicaps to earn a college education, and spent her life championing for the rights of those with physical handicaps; Sandra Day O’Connor, was the first womanappointed to the position of U.S. Supreme Court justice, she carved a place for women at all levels of the legal profession. Smith was the first woman to serve in the U.S. Congress, both in the House of Representatives and Senate, she carved a place for girls in politics, and so did Hilary Clinton, when she clinched the nomination as the democratic candidate for president. Michelle Obama is the first African American First lady of the United States, whose initiative Let Girl’s Learn is transforming lives for girls all over the world. These women rose to be first amid grim statistics, and against impossible odds. In all playing fields and in the Military women are breaking long standing barriers to be first. Even with this first, the cup is still half full. Only when we fill this cup, and tackle limiting beliefs that affect self-confidence and self-worth for many women would these achievements become common place.
Have you identified glass ceilings and do you have the gusto, like many who came before you to shatter ceilings so that others can rise?
At crystal city we draw inspiration from individualslike Martin Luther King who fought so that one day a black man would occupy the white house;the valiant warriors who gave their lives protecting our Country, who now rest at the Arlington cemetery, the women who gathered in Seneca Falls,New York to fight for laws to be enacted at the capitol that would define the status of women in the United States; inspiration from Abraham Lincoln, who had the gusto to issue the Emancipation Proclamation thereby shattering a glass ceiling for many blacks to rise. When glass ceilings are shattered the sky becomes the limit.
We are all drawn to this event by a common cause-to empower girls. The common thread of goodwill stitches across each of our professional fabric to clothe girls whose fabric is yet to be sewn. As we look to history, let us all with one voice rise above the narrow confines of our individualistic concerns to broader concerns of humanity.
My mothers, fathers, brothers, sons, daughters, sisters, and Sakerettes, a girl is the transformation every nation and community needs. Let us all leave from here today acknowledging that there’s still a lot to be done to for girls. As we let our own light shine on them, weare unconsciously giving them permission to do the same. This in essence is empowerment, it is inspiration. If you care enough, you make girl power a reality, if you care enough, take action so that women and girls can live their dreams. If you care enough, simply make the world a better place for them, your daughters, and posterity.
Save the date: August 4-7 2016
Convention Destination DC 2016: Team Strass at your service
Come back and visit this page for updates
EXSSA USA Concludes 14th Annual Convention in Minnesota
From Thursday July 30th to August 3rd, the Ex Students of Saker Baptist College popularly known as Sakerettes converged at the Hilton Hotel in Minneapolis- Bloomington for their 14th annual convention. It was a convention that will go down in the annals of ExSSA USA for many competing reasons- the impeccable organization of the day to day activities, the commitment of the attendees to have fun while engaging in the business of the organization, and the peaceful transition of power to a new National Executive Council despite concerns prior to the convention.
The convention opened with a meet and greet on Thursday at the Jackson Township Hall. Over a hundred members had converged on the city of Minneapolis-Bloomington. The classes represented ranged from class of 1967 to forthcoming class of 2016. The conventioneers also included several international ExSSA members from Cameroon, Nigeria, England and South Africa prominent amongst them Honorary ExSSA USA Member, Dr. Stella Anyangwe from South Africa, ExSSA UK’s Vice President, Ms. Dialle Mofa Tarkang from England, members of class of 1968 from Cameroon, Mrs Roseline Mbong Nnoko, Mrs Marita Che Londi, Mrs. Elizabeth Tanyi Sikod and Mrs. Prudence Mbenkum Sanyi-Ngong. If the sumptuous dinner and gift bags for all registered members were an indication of things to come, the music from DJ Flex indicated that everything was done to specification. As the DJ churned out tunes from yesteryears, the ladies sang along and gyrated ushering in a contagious atmosphere of love and laughter. To top it off, for the first time in ExSSA USA’s history, the convention was being streamed live courtesy of the website committee members, Judith Foyabo, Angeline Asobo and Joyce Ashuntantang. The excitement in Jackson township hall was replicated 10 times over by Sakerettes around the globe who were receiving the convention images live.
Friday morning arrived with the official opening of the Convention moderated by Ms. Boh Fielding Geh, ExSSA USA’s Public Relations Officer. Dressed in their National “Coconut” blue uniform the ladies assembled to welcome the invited official of the day, Judge Tanya Bransford, who has served as the District Court Judge in the Hennepin County District Court since 1994. But before she gained the room , Sakerettes went into their natural state of being as they sang rousing choruses which transported the ladies into a euphoric state. The National President, Ms. Sally Bame Kum floated on the song notes as she eloquently welcomed everyone.
In her characteristic way, she led the Sakerettes to recommit by pledging to make a difference in the lives of less privileged girls in Cameroon. By the time Judge Bransford began her speech, it was clear that she had a captive audience. In a few minutes she quickly commended the ExSSA USA website which had provided her with key information on the organization. Looking into her background she saw parallels of her upbringing with the ladies in front of her. While emphasizing her modest background she was quick to point out the essential role played by education in the lives of women. She encouraged Sakerettes to continue promoting the wellbeing and education of young girls in Cameroon/Africa. She ended her talk by reading Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman”. As if it had been planned the rendition of that poem took on the African call and response pattern as the sakerettes completed the refrain each time:
I’m a woman
The Judge was a great fit thanks to Ms. Labelle Nambangi who brought her to the attention of the organization. Feeling phenomenal, Sakerettes were then dispatched into three buses for a tour of the twin-cities. Dressed in coral t-shirts, a gift from the Minnesota chapter, the ladies engaged the town through the effective services of well-chosen tour guides. Under two hours they were introduced to the history of the city and drove past monumental landmarks. Stops were made at the Guthrie Theatre, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, The City Hall, the infamous Summit Street and other tourist-worthy sites.
Back to the hotel, it was time for our traditional common meal and spiritual emphasis. After a somber moment remembering our fallen Sisters led by Mrs. Egbe Monjimbo who has kept a meticulous account of the fallen, it was time to listen to the main speaker of the night, Mrs. Clara Selaboy from Nigeria. A member of the vibrant class of 1985, she gave an energetic talk imploring all present to rethink why God has placed them at this time of their life in the most powerful nation in the world. She implored her Saker sisters to use the means at their disposal to make life better for others in their ancestral homeland, Cameroon. She decried the fact that most sisters were turning into nurses thereby depriving Cameroon of other professions that could help provide gaps in development. By the time she got down from the rostrum, the verdict was unanimous: She had touched some vital and sensitive points and a word to the wise was sufficient.
Then came the class roll call to the rhythm of celebrated Cameroon songs. As each class was called the members gyrated to the floor dancing and celebrating years of sisterhood. The highlights from this ceremony are many as each class tried to outdo the other with impressive dance moves that generated spontaneous excitement and laughter. The class of 1985 had the highest number of representatives as they celebrated their 30th anniversary after leaving Saker. They had planned a reunion to coincide with the convention and by every indication they were having a swell time. The class of 1968 led by Ms. Sara Gwangwaa Ngundam was well represented for the first time. The crowning moment of the night was the lone class representative for class of 1967, Rev. Esther Tanga Gadpaille. It was the first time she was representing her class alone having recently lost her bosom friend and fellow class mate, Mrs. Christiana Ngong Chop. But, Mrs. Ngong’s daughter, Rosemary was on hand to represent her late mother. In the absence of the pioneering class of 1966, Aunty E, as she is fondly called was the elder stateswoman in the house. However at 65 she was a glory to behold as she sprightly got on the floor proving with her stylish clothing and dance moves that age could really just be a number.
Saturday ushered in the much awaited “kitchen talks” and AGM. The Kitchen talks displayed what most know about Sakerettes. They are exceptionally intelligent, professionally savvy and piously confident women. Dr. Ayuk Ashuntantang-Arrey presented an eye opening talk on kidney disease and how to prevent/manage it. Ms. Matilda Che discussed “financial planning for our Children”, Ms. Lizzy Kombe continued her crusade against domestic violence and this time around she had two members, Mrs. Kah Kahjih Fomuso and Mrs. Lisa Sieni, who talked about sexual abuse and shared their own personal stories as victims at the tender age of 5. It was a teary moment but these ladies are not looking for pity. They are courageous survivors who have decided to step forward to share their story in order to stop this evil/crime from affecting any other child. They challenged us all to be vigilant and to speak up so no child, woman or even man should suffer in the hands of perpetrators. Mrs. Dolly Lambe concluded with encouraging members to confront the reality of aging parents by discussing a living will. In this sober mood we transitioned to the AGM.
This was an election year and our teething democracy had shown cracks that some feared may break open at this convention. In spite of this the deliberations where carried out in an atmosphere of relative calm. And so it came to pass that the meeting and elections were conducted in the most civil manner. The most anticipated result was that of the President. When it was announced that the incumbent had 81 votes and the challenger 86, there was a thoughtful silence. However what followed was pure class and grace. The outgoing president, Ms. Sally Bame Kum immediately asked her supporters, particularly members of her DC chapter to throw their weight behind the new President. The president of the DC chapter immediately committed on behalf of her chapter to do just that. The President elect, Ms. Namondo Mbiwan Ndando, also noting the close proximity in votes, succinctly echoed the same message of peace. Here with the new executive council for 2015-2017:
President: Ms. Namondo Mbiwan Ndando
Vice President: Dr. Joyce Ashuntantang
Secretary: Dr. Prudence Chia Mbu
Treasurer: Ms. Kidi Ntuba Makia
Financial Secretary: Ms. Evelyn Fuoching Fuller
Organizing Secretary: Ms. Agnes Achuo Njaba
Chief Whip: Ms. Ruth Bokwe Ayukesong
Immediate Past President: Ms. Sally Bame Kum
(The President Elect will fill all uncontested positions by appointments)
It was time to rest and prep up for the gala. By 7:30 p.m. the gates of resplendence opened! The ladies hit the red carpet “vogue magazine ready”! The outfits were gorgeous, the ladies beautiful and their guests matched them in equal proportion. The Saxophonist, The Prince, was on hand to serenade the guests. Once the ExSSA ladies belted out their College anthem, it was a signal that things were starting in earnest. There were several key moments of the night. First, a speech from the Minnesota President who presented the organization and its mission in big brush strokes. Then, the National President Ms. Sally Bame Kum brought the message of the convention theme home: “Educate a girl, Build a nation”. After presenting heart aching examples of girls from Maroua to Mamfe who are missing the chance of an education because of economic or patriarchal reasons, she implored and challenged her entranced audience to step up to raise funds to improve the life of the girl-child in Cameroon. She backed up her talk by personally pledging $500 as her contribution during the fundraising segment of the night. The keynote speaker, Ms. Melissa Nambangi on her part indicated ways in which an alumni organization like ours can work together to maximize our potential in a talk titled “”Girls to Women: The Responsibility of Sakerette Visibility”. It was like giving us a mirror to look at ourselves and the visible image was not always what we wanted to see, especially in the presence of our guests. Yet, it is an image we must confront to enhance our Sakerette brand. Another memorable moment was the recognition of the former legendary Vice Principal of Saker Baptist College, Ms. Wilmer Binder who spent 35 years at the school and has been on retirement in her native land since 2000. Ms. Binder has been attending ExSSA USA conventions faithfully and made it known that this may be her last convention, so the organization decided to give her a parting gift. It was entertaining to hear her share some of her fascinating memories from her days at Saker Baptist College including the infamous “palaver letters”. Then came the fundraiser and our guests stepped up big time to support of ExSSA USA’s mission of empowering the girl child in Saker Baptist College and beyond. In the midst of these memorable moments the DJ kept the momentum going with exciting and exhilarating rhythms seducing guests time and time again to the dance floor. The talented Mc’s Ms. Ethel Caspa, Mr. Joel Kale and Dr. Joyce Ashuntantang had the exquisite night under wraps.
Then came Sunday morning. In spite of the activities of the previous days, the ladies were up early for church. On the invitation of the Chaplain, Ms. Clara Ebai Selaboy delivered a spontaneous and poignant exultation paving the way for a very uplifting, no-holds-barred, sermon/talk from our long serving chaplain, Rev. Ambassador for Christ, Esther Tanga Gadpaille, fondly called Aunty E. God used Aunty E that morning to touch lives and two sisters, Ms. Agnes Njaba and Ms. Marita Che Londi from ExSSA Bamenda, could not help coming forward to testify God’s faithfulness in their lives. Aunty E’s holy crusade continued as she implored the congregation to join her to pray for the husbands of Sakerettes who were present and those at home. It was another moment of God’s grace as some husbands were visibly moved shedding tears and one went down spontaneously on his knees. It was a spiritually fulfilling time indeed! Service over it was time for National awards.
However the outgoing President Ms. Sally Bame Kum building on the positive atmosphere called on all past presidents and the president elect to come forward. Holding hands she requested a singing of “We Shall Overcome.” It was a deep penetrating ritual of peace for our organization countering what some had predicted. With the tone of peace set, she reiterated that ours is a volunteer organization and volunteers are to be encouraged whenever possible. Awards were handed out to chapters who volunteered to carry out national projects, individuals who volunteered in committees, individuals who served on the National Executive Council or were nominated by their chapters for effective service etc.
It was then time to transition to the last event of the convention, BBQ and picnic at the Bush Lake Shelter, Bloomington. Once again the ladies showed their versatility by quickly changing from their Sunday best to a casual outfit. And once again the ExSSA Minnesota Ladies delivered in superlatives. The food was tasty, the quantity in abundance, the music, superb and the atmosphere, priceless. The soccer game pitting a selection of ExSSA USA members and the MINCAM women was the icing on the cake. Led by Isabelle Atem Eyong and Lizzy Kombe Abange, the ExSSA Lionesses launched into the game with determination knowing the MINCAM women were no pushovers. But the ExSSA Lionesses where no match for the Minnesota-Cameroonian women even with the addition of Isabelle Atem, a star MINCAM player who chose to play for her alma-mater. The game played in 4 15 minute halves ended 3-0 in favor of MINCAM Women but it was the spirit of Cameroonian-African sisterhood that was on display all for the empowerment of less privileged girls in Cameroon. The final activity of the convention was passing of the torch to the next convention host, Washington DC Divas.
Before the BBQ/Picnic was over, the verdict was in the stars, ExSSA Minnesota, under the leadership of Ms. Sue Ewanga Nkembe as President and Ms. Gwen Atabong Sands as Vice President, had delivered beyond our wildest dreams. The organization of each event was thoroughly executed. From Thursday to Sunday, the conventioneers were treated with love, respect and pampered with abundance. Most first time attendees vowed to come back and the regulars had another reason to look forward to the next convention in DC. To think all this was accomplished on human ability alone is to be foolhardy. Glory and honor are due to the God we worshipped in Saker Baptist College and continue to worship today.
Submitted by Joyce Ashuntantang
For the Public Relations and Website Committee of ExSSA USA