The 2015 EXSSA-USA National Impact Day (ENID) Reports.
The ExSSA-USA National Day of Impact dubbed ENID was an idea conceived three years ago by the erstwhile national president Esther Tanga-Gadpaille who saw the need for members of this organization to dedicate a day during the first weekend of April to carry out or take part in community activities that impact the lives of members of their communities. As you can see in the ensuing compelling reports, the spirit has been demonstrated by individual Sakerettes to Carats (children of Sakerettes) and whole chapters.
Members At Large (MAL) Representing: Boh F. Geh National PRO in her own words.
In the spirit of giving back to my community and honoring ExSSA USA’s Impact Day, I volunteered with Oakland Running Festival. Given that my family has a knack for sports, it was a win-win. While they ran the 5k and the Kids Fun Run, I worked at various stations, Fruit Station, Food, Kids, Photo Booth, etc but the Gatorade Station was by far my favorite. Why? It is right there at the Finish Line, you get to see the athletes as they trickle in, the first thing they grabbed: Gatorade! They gulped cup after cup, thanking us, some filling up their water bottles with Gatorade! It was interesting to watch! I learned quite a bit about Runners/athletes and their passion for Gatorade!
Overall it was a fun experience, live music, games, freebies, snacks and the feeling you get for volunteering to support the athletes is priceless! Proceeds from the festival go to support multiple charities and programs that address community needs. Looking very much forward to the next Marathon.
EXSSA – Minnesota Sakerettes.
Reported by Labelle Nambangi, National Secretary.
The temperatures were 30 degrees, it was windy and chilly in the Twin Cities on February 21, 2015. That did not deter the ExSSA Minnesota ladies from taking part in the largest Food Drive organized by the Minnesota African Task Force against Ebola (MATFAE) for orphans in the countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra-Leone.
The Ebola Epidemic has left over 16,000 orphans in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra-Leone leaving children with either one parent or no parents or immediate care givers. Most of these children have been shunned and ostracized from the communities they grew up in due to the stigma attached to the Ebola virus. The Ebola epidemic disrupted the planting season as farmers were either too sick or dying to do any farming. As a result, the regions affected now face huge food insecurities. The few orphans who were lucky to be taken in by extended family members still face food insecurities. There simply is not enough food to feed the orphans as well as all the dependents.
ExSSA- Minnesota rose to the occasion by purchasing tons for food for donation to the cause. Their presence at the food drive added flavor to the event and drew the attention and admiration of the organizers and other volunteers who they wondered who the ladies in the lovely pink t-shirts who walked into the hall dragging their food donations by themselves. The chairman of the Task Force Abdullah Kiatamba publicly recognized ExSSA – Minnesota. Chapter President, Mrs. Susan Ewanga-Nkembe. She was asked to introduce her chapter members and explain the work of EXSSA-USA. Ms. LaBelle Nambangi, the Media and Communication Chair of the task force and a proud member of ExSSA-USA seized the opportunity to talk about the upcoming convention and encouraged all present to contribute towards supporting the education of the girl child in Cameroon.
Members took part in the drive from 3:30 pm – 6:00 pm and without skipping a beat, headed out to their monthly meeting. At the end of the day over 12,000 tons of food was collected to be shipped to orphans in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra-Leone. Well done ‘Sota Ladies
ExSSA- Washington DC Metro Sakerettes: Impact Day April 11th, 2015
As narrated by Mona Tambi, ExSSA –DC Secretary…..
Judging by Sister Mary Tabot’s 7:00 am email to the DC Divas, (reminding us to “Rise & Shine” for Impact Day), our ExSSA-USA V.P. and DC Diva extraordinaire was energized and ready to hit the road.
We headed to Alexandria, VA, a few of us still exhibiting the inevitable sluggishness associated with an early morning wake up call. Spirits were immediately lifted as soon as we encountered our wonderful Host Amber Ostrup and Sister Mary, surrounded by a kaleidoscope of colorful velvety fabrics. What a blessing!
DC Divas lifted their voices in praise as they worked; by-standers were enthralled by this group of women, such effervescence, so early in the day! Who are they? What were they doing? Could we be a part of it? Indeed, assembling no-sew fleece blankets for cancer patients was not just about DC Divas that morning, it was about fellowship, social engagement, and the ultimate power of God’s love.
The air was thick with a steely determination only present when a group of women gather with a specific objective. Divas were infusing these blankets not only with LOVE but with positive energy, prayers for healing, warmth and comfort. Every fringe at the end of the blankets could easily represent our lives when we stand alone- vulnerable and cold. But that quickly changed as the fringes were tied together into a knot, an eternal bond, a knot of love and boundless opportunity!
It was personal…it was poignant… it was beyond enriching!
A few blankets made, thousands of hearts and souls in transports of delight.
Hooray DC Divas! Hooray ExSSA–USA!
EXSSA-HOUSTON Sakerettes: Impact Day
In the words of Bessem Oben, Publicity Secretary of the Houston Chapter:…
It was bright and early Saturday April 8th, when the Houston Sakerettes gathered at the Solera Nursing & Rehab facility in West Houston. We were welcomed by the activity director, who led us as we went knocking on the residents’ doors to invite them to the game room. Slowly but surely they trickled in, until we had almost 25 residents in attendance.
The event began with an opening prayer from Aunty Efeti Ojongtambia, followed by a welcome and introduction from chapter president Cathy Mukete. In keeping with the Easter spirit, the group began with some Easter hymns like ‘Old Rugged Cross’ and ‘Because He lives’. We could tell the residents were getting involved, as some began to hum the tunes and sing along. But it wasn’t until we switched gears and sang the Douala favorite ‘Ombwate’ that the crowd got engaged and even gave us a standing ovation.
The rest of the day was spent playing Bingo as Hortense Ngoe called out the letters/numbers with the talent of a seasoned game show host. The residents were excited as they got a chance to win different gifts, expertly put together by Aunty Marie Njowo.
The day ended about noon time as the residents prepared to head out for lunch. As I wheeled one of the residents over to the dining hall, her daughter, who happened to have stopped by for a visit, reached out and gave me a warm hug. “Thank you ladies for today, you have no idea what a difference you have made for my mom”
Okay, put away your wet tissue. That’s the Sakerette spirit for you….making a difference everywhere they go.
Narrated by Judith Ebwe Ngome, Publicity Secretary of the Georgia Chapter..
For the ExSSA-USA 2015 Impact Day activity, ExSSA-GA Sakerettes chose to visit Calvary Children’s Home which is a safe haven for children whose mission is, “to provide a safe, loving, Christian environment for children needing placement apart from their families, where each child is given the opportunity to reach their full potential in their personal, emotional and spiritual life”.
Visit: www.calvarykids.org to learn more about them.
With prior knowledge of their needs, Sakerettes of ExSSA-GA arrived there loaded with donation items ranging from food, personal care items and other necessities they wished for. Not knowing what to expect, the ladies were ready to shower these new-found friends with love, support and encouragement. As Judith Ngome narrates,
‘We were warmly welcomed by Mr. Allen Young,fondly known as “Uncle Allen” by the children. Uncle Allen gave us a tour of the campus. We were also able to meet some of the children and interact with them. Their smiles and warmth came naturally as a blessing. The joy in their faces reflected the warm, homey, family environment or ‘houses’ they were provided with. These houses are fully equipped homes with bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens and recreation rooms. Each house holds no more than 10 children and has a “caregiver” who is a sort of house parent. Allen Young and his wife, Tammy, occupy such a role in one of the houses. The children’s education is funded all the way through high school and even for college if they show the determination and ability to work hard and be successful in their classes. The campus has a playground, pavilion, fire-pit, gymnasium and large field for outdoor sports and activities.
There’s no doubt how much love these children receive from those who care for them. Together with the help of donors and volunteers, Allen and Tammy have established a system that primarily upholds the emotional, physical, social, and health care needs of the children as most important. Family unity is essential to them and they maintain this value by keeping siblings together, keeping the possibility of reunification with original families, eating together as a family and treating them with love.
God is the foundation for all the service that this home provides. In so many different ways the children are told, “God loves you”, by their caregivers and those who visit the children.
“The future of the Calvary Children’s Home will be, as it always has been, totally dependent on God as He cares for us through the hearts and hands of our friends. We are committed to providing the best possible home to these children but we cannot do the work alone. Your interest and support is also important because of the encouragement it provides. It demonstrates to our children that they really are important as our friends take such an interest in them. The impact of that message is one that will remain with them throughout their life.” Allen explained.
The impact of that message is one that will remain with the Georgia ExSSA ladies for a long time because although we came that day to provide a service, meeting the children and seeing how they are being taken care of, and observing the generosity of other donors, listening to the success stories, left an indelible mark on their hearts forever.
The best part of this visit is that many of our own children, got to personally meet children who are in need of love and a friendly face. They were great in how they interacted through play and casual conversations, making every effort to remember their names even after we had left.
ExSSA – Los Angeles Sakerettes
Impact Day from LA: Carat Nina Foyabo Takes the Lead
Impact day in LA is off to another level with a Carat (Children of ExSSANS) taking charge. Yes Nina Foyabo is clearly showing that she has been brought up to be selfless and to know that beauty is not marked by superficial things. At 14 most teenage girls worry about their looks. For most black girls having long hair is a mark of beauty promoted by the media. Well, Nina Foyabo did not blink when she decided to donate her long hair to “Locks of Love” a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under the age of 21 who are suffering from long-term medical hair loss. This decision took even her mother, Judith Caspa Foyabo, by surprise. As Judith explains, “I thought she was joking 2 months ago when she first mentioned it. I played it down thinking it was a phase that will pass away.”
No, it was not a phase. Nina pursued her cause by watching videos on how to donate hair. The more videos she watched the more she realized that only Caucasians, Asians and Latinas were donating. She could not help blurting out to her mom, “black kids have cancer too you know, and I am going to change that”. She sure did! She followed that by downloading the instructions and the donation form. On the donation form, she made sure she included the fact that she was donating her hair to kids who look like her because she felt not many donations were coming for them. As they say, the rest is history. Her longest donation was at 14 inches, shortest at 12.5 inches and 1.5 inches left on her head. Wow! Mommy Judith is extremely proud of her daughter and in awe at the way she empathized with the suffering children, especially those of color who are marginalized at another level. ExSSA USA is even prouder. We salute Nina Foyabo for joining ExSSA USA in our effort to make an impact beyond our immediate families. We salute the Foyabos for raising a child with such humane values. Nina’s hair will go a long way to make an impact on a child suffering from hair loss, but her action is sure to have an impact on any one who reads this. What have we done lately for someone less fortunate that us?