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Ida’s Environmental Law Journey with Aurora and Momentum

When Ida first stepped into Momentum, she was taken aback by the space’s beauty and warmth. It resembled a cozy living room, tailored for climate activists. On one wall, her friend Smilla, an artist and fellow member of Aurora, had painted a map adorned with various people holding signs and messages. It felt like a declaration: “This is a space for climate activists plotting to transform the world.” Momentum became a second home for both Aurora and Ida.

Her introduction to Momentum came through their generous offer to let Aurora utilize their rooms for meetings and events. This support was instrumental in organizing banner workshops, board meetings, and celebratory events. Furthermore, Momentum provided a hub for interaction with other young climate movements and activists, fostering solidarity and creating a rare safe space in Stockholm.

Ida’s involvement with Aurora began with her passion for nature, which evolved into a drive to combat the looming climate crisis. She found inspiration in the Urgenda case, where citizens sued their government over inadequate action against global warming. This led to the formation of Auroramålet, a youth-led organization that initiated Sweden’s first systematic climate case against the government. In Aurora, Ida serves as both spokesperson and scientific coordinator, deeply engaged in the organization’s legal efforts.

Aurora’s landmark lawsuit against the Swedish government on November 25, 2022, marked a pivotal moment. The atmosphere buzzed with anticipation at Mynttorget, where the demonstration commenced. Amidst the crowd and media frenzy, Ida hurried from an interview with Sweden’s prominent public broadcasting service. The march’s destination was Nacka tingsrätt, where the lawsuit would be filed. As they arrived, the board members delivered a powerful speech, signaling the beginning of a significant legal battle.

While Aurora awaits the highest court’s response, Ida remains driven by a mix of rage and love. She sees the exploitation of ecosystems, humans, plants, and animals as a grave threat, yet finds hope in the life worth protecting. Her advice to those considering engagement with Momentum or the fight for climate justice is simple: “Join! Civic engagement is not only crucial for the planet’s future but can also be enjoyable.”

As Ida leaves Momentum, she smiles, grabbing a banner collectively designed by the group. For her, this is just the beginning of a journey. Having graduated as a lawyer, she looks forward to dedicating her life to environmental issues and justice. Her ambition extends to creating a global climate litigation network, uniting countries and youth movements in holding governments accountable for their inaction.

Ida’s story resonates globally, showcasing how dedication and legal activism can pave the way for a more just and sustainable world.

Story provided by Momentum, Stockholm, Sweden

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Ubuntu Hub’s Influence on Global Youth Engagement

At the heart of Ubuntu Hub lies the spirit of “Sankofa,” a Ghanaian proverb urging us to never forget where we came from no matter the great heights we reach.

Late November 2023 marked a pivotal moment as Andile Mlambo, a dynamic youth lead at Planet One’s Ubuntu hub, received a golden ticket – an invitation to represent indigenous communities at the 28th United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP 28) in Dubai. Propelled by the Ubuntu hub’s ethos, Andile was chosen to represent indigenous communities and persons with disabilities at COP 28, thanks to Earthlife Africa Johannesburg, a civil society organization fostering discussions on marginalized groups in energy and climate change.

As the curtain closed on 2023, the ripple effect continued when the impact of Planet One’s Ubuntu project resonated not only with the youth leads but also with the broader youth community. In a remarkable turn of events, two key figures from the hub, Thapelo Ngobeni and Magile Khiza, seized the opportunity to travel to Stockholm, Sweden, for the Planet One Global Youth Exchange.

These opportunities serve as testaments to the transformative power of Planet One, creating avenues for young minds to learn, explore, and engage with the world. Andile reflects on the whirlwind of experiences, saying, “As a youth lead at Ubuntu hub, our calendar is brimming with bookings and projects. Thanks to established organizations like Earthlife Africa, we occasionally step into workshops, sharing our insights on critical climate issues.”

The alliance between Planet One’s Ubuntu hub and Earthlife Africa Johannesburg has cultivated a space where youth, women, and differently abled individuals converge to discuss the pressing challenges of climate change. These dialogues have become fertile grounds for exchanging perspectives on climate justice, food sovereignty, water, livelihoods, and the future of generations.

Andile’s journey from the Ubuntu hub to COP 28 was not merely a delegation; it was a privilege and an honor to be a change agent. “To attend COP 28 as a delegate of change was a special honor. My participation was enriched by the knowledge gained through being a youth lead at Ubuntu hub, attending intersectionality workshops, and engaging in weekly global meetings. These experiences have shaped my activism, allowing me to be a voice for South Africa’s indigenous communities, differently abled individuals, and an advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

Planet One’s Ubuntu hub stands as a beacon, empowering the youth to become catalysts for change, fostering global connections, and shaping a future where diverse voices harmonize for a sustainable and inclusive world.

Story provided by Ubuntu Hub, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Uniting for Empowerment: The 2023 Planet One Youth Exchange

In December 2023, young leaders and activists from Sweden, Hungary, Armenia, Cameroon, Kenya, and South Africa came together in Stockholm for an incredible opportunity – the Youth Exchange organized by Planet One. Over five days, this event sparked enthusiasm and inspired these next generation leaders to make positive strides in climate fairness.

The Youth Exchange kicked off with a burst of energy and excitement. Warm welcomes, icebreakers, and activities set the stage for connections to bloom. A tour of Fryshuset and an inspiring talk by the Fridays For Future team left everyone feeling fired up. The highlight? A vibrant session where we crafted banners for the upcoming Friday’s strike.

Day two was all about action. We joined the Fridays For Future strike, showing our dedication to climate action. Exploring Stockholm’s Old Town and visiting the Greenpeace Office added depth to our experience. The day concluded with a passionate debate, allowing each participant to voice their thoughts on the global fight for climate justice.

One participant summed it up perfectly, “It was an extremely positive day filled with community. The strike was one of the highlights for me: taking part in it was an interesting experience. Hopefully, it had a great impact and brought about some real changes!”

On day three, we immersed ourselves in nature at Hellasgarden. A sauna session and a dip in the lake grounded us and deepened our connection to the environment. In the afternoon, we had a workshop focusing on projects led by our youth, providing a platform for everyone to express and share their passion and creativity.

Reflecting on the day, one participant remarked, “Exploring another Swedish tradition was exciting, and venturing into nature provided a refreshing change. The workshop empowered me to initiate my own youth-led project.

Day four was about relaxation and creativity. Morning yoga set a positive tone,where we embraced moments of relaxation and introspection, while activities like baking vegan cookies and painting offered a chance to discover inner strength in response to climate challenges. The day concluded with a workshop centered around self-discovery through art, highlighting the importance of self-care and mindfulness while fostering deeper connection among participants. Another participant shared, “Today brought us closer together, especially through teamwork. Starting with yoga made it all feel right, and recording podcasts was a blast!”

The final day was bittersweet. It provided us an opportunity for reflective expression through various creative outlets. We engaged in crafting with a Christmas theme and crafting handmade guitars. The exchange concluded with a heartfelt goodbye dinner featuring African cuisine, marking the end of an incredible and transformative week together. Reflecting on the farewell, one participant expressed, “Today was emotional, especially the farewell dinner, which was a perfect culmination of great food, company, and shared memories. It was difficult to bid farewell to such wonderful people.”

The Stockholm Youth Exchange served as a powerful platform for fostering connections and inspiring a commitment to a greener future. We not only learned about different cultures but also forged lasting friendships and gained insights into diverse societies. Through teamwork and stepping out of comfort zones, each of us left with valuable lessons and renewed determination to effect positive change in our communities. 

“I used to think I had nothing significant to share, but this exchange showed me the importance of sharing knowledge with others. I’ve resolved to continue learning and sharing for the betterment of our communities.”

The friendships we made will continue to fuel the global movement for climate justice. As we part ways, we carry with us memories, lessons, and the inspiration to continue our journey toward a sustainable and equitable world.

During the youth exchange first episode of the “Unveiling Environmental Echoes” podcast has been recorded, an environmental talk among the passionate members of the Alternative Youth Center and the prominent leaders of the youth teams from Kenya and the Republic of South Africa.

Written by Danyil Nychka, the ESC volunteer from Ukraine at Fryshuset, Stockholm, Sweden

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My Ubuntu Hub Impact Experience 

Many individuals envision a space that would make them feel recognised and heard. Quite often these  kinds of spaces are within arm’s reach, however our youth do not know much about them let alone  know the kind of support or initiatives that are provided. For the past few months, Ubuntu Hub has  engaged with youth from various artistic and environmental backgrounds, offering a platform that  initiates creativity and encouragement. The Hub assists youth around Johannesburg with amplifying  their voices, their artistic gifts, and their environmental projects or ideas. 

Personally, Ubuntu Hub has provided me with amazing opportunities and skills within the  environmental and maker-space. These range from social media and climate justice workshops,  strengthening my environmental passion towards protecting the environment, learning how to fuse my  artistic talent with activism, as well as socializing with like-minded individuals and learning in-depth  about the importance of diversity.  

Growing up in a township, I have recognised that lack of environmental awareness is a huge issue that  still prevails in parts of South Africa, and only a few have information about places like Ubuntu Hub.  My journey has equipped me with the right knowledge thus far to educate and inspire other young  individuals sharing similar values and passions towards creating a greener future.  

The constant effort made by Ubuntu Hub to reach more youth across South Africa through Instagram  and Facebook, has encouraged youth, including myself, to voice out their gifts to a broader audience.  One of the aspects that I appreciate the most at the Hub is that regardless of the project, workshop or  activity hosted; you ultimately always leave the space with a different viewpoint and at the end of the  day your heart is inspired to do more for yourself and others.  

The thing is, we all come from different backgrounds, and we constantly search for a place that enables  us growth and sparks creativity. At the core of our search, we want to feel like we belong and feel a  sense of appreciation towards our crafts. The fact that I found these qualities in a space like Ubuntu  Hub, filled with enthusiasm and innovation, allows me the chance to express my talents and appreciate  that everyone’s journey can be supported. 

Story provided by Ubuntu Hub, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Harmony in Art and Impact: Summer Arts’ Journey to Environmental Impact with Ubunifu Hub

Art serves as a powerful means of communication, and for Ombok and Maxwell, the creators behind the Summer Arts initiative, it has become a vehicle to bring artists together for a common cause. Documenting and showcasing their work on a dedicated YouTube channel, they have harnessed their artistic forms to raise awareness about environmental conservation and protection within their community.

The turning point for Summer Arts came with a transformative 6-week training at Ubunifu Hub in September 2021. Ombok reflects, “Before the training, the community didn’t take us seriously. But after that, we now have an identity.” The duo now proudly wears a uniform that communicates their purpose, sparking curiosity within the community and prompting inquiries about their work.

Their impact on the community is tangible, reaching up to 300 people through a handwashing campaign and other initiatives in Lucky Summer. Through the program, they’ve not only interacted with other like-minded groups but also expanded their network, fostering collaboration for a more significant impact.

The training also paved the way for tangible support from Ubunifu Hub. Ombok shares, “After the training, we submitted a proposal that resulted in us getting a micro-grant.” This grant provided them with essential resources such as a handcart (mkokoteni), uniforms, personal protective equipment (PPE), spades, and hoes, significantly easing their waste management efforts. Ombok emphasizes, “Now when we are working, we are also protected.”

Maxwell sheds light on their future plans, stating, “Part of the funding we’re using to create a website so that we can showcase more of our environmental work and also promote art as a way of spreading the message on environmentalism.” The gratitude towards Ubunifu Hub is evident as Maxwell expresses, “We’re grateful for Ubunifu Hub’s support. Being in this uniform signifies that we are resisting climate injustice.”

Story provided by Ubunifu Hub, Nairobi, Kenya

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Empowering Dreams: Seka Blaise’s Journey with Mboa Hub

Hello, fellow planet enthusiasts! I’m Seka Jean Blaise, a passionate advocate for clean energy hailing from the beautiful Grassfields of Cameroon. My journey with clean energy began when I witnessed the harsh realities of limited energy access in my community. Fueled by this experience, I embarked on a mission to empower youths like me and bring about a transition to clean energy in Cameroon, with a vision of energy democracy for rural communities.

My transformative journey took an unexpected turn one Friday afternoon at Open Dreams when I met Ndum Albert and Mache Dolores, Greenpeace Africa Volunteers. They shared the exciting news about the launch of a Youth Climate Justice Makerspace, Mboa Hub, powered by Greenpeace Africa and Fryshuset through Planet One. Little did I know that this encounter would lead me to a roller-coaster ride of purpose discovery and self-actualization.

Before January 17, 2023,  I was a novice in the field of climate action. However, the invitation to the opening ceremony of Mboa Hub changed everything. This youth Makerspace became the catalyst for my academic and professional transformation. Through Mboa Hub, I was nominated as a delegate from Cameroon, funded by Greenpeace Africa, to attend the Climate Justice Camp in Lebanon. This one-week experience, focused on clean energy, exposed me to expert leaders from 350.org in France and Greenpeace in Greece, shaping my perspective on energy democracy—a life goal I now aspire to achieve for Cameroon by 2035.

Out of this passion, DeWise Energy was born—a startup dedicated to providing affordable and reliable clean energy to all Cameroonians. Mboa Hub became the wind beneath DeWise’s wings, offering invaluable technical and financial support. Together, we’ve launched projects like the DeWise Fellowship, empowering displaced youths to propose solutions to community problems, and the DeWise-Mboa SunSpark Energy Accelerator Program, training 20 youths annually on clean energy technologies.

What sets Mboa Hub apart is not just its professional prowess but the sense of family it exudes. The unity within the team translates into effective programs that resonate with the youth. I’m grateful for the support from the Mboa Hub team, and I eagerly anticipate future collaborations and projects. Together, we’re not just dreaming of a cleaner, greener future—we’re actively building it!

Mboa Hub, Yaoundé, Cameroon

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We all agree that we need to act – what is stopping us?

When it comes to our ancestors, everyday was a battle and when you could stock up on supplies, you did. In the battle for survival the scarcity mindset was a driving force, which is something I believe led to a greater appreciation of what you had.

Unfortunately in today’s society, that isn’t the case. In so many societies of LAPA (Least Affected population areas) all we see is abundance. We are fooled by the size of the inventory stocks, and our brain think that this must be a never ending supply of whatever we need, whenever we need it. However, that is not the case. Ever since researchers could map out how brains work, we have been vulnerable to implicit marketing techniques and underlying messages. This would not be a problem if the human brain developed as fast as society at large. Unfortunately, it doesn’t, and evolution is slow, leaving us exposed to companies that want to speak to our subconscious and automated part of the brain. Planting seeds that spark our desire for consumption and the feeling of being incomplete.

I can’t help but to wonder what a world without all of these implicit messages would look like. Would it strengthen our connection to ourselves? Would it strengthen our connection to one another? Would it leave us feeling empowered or would it leave us feeling empty? What would we have in our brains if nobody was trying to fill it up with information? I would like to believe that we would have more peace.

In a world where money rules, that reality unfortunately seems far away. Establishing and maintaining conflict is literally the livelihood of some companies, whether it is fooling someone into believing they are not beautiful or starting wars and providing weapons to both sides.

So how are we going to change a system that benefits from destruction? How are we going to change a system into a better one, when powerful actors take advantage of the outdated machinery of our brains to keep the status quo?

To be honest, when you go over the math of what needs to happen, it almost feels impossible.

It feels like the only way for people to take action is if they can actually see the threat. Our eyesight has developed to be our most trusted sense and crazy enough, maybe that’s what we need to see. An external existential threat to humanity. Because If we don’t, our feelings of indifference will be the end of us.

To turn this development, everyone needs to engage. Especially people in LAPA because that’s where a big part of the huge consumption demand comes from. I believe we need to understand our place in this world and respect it. I believe we need a new system that respects our mortality and tenders our wish for inner peace. A practice many of us in LAPA since long have forgotten. Because buried in “modern society” of our world, lies the worshiping of the sun and the earth. The two celestial bodies sustaining all life as we know it. And we need to practice not extracting more than the earth can withstand. I believe this is the knowledge of living in harmony with the earth. The knowledge of being a human.

For all of our sakes, I hope we make some big changes. That we connect to the earth again before it’s too late. That we make some of our old ways our new age, and that we find our way back. Back to you, back to me, and back to us.

With love, your fellow human Eric

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MAKE SMTHNG Week: A Global Celebration of Sustainability at Planet One Makerspaces

In a world saturated with consumerism and a growing environmental consciousness, MAKE SMTHNG Week emerged as a transformative force. This annual international festival, passionately embraced by the Planet One makerspaces, seized the spotlight amid the whirlwind of Black Friday and the onset of the Christmas shopping season. It wasn’t merely a series of events; MAKE SMTHNG Week unfolded as a global movement celebrating creativity, challenging consumerism, and championing a sustainable future. 

As we draw the curtains on a week brimming with creativity, collaboration, and conscious consumption, we reflect on the inspiring events that transpired across the Planet One makerspaces. From empowering workshops to innovative projects, the week became a celebration of sustainability, craftsmanship, and community. 

In this harmonious blend of creativity and commitment, MAKE SMTHNG Week united communities worldwide, spotlighting diverse initiatives that took place at different Planet One makerspaces. This global celebration against consumerism illustrates the collective effort to challenge the norm and forge a path toward sustainable living.

At Bolygó, the week commenced with a pre-event that set the tone for the days ahead. Crafting instruments and a lively jamming session created a vibrant atmosphere, drawing in a community of individuals who returned eagerly for the subsequent events. The week progressed with crafting sessions and musical collaborations, turning Bolygó into a small, tightly-knit community where 70 participants joined the pre-event, with 10-15 enthusiasts attending each subsequent activity.

Make SMTHNG Week at Bolygó
Make SMTHNG Week at Bolygó

Across the globe at Ubuntu Hub, the ambition soared high. The community expressed a desire for quarterly MAKE SMTHNG Weeks, emphasizing a commitment to sustained creativity and conscious living. Over four days, participants engaged in activities such as mural and canvas painting, upcycling projects, and the innovative transformation of old tires into unique furniture pieces. Ubuntu Hub became a haven for artistic expression and sustainable craftsmanship.

Make SMTHNG Week at Ubuntu Hub
Make SMTHNG Week at Ubuntu Hub

In the spirit of diversity, Alternative Youth Space planned four distinct activities, each attracting 15-20 participants. From workshops with local school youths focusing on nature and the environment to sessions on making pots, renovating clothes, and crafting pencil purses, the hub embraced a holistic approach to sustainable living. Inviting artists and experienced individuals for the workshops added depth to the engagement, culminating in a powerful lesson on the fashion industry and greenwashing.

Make SMTHNG Week at Alternative

Mboa Hub showcased the strength of collaboration by organizing MAKE SMTHNG Week in partnership with local youth groups. An online challenge prompted participants to create new items from old materials, including making furniture from old tyres. The Plastic Day event saw 70 youths contributing to the creation of innovative pieces, ranging from Christmas decorations to artworks. The hub also hosted an art and clothes swapping event, where the materials for drawing were sourced from old clothes, emphasizing the creative potential of sustainable practices. The closing ceremony brought together the participants, presenting a culmination of the week’s collective efforts.

Ubunifu Hub harnessed the experience of past facilitators at their exhibition dubbed ‘Green Friday’, attracting a substantial crowd of about 200 participants. The hub explored urban farming, DIY projects with diverse materials, and a clothing swap. By inviting back previous facilitators for an exhibition, Ubunifu was a hub of inspiration, showcasing the transformative power of sustainable creativity.

Make SMTHNG Week at Ubunifu Hub

Momentum embodied the heart of Make SMTHNG Week by hosting a series of hands-on workshops and skill-sharing sessions that brought young people together. From upcycling old materials into functional art to learning about zero-waste living, participants gained practical knowledge and developed new skills that could be applied in their daily lives. The workshops were not only educational but also fostered a sense of community, with participants exchanging ideas and experiences.

Make SMTHNG Week at Momentum

Key Takeaways:

1. Empowerment Through Education: MakeSmthng Week showcased the transformative power of education in fostering sustainable practices, equipping participants with valuable knowledge and practical skills.

2. Community Building and Global Unity: The week not only fostered a strong sense of community among local participants but also established a global unity against mindless consumption, demonstrating the strength of collective action.

3. Tangible Impact and Simultaneous Skill-building: From individual lifestyle changes to community-wide projects, MakeSmthng Week highlighted the tangible impact of small actions. Simultaneously conducted workshops and skill-sharing sessions across hubs facilitated a global exchange of ideas and practical knowledge.

4. Diversity in Sustainability: The showcase of creations underscored the diversity of sustainable alternatives, emphasizing that the movement transcends cultural and geographical boundaries.

5. Community Impact on a Global Scale: Community impact projects undertaken in various hubs demonstrated that the collective effort to address sustainability issues extends beyond borders, contributing to a global movement for positive change.

As MAKE SMTHNG Week at Planet One makerspaces wraps up, the embers of the Green Rebellion continue to burn bright. The week may be over, but the impact, the skills learned, and the community forged will endure, inspiring a lasting commitment to a more sustainable way of life. Until the next MAKE SMTHNG Week, let’s keep creating, challenging, and making a difference.

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Making Something or Giving Room to Creativity

Each generation has its challenges and it is the duty of that generation to take action in solving the various obstacles that arise. The state of our environment nowadays undergoes a lot of obstacles and pressure notably climate change, biodiversity loss, plastic pollution, air and water pollution, soil degradation as well as deforestation. Added to these issues, there is an increase production of waste from all the four parts of the world. Unfortunately, everyone across the globe does not face these problems similarly. Among the various sustainable solutions proposed so far, MAKE SMTHNG WEEK appears to be impressive. However, can the MAKE SMTHNG WEEK work effectively for countries like Cameroon?

Mboa Hub with its team during Make SMTHNG Week in November, 2023

MAKE SMTHNG is a worldwide festival whereby, everyone, everywhere repairs, upcycles, shares, reuses instead of consuming as a way to counteract hyper-consumerism. It is in 2022 under the auspices of Planet One that I discovered MAKE SMTHING WEEK.

MAKE SMTHNG’s aim is to empower people to recreate more and to buy consciously. As a matter of fact, it appears as a means to counteract the BLACK FRIDAY culture which demands that more goods should be bought. In fact, the BLACK FRIDAY does not only enhance consumerism but it increases the quantity of waste into our Planet. The ultimate idea that arises here is the financial stability of those who are buying much. In countries like Cameroon, few people can offer themselves this luxury to buy much. At this level, the MAKE SMTHING might not make sense for developing countries like Cameroon. However, if the focus is made on the types of waste like plastic waste, organic waste, just to name a few, then MAKE SMTHNG will take on its full meaning. Therefore, reusing while giving a second beautiful life to waste is a way to contribute the MAKE SMTHNG. This is generally based on the culture of learning by doing. So, one can affirm that, MAKE SMTHNG can enable people to improve on their skills in managing waste.

Similarly, MAKE SMTHNG is an approach to develop creativity while working with other people. In fact, during the MAKE SMTHNG WEEK, people come together to have fun, joy, share experience while creating new and useful objects from waste.

This is exactly what happened at the University of Yaoundé 2 last year where, together with volunteers of Greenpeace Africa we celebrated the MAKE SMTHNG WEEK. Young students and volunteers express their innovative skills by creating flower jar, jewellery, drums, decorative arts and many others. With this learning, I opted to share this bundle of innovative activities with secondary school students. Here, I organised an inter-school competition among students who created new things from plastics waste. The winners were awarded many prizes.

For the year 2023, I intend to celebrate MAKE SMTHNG with more youth and contribute in reducing waste in our environment while creating knew and useful objects. Equally, it will be of great importance, if this year MAKE SMTHNG portrays the face and the life of young Cameroonian.   

In a nutshell, MAKE SMTHING WEEK is one of the most sustainable solution to combat consumerism. It enhances creativity and encourages people to improve on their skills while working together and have fun. However, whenever, it needs to be implemented, the main approach to use is to contextualise it around the community or country where it is supposed to be implemented.

Written by Mache Dolorès, Mboa Hub, Yaoundé, Cameroon