Monday, September 3, 2012

"Do you intend to speak for every African woman?"

It is the question I put to Obianuju Ekeocha after her last post ran on the Bubble, a powerful open letter to Melinda Gates that I had reprinted from Catholic Online. I was surprised and honored to receive an email from Ms. Ekeocha soon after the first post ran, which read in part:

"I just want to thank you personally for carrying on this amazing conversation (about my article) on your blog. I still cannot believe how my simple words from the heart became as the pebble thrown into a river to cause so many ripples in the blogosphere.

"In the last week I have seen some really bitter responses (understandably so considering how integral contraceptives have become in the western world). But I have also seen so many many positive and encouraging responses ... I really wish I could answer the questions that I see people asking, I really wish I could get many of my cousins and sisters and friends and aunties from home (Nigeria) to speak for themselves. I mean my article only lifts a tiny edge of the curtain to our culture of life and our perception of love and life. There is so much more that I wish I could communicate. I was thinking of making a photo album next time I go home of just women and their babies. Amidst the dust and dirt -- but happy.

"For now I just sort of feel powerless because of the inadequacy of my little article. We don't have any good pro-life advocacy in place in most African countries and so we really are not prepared at all for this move by Melinda to plant the seeds of the culture of death … Once again thank you so much for rising in defence of the dignity of the African woman."

We have been conversing ever since, and she was pleased to respond to the question, "Do you intend to speak for every African woman?" the possibility of which troubled my pro-contraception, pro-"choice" readers (though the same readers had no problem with Melinda Gates' $4.6 billion speaking for those same African women). While the following answer will likely not satisfy her critics, I hope the voice of this strong, dignified woman will be heard and respected, especially as she speaks of her own beloved culture and the threats to it that come, uninvited, from a world away.

Ms. Obianuju Ekeocha

"Do I intend to speak for every African woman?"

Excellent question!!

My answer: Yes and No.

Yes. I speak for every woman living in the (sub-Saharan) African context, not as if I can read their minds, but as if I can read their living situations.

This is a bold statement to make but I would dare to make it because I understand the African society, the African cultural ethics and universal values, given that I was born and raised within that culture. Africa of course is comprised of many, many tribes and tongues and creeds (Catholic, Pentecostal, Evangelical, Islam and African Traditional religion). However across state lines, borders and languages, we share the universal values of the Culture of Life. This is why abortion advocates have found it very difficult (if not impossible) to sell legal abortion to any of these countries. There is a unanimous rejection of the Culture of Death, which is very much framed by the right to kill the defenceless unborn child in the womb.

As for the acceptance and use of artificial contraception, we have artificial contraceptives in Africa. In the last 2 decades, the UN has been on a mission to reduce the birth rate in Africa so they have flooded our hospitals with it, campaigning in urban and rural communities alike. But yet - surprise, surprise - most people still refuse to accept it because they perceive it as 'anti-life'. And besides, most African women know how to avoid or delay pregnancy without resorting to chemicals. They might be poor, but they are not slow nor stupid.

Anyway, there are a combination of reasons why the African women have a high birth rate.

The first is because there is a high desired fertility rate (i.e., how many babies a woman desires to have). This is because, the older women in our communities are revered or respected or even rated in accordance to how many adult children she has raised. So my mum who raised 6 adult children commands even much more respect than her friends who have much more wealth than she does but fewer children. And one of her friends who has 9 adult children is even more respected than my mum; even my mum reveres this lady for being able to raise 9 children (one of whom is a dear friend of mine by the way). For Melinda Gates' birth-reduction programme to take root in our society, she has to completely uproot this sort of value-system where wealth is never placed above children. Put differently, our system is such that our children are our treasure, and dollars, euros, rands are only our legal tender.

A second reason is that due to our poor medical facilities, poor societal infrastructure, poor nutrition, etc., our death rate is quite high (for both men and women). The life expectancy of every person living in sub-Saharan Africa is almost half of that in Europe, and if the culture does not encourage or celebrate births, well we'd be extinct before too long!

Another reason is that because we do not have free education as in Europe/US, it is rather difficult for the poor (which is more than 65% of the population) to send their daughters to secondary school (primary school in some cases), so they get married at a very early age. Anyone can see that if you start to have children at age 14, of course by the time you get to 35 you would have more than if you had been sent to school and thus married at say 20 years old.

Now I know people would suggest that these under-aged brides be protected and saved by giving them contraceptives to delay conception, but to live in the African society and be seen as infertile is never good for the woman especially where Christianity is not widely accepted and many men take second wives. So among the poor, a wife, in order to ensure her 'place' as the sole wife of her husband will want to have more than 3 or 4 children.

Among the educated this is different because most educated men will not willingly choose polygamy. And that is why I appeal for donations in African to be channelled to education of girls (and boys) rather than contraceptives. People would never wish their daughters married off at 12 or 13 years old if they were offered the opportunity of education. No girl would want to marry so young if she could get an education, and I do not know very many African girls who will then refuse a higher education (university, nursing school, teacher training college).

Once a woman living in the African context gets her higher education she is exponentially empowered. She could get a sustainable job with her skills, and when she marries she is so much more enabled not just with her husband but very importantly among his family (as our family structure is usually in the context of an extended family of the husband). It might be useful to point out at this juncture that the more educated African women almost always choose to have fewer children (but mostly by natural methods rather than artificial  contraceptives). So rather than fill our young defenceless under-aged brides with Depo-Provera which is more like a general anaesthesia that will make them not feel the brutality of their reality, we can better empower them by giving them the lifeline of education by which they can climb out of poverty one girl at a time. Surely education is more expensive than the artificial contraceptive, but it can change the fate and face of Africa as far as poverty is concerned.

Obviously this only addresses one part of the issue - the cultural acceptance (or rejection) of artificial contraceptives. There is also the matter of the governance and politics of Africa. Major, major issue. Anyone who follows closely the news from the African continent would immediately be struck by the ease with which dictators, military coups commanders, and criminal war lords pop-up across our continent. This is so hard to relate to for most Americans or Europeans, but we must bear in mind that most Africans have and are still living under dictatorial governments that span decades. In our African reality whoever is in power wields a god-like power which cannot be easily challenged. And in my experience, most of these men, who manage to climb into positions of power, want wealth for themselves; they want to spend only a portion of the national wealth on the people and then 'keep the change' for themselves. One factor that gets in their way is the increased populations in the different countries. They have more people to feed and fund thanks to our relatively high birth-rates, so from this point the natural female fertility becomes a stumbling block to them.

I would take the liberty to bring China into this conversation (only as an example) so please pardon me. The Chinese leaders have always had both unspeakable power and unfathomable wealth, so the moment they perceived the women's fertility as problematic, they used what they had to achieve what they wanted. They launched a rather expensive but effective war against fertility: state-sponsored abortions, forced sterilisations, mandatory contraception - all done without much consideration for human rights. Now in Africa among our governments, the desire to cap national population is there, the power (to trample human rights) is there, but the money is not, so women remain safe from this sort of violence.

But this could very easily change by the time Melinda pours into our territories the incredible amounts of artificial contraceptives that she is campaigning for (her target is to get enough for 120 million women! Most of whom are in Africa). I can just see this in the hands of the African dictators who will be quick to 'weaponise' every single one of these contraceptives (pill, pin, patch or injectables). I know many people who think that it is a 'nice' thing to do to get this 'choice' of birth control to the women, and I understand that they mean well, but are we willing to allow this extra edge of power to fall into the wrong hands? So on this point I speak for ALL African women who are as safe as the Authorities are disabled by limited supplies of artificial contraceptives.

For the societal acceptable sexual norms, I'm afraid I don't speak for all African women. However, by universal cultural standards, I do not know of one single African community that will accept or applaud 'free' sexual expressions, sex-outside-of-marriage, cohabitation, casual sex, domestic partnerships, friends with benefits etc. (all of which I have seen is widely accepted in the European culture that I live in today). Not to say that people are not engaging in such life styles in Africa, but they are never validated or endorsed by the society. A mother can never proudly tell anyone that her daughter is living with her boyfriend.

But in more recent years, thoughts and tendencies of the younger African women on different things are informed and formed by a broad array of factors: social class, wealth, education, degree of devotion to faith - these will all determine her level of exposure to western cultural values (this one is very important - so an African woman who has access to internet and cable TV spends more time watching American TV series [such as Mad Men!] which is more often than not highly sexualised; over time her perception and definition of love, sex and family life is inevitably shaped and formed). So there is an emerging group of African girls (though not a majority at all) gradually being "westernised" because they perceive the entirety - the whole package - of the western life as the 'glamourous life', the 'modern life', the 'better life'.

In order to embrace and accept this life, they inadvertently let go of some or most of our African universal cultural standards. With this persistent pursuit of the 'better life', many young Africans are now standing on the precipice beyond which lies the mirage of happiness/fulfillment promised by the new western norms of sexual expression. They have the choice either to jump off that precipice leaving our own norms behind, or to stand back in the realisation and appreciation of the beauty and solidity of our own African Culture of Life, which is so compatible with faith and morals.

I personally have chosen not to jump, I know many many, many other African women who have also chosen not to jump. And I pray that as my beloved African sisters come up one after the other to that precarious precipice they too would turn back and hold tight unto the beautiful Culture of Life which holds the firm promise of light, life and true love.


+++++++


For the past six years Ms. Ekeocha has been living and working as a biomedical scientist in Canterbury, England. Most of her family and many friends still live in Nigeria. From Catholic Online: Ekeocha "was inspired to write an open letter to Melinda Gates after learning of Gates' move to inject $4.6 billion worth of contraceptive drugs and devices into her homeland." She is hoping Gates will hear her "as the voice of the African woman." 

Ms. Ekeocha and others are hoping to find assistance from American pro-life advocacy groups/attorneys who can advise re: organizing and strengthening the continent's pro-life efforts to best fight against the coming contraceptive/Culture of Death onslaught.






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61 comments:

  1. For the first six readers of this post, an entire paragraph was missing for a few minutes, which has now been restored! Sorry if there was any confusion.

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  2. Wow. I am more moved by her responses to you than to the original letter. Thank you so much for taking the time o ask these questions.

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  3. WOW. This is alarming at best and something all Americans should read. Ms. Ekeocha is so so right to speak up and cry out. If only we all could see so clearly. Culture of death + $ + corrupt power (starting with infringement on freedom of religion!) = SCARY. Maybe none of us are very far away from the atrocities taking place commonly in China....
    And maybe you discussed this already and I just need to catch up, but I would love to hear Ms. Ekeocha's response to the idea that the contraception initiative will help solve the HIV/AIDS epidemic? Undoubtedly Melinda is feuled by the altruistic yet ridiculously arrogant idea that her wealth will solve the problem.

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  4. Wow. (I see the respondents before me had the same reaction!). So many important ideas in the answer to that one question. I love the solution she proposes: education! A way to improve the lives of young women and all people living in the African context. A natural result of going to high school and even college is that women will have fewer children, for they won't be married as young, but it does not require contraceptives. It is true empowerment for the individual, but it does not strip them of the power their bodies have to create new life.

    -Jan

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  5. Dear Ms. Ekeocha
    Please, start your own blog and speak out against the "blood $" Melinda Gates wants to use to pollute women who may not be wealthy money wise but know what true riches are !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  6. Whenever the US gets involved in the matters of another country, the left starts cry that our actions are imperialism or similar. Our involvement is never considered to be something good. We're always the rich white folks who know better and who are out to make money.

    I equate Gates' 4.6 BILLION dollars to change African social and cultural lives, something that will impact them for generations to come, because she [thinks] she knows better, as the same thing. The birth control companies stand to make huge profits (not unlike Halliburton or any other contractor in Iraq) once the birth control mentality takes effect in Africa. Hopefully the cultural values will be stronger than Gates' ego, terribly faulty and phony Catholicism, and hubris.

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  7. I'll add, why doesn't she put that money towards something better, such as a medical clinic or a hospital, or pay for the education of physicians (without forcing them to learn how to perform abortions)?

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  8. How do we get Melinda Gates to read this??????

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  9. Incredible. I wish I had the resources to help her in Africa!!

    GFNY, good point. Where are the Left's cries of "Imperialism!!" when it comes to contraception and promoting our over-sexualized culture of death?? It's only when we try to spread democracy that they are loud and infuriated. Priorities.

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  10. I'll add, why doesn't she put that money towards something better, such as a medical clinic or a hospital, or pay for the education of physicians (without forcing them to learn how to perform abortions)?

    Because the pivot of all the cultural wars today is abortion and contraception. This is a spiritual battle, even if the pawns on both sides don't recognize it. There is one person who hates human beings and will stop at nothing to destroy them, body and soul, and to limit their numbers and destroy their families. Catholics know his name. Some folks don't believe he exists, which makes it so easy for him to operate.

    Kaitlin, I don't know… I doubt she would be moved, though. She has said that this move, even as a Catholic, is "non-controversial". If she doesn't hear the voice of her own Church with an unwavering clarion call throughout the ages, then I'm guessing she won't hear the voice of African women who want no part of what she is about to unleash on their culture. Pray, pray, pray. And pray that some western pro-lifers can help her and others to fight this. She told me that her friends from Africa did not know of the vibrant and growing pro-life movement in America. They thought that all westerners were pro-death/contraception/abortion. And Melinda Gate's move certainly must have confirmed that for them! But thankfully they may be seeing otherwise.

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  11. "She told me that her friends from Africa did not know of the vibrant and growing pro-life movement in America. They thought that all westerners were pro-death/contraception/abortion."

    Uuuuuuggghhh...that makes me SO sad!! And a little discouraged!!

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  12. Nicole, exactly! This is western imperialism at its worst! Because it's poised to undo their culture, devalue children, and destroy the ties of family. I thought we were supposed to value the cultures of the developing world? Yet this tears the heart right out of it, and there is nary a "peep" from the feminists in defense of the African woman.

    Maybe African women have joined the "not worthy of defense" category to which unborn women already belonged?

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  13. Nicole, sorry, I just now saw your second comment. Hey, maybe that's the silver lining? That now the people of Africa will know that they are not alone? That we value life and family and children here, too?

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  14. Nicole, here is part of another email she sent me, which I don't think she would mind my sharing:

    I had a long conversation with one of the ladies in Nigeria who is directly involved with a small pro-life group in Enugu, a small city in the South-East. She told me that they had just been inspired and re-invigorated by the recent developments. You know, at home (in Nigeria), many assume that ALL of the western world (America, UK,etc) is pro-abortion and pro-contraceptive. Unfortunately they have a very limited knowledge of the great pro-life movement in the US which is never given fair coverage by secular media. But since I wrote that little article/open letter (which was really written on behalf of so many), the attention and reception especially from the US has astounded us all.
    And so we pray that the pro-life advocacy in Nigeria would soon rise to boldly challenge the proponents and promoters of the Culture of Death who have implanted themselves in our country as well as other countries.


    Good will come from this! :)

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  15. I kinda would like to move to Africa! At a certain point, I would rather be monetarily poor, but rich in morality. I'm grateful that God has poured out many blessings on me here in the U.S., but I am really frustrated by our country's lack of morality and blindness. You would think that Melinda Gates would WANT to hear from the people receiving her donation and have feedback on how her money could best be used.

    I guess we all just have to keep praying, trusting, and hoping that God will protect Africa and that Melinda's eyes will be opened to the reality of contraception.

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  16. I'm glad that word is getting out there. I guess it's just like any other conservative cause here in the US. It is suppressed by the loud Left. I wish I could go there and help!

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  17. Wow!! Beautiful.

    Pro-choicers, liberals, can't you see the logic in her words? Why can't you see the harm that birth control may cause? Melinda Gates is simply putting a western value and perception to a society she doesn't understand.

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  18. The sad thing is that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation used to do a lot of good work to deal with the child bride problem by funding schools for girls in rural Africa and India. I remember reading about it in the Chicago Tribune five or six years ago. I wonder why they have switched to this push for contraceptives as a "fix-all" for everything.

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  19. The situation makes me ill, but I am glad that conversation is spurring from this and, as she said, in Africa they are realizing there are others that are prolife, including in America. I appreciate you following up with her regarding her open letter. I have always enjoyed learning about culture and behavior. I can't imagine what anthropologists would think of her idea. Makes me vomit a little to think of what it would do to their culture.

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  20. Beautifully articulated, thank you so much for your witness!

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  21. Wow indeed. What an articulate, intelligent and thoughtful woman.

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  22. A wonderful comment I received from Ms. Ekeocha:

    I have been reading all the beautiful comments . I sincerely hope your pro-"choice" contributors will be a little bit appeased by my response, if however they still raise more questions , I would be very pleased to address those questions even the seemingly difficult ones.

    Yesterday after work ,I was taking an evening walk through the old Canterbury city when I ran into a good friend of mine .
    She herself is Zimbabwean , from the Shona tribe (and in case anyone wants to know , I am of the Igbo tribe- which is the predominant tribe in South-Eastern region of Nigeria) .

    I was so pleased to see her being that we haven't seen each other for quite a while . And without even minding the 'unspoken code' of English politesse , we got into this animated conversation about this contraceptive issue . So here we were on the high street of this ancient English city, 2 African women , pouring out our hearts to each other about the menace of Melinda's comprehensive, contraceptive-programme in Africa.
    Our fears were the same and our thoughts were identical , this move is sure to leave an indelible mark on us , a deep and ugly scar on the women of our continent , from the innocent adolescent Shona girl living in the tropics of the Manicaland (Zimbabwe) to the newly married Hausa woman living in the desert land of Sokoto (Nigeria) to the millions of young couples across the continent who selflessly sacrifice the very substance of their lives to provide for their young .

    Both my dear friend and I reflected deeply on our common experience of our people - the suffering at home is stark and the hardship is obvious BUT the joy , the hope , the gratitude for life, the faith in God Almighty is so much more palpable .
    We also thought and talked about our sisters , aunties , cousins and friends at home. Some of them are young, others old , some of them poor (very poor), some of them uneducated and illiterate, some of them more privileged (mostly due to good education) , but all of them vibrant, vivacious and valiant (the poor as much as the privileged ) .

    Their God given dignity of womanhood remains just as radiant as that of women in other parts of the world despite all the difficulties of Africa.

    These women are the channels of hope and life in the heart of their local communities . When the men are discouraged by the drought and the flood and the famine , the women bring hope and healing to them. When the vicious ethnic wars arise, the women bring reconciliation with their tears .
    When life becomes untenable , they approach the throne of God on bended knees.
    In short , the women are vital to the well being of Africa .

    But the strength of this artificial contraceptive 'project' might eclipse their radiance and crush their dignity .

    As we parted (my friend and I ) , we resolved to pray with urgency and raise our little voices in resistance , so that more women from within and without Africa would unanimously reject a gift that can and will very easily become a scourge.

    So again in all humility , we thank you for joining your voice with ours in defence of the dignity and destiny of the African woman.


    God bless you.

    United in prayers
    Uju

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  23. Good Lord, what a beautiful soul in Uju. And what amazing women in Africa.

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  24. Nubby, amen!! Harkens me to the "wisdom" post of a few days ago. March Hare and others might fancy the African women "unenlightened", but dear Lord they are so much wiser than their western counterparts! I think I could sit at her feet for hours!

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  25. And Kaitlin, shame on me for not having hope. I can't believe that I said that showing this to Melinda Gates would do no good. What a defeatist attitude! Any heart can be touched by the light of truth if it's open even a tiny crack… Wouldn't that be a miracle?

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  26. This brings me so much hope!

    I do have one question -- If the UN has been flooding their hospitals and campaigning for contraception and the women are still largely rejecting it, how will Melinda Gates' birth control campaign be any different? Does Uju think it will be the final straw or is the nature of it somehow different?

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  27. SO beautiful and inspiring!!!

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  28. Elizabeth, I don't know the details, but I'd like to find out! I imagine there is something quite systematic planned, and the scope of it is massive. But I hope we can get some more info.

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  29. I saw this on CBS news :

    "The wife of Bill Gates spoke of her visit to sub-Saharan Africa, where women told her stories of sneaking away from their husbands to get birth control shots - normally Depo-Provera - only to arrive at the clinic and find out that they were out."

    Is Melinda Gates trying to force contraception on women who don't want to use it? Or just make it available to those who do. I don't understand the controversy unless it's being forced. Also, are hormonal contraceptives they only type she is trying to import to Africa?

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  30. Elizabeth, I would suspect the tactics would be an amped-up version of how birth control became acceptable in the West. Until the 30s, remember, every Christian denomination held that contraception was an intrinsic moral evil contrary to the nature of sexuality. By the 1950s more and more had folded on the issue, but it was still socially taboo. Griswold v. Connecticut, in 1965, was in response to a state law banning contraception. Prior to that, how did the industry get their drugs - and the mentality behind them- accepted? Using the trusted establishment - doctors, pastors, etc. - and eventually this was rolled into the women's movement and contraception became the banner cry of second and third wave feminism (which would have horrified the feminists of the early days of the movement).

    I suspect that the UN and their allies will use similar tactics to get doctors and tribal leaders on their side. Let's pray it doesn't work. From Ms. Ekeocha's comments, it seems that African women are much savvier and smarted about this than Western women were fifty years ago. I pray it will be enough.

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  31. Johanne, Uju has written a response to you. She could not get it to fit here, so I am happily posting it for her, in parts:

    Yes , the CBS news is one of the powerful media stations that presented and portrayed Melinda's 'no-controversy' project in the most irresistible light .
    I had the privilege of watching a 15-minute interview she had with CNN, and she said that her motivation for doing this was that she wanted to provide an 'unmet need' for the most marginalised group of people (the women) in the poorest parts of the world .
    She also said that women would sneak out to secretly get the Depo-Provera only to find out that it was out of stock .
    She also said that she had spoken with a young African mother who said to her that all she wanted was to delay having another child until she could provide all that is good for her new baby (hence the unmet need).
    She also quoted some really alarming figures of unintended pregnancies in Africa , maternal deaths and neonatal deaths that occur due to lack of access to contraceptives.
    She also said that the Catholic Church was misinforming the women by telling them that artificial contraception was bad for them.
    She also said that it was totally the woman's choice to choose how many children she was going to have.
    She also said that she wanted this particular project to be her 'life's legacy'.
    The CNN interviewer ,who was so obviously pro-choice ,asked her just one difficult question - 'is this population control ?' and Melinda vehemently shook her head and answered: "No, this is not population control, rather it is called virtuous economic circle". With that glamorous phrase , they framed and bagged that interview.

    After listening to this eloquent presentation of Melinda's 'non-controversial' life legacy. I was reeling in shock because there was so much inaccurate statements made (in the Christian spirit I don't want to call them out right lies), there were so many distortions presented as reality . This of course was what set me on this path to point out the untruths that were told as well as the inconvenient truths that were left out completely.
    I am no advocate, nor blogger, nor communicator. So I really would have stayed silent but I could not . Not when these distortions and untruths are the foundation stones laid out for this 'non-controversial' project which could push Africa into a bottomless pit for generations to come.

    So that night , with that interviews still fresh in my mind and my heart so full words , I started to write my open letter to Melinda .


    to be continued….

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  32. Continued….

    Here is picture that Melinda did not present in her interview :
    For more than 2 decades now , the UN has been frowning on Africa . Why ? Our women are having too many babies they say . And abortion is not legal in most parts of Africa . So invariably most conceived babies are carried to term and born ! They tried to sell abortion to us , wrapped in the prettiest paper, and we still said - NO!
    This unflinching resolve on our part made our population growth offensive to them . Note that there has been a global population growth but the UN never pulls a frown at the USA or UK because they have abortion and they have enough artificial contraceptives to defeminize every female fish in the pacific ocean !

    So they launched a very powerful population control movement in Africa (and parts of Asia) where the abortion/contraceptive mentality had not yet taken root. They descended on us with their poisoned apple in hand (poisoned apple being the culture of death). And how we refused this apple!!!
    Whenever the Africans were hungry (famine) , the UN would offer us their poisoned apple as nourishment , whenever we were thirsty (in drought ), they would offer us juice from their poisoned apple to slake our thirst,whenever we were struck by disease (HIV) they would offer us their poisoned apple as the true and lasting solution. And yet we refused to take a bite of it.
    No one could ever accuse the UN for not trying hard enough to make Africa take a bite of their poisoned apple . They tried everything , they begged , they pleaded , they cajoled, they threatened , they worked really hard. But we refused all their tactics. All but one...
    What if they brought a 3rd person into it ? Maybe a nice and cheery face which is recognisable in Africa? Maybe a person who has bailed us out a few good times in the past ? Maybe a person who has held our hands at difficult times ? Maybe even a woman who appears harmless ? Surely she can take this same apple from the UN and offer it to us with a welcoming smile on her face and a glint in her eyes.
    She can change the name of it from 'population control' to 'virtuous economic circle' . She can delete all the words that Africa finds offensive , such as abortion . She can replace those words with more ambiguous words such as 'choice', 'empowerment'. And by the time she is done re-branding and repackaging this poisoned apple, we can then relax and take a bite , a good bite...

    What Melinda did not say in her interview is that when she is in Africa , she hangs out at the IPPF office (international planned parenthood federation) and sometimes she pops into the Marie Stopes International facility to pat their directors on the back and to encourage them in their 'hard work' .
    Oh , who is Marie Stopes International ?
    They are the most prominent abortion providers in the UK.
    How do I know that she visits with them? Because I watched a TV interview of the Director of one of the newly installed MSI projects in West Africa (situated in Senegal) . And she was glowing with pride as she described how MG came to visit their facility in Senegal .
    In fact it was at this facility that Melinda spoke with this one African woman who said to her that all she wanted was to delay having another child until she could provide all that is good for her new baby. So in a Reproductive health centre (intent on dissuading women from having babies) , Melinda gets credible insight into the desires (or lack thereof ) of the African woman with regards to pregnancy .


    to be continued...

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  33. continued….


    On the other hand she never even took the time to meet with any Senegalese Bishop , or religious leader (just to ensure that she explains her 'non-controversial' project to them) , she never darkened the threshold of any orphanage or crisis pregnancy centre in Senegal. No , she was on a single minded mission , even before she came to us so her itinerary was already drawn up and her agenda was already set in stone .

    This was why when she spoke of the women who would sneak out to secretly get the Depo-Provera only to find out that it was out of stock . She was more disturbed by the fact that the Depo was not available than the fact that any married woman should want to sterilise herself (temporarily or permanently ) in secret , without her husband having a say. Which woman on this planet would be pleased to find out that her husband was sneaking out in secret to do anything (be it to get a vasectomy or to have sex with another woman or to gamble away their money) ? . These things happen and yes, people live under the crushing weight of heavy secrets; but any marriage or family (in Africa, or Asia or America or anywhere ) which is carrying such heavy secrets is suffering and Melinda should be more concerned about the wellbeing and stability of the families that she encounters on her aid missions.

    As a scientist and part-time public health researcher , another thing that struck a cord in my heart was that Melinda had boldly quoted some really alarming figures of unintended pregnancies , maternal deaths and neonatal deaths that occur due to lack of access to contraceptive.
    I have long since found out that her primary source of data is the Guttmacher Institute which is intimately connected to Planned Parenthood . The main aim of their studies is to prove to the world that we NEED to buy whatever is in the IPPF catalogue (everything from killing babies in-utero to nicely coloured pills served to our school-aged daughters) . Believe it or not , in public health (or reproductive health) research , you set out to prove a point (rather than to uncover anything new) .
    So how can CNN or CBS or anybody accept these figures from an institute which is largely funded by proceeds from abortion and contraceptives ? They are only trying to create a new market (a massive new market given the number of people in Africa) for their products.

    Melinda also said that the Church was misinforming the women by telling them that artificial contraception was bad for them . What she failed to mention is that every single one of the artificial contraceptives in the market has possible side effects , some of them very serious . Most of them have warnings for people with pre-existing medical conditions (heart disease, liver disease, osteoporosis etc) . Excellent for those of us who have access to a doctor and for those who get annual medical checks . I know my pre-existing medical conditions , I was just with my doctor a few weeks ago. But how many of the women in poverty stricken countries know their pre-existing medical conditions . How many of them have ever had a blood test or a scan or a just a physical check by a qualified nurse or doctor ? So when 120 million women (MG's target number) who do not have access to basic health care, are placed on Depo-Provera , how many cases of severe osteoporosis are we going to see ? How many new cancer cases are we going to see ? 8, 14, 36 ? I guess more that that , much more . And many would die undiagnosed because there would be no doctor to diagnose them. They die and the big pharmaceutical companies go scot free.


    to be continued...

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  34. Continued…

    So is the Church right in telling her daughters that artificial contraception was bad for them ? Of course .
    I bet you that if these African women are duly informed (in their own native language for clarity) with the possible side effects of these products most of them will opt out of it.
    But do you think they will be given that info ? I don't think so.

    Melinda also said that it was totally the woman's choice to choose how many children she was going to have. Now that is if someone is going to come into our communities and deconstruct the typical African family network . Someone is going to come in and kill off all the mothers-in law and then deactivate all the husbands and then amputate all the brothers and sisters- in law . Then the woman will get to decide all by herself how many children she is going to have. I've already explained that minus the beautiful effects of Christianity and education, polygamy is not illegal in Africa . While a woman is taking her time to conceive another child , her husband's family could take the liberty to 'foist' another wife on him. Now, that is forbidden among Catholics and other Christians , but we are not all Catholics in Africa. Melinda can not throw around the word 'choice' in Africa as it can be done in the Western world.
    And besides , I have already explained how the choice could be taken straight into the hands of the government . The choice to sterilise women or not to sterilise women. The choice to enact a 1-child policy or not . The choice would not be ours , it will the government's.


    Melinda is not acting alone , she is the centre piece of a rather elaborate plan. She is the only attractive facet of a rather unpleasant gift . She is the long awaited key in the hands of the giant , the key to heart of Africa. And on July 11th 2012 , she was the central guest of honour at the family planning summit where they set it all in motion.
    Who was at this summit with her ? UN , UNFPA who have been pushing for the legalisation of Abortion in Africa , the twins USaid & UKaid (both of whom place an astronomical amount of money on reproductive health projects around the world ), the Swiss government (and we know all about the Culture of Death in Switzerland ), IPPF(International planned parenthood federation), Guttmacher Institute , Ipas (big time providers of abortion equipments), Marie Stopes International , Big Pharmaceutical companies (who produce contraceptives) , and others. This was a gathering of giants. If you don't believe me , please go to the 2012 family planning summit website and check the list of partners and sponsors .

    Did someone say 'non-controversial' ?
    I rest my case !


    Uju, thank you so much!

    Johanne (or Gwen), I would love comment on what Uju has said here, or any pro-"choice" reader.

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  35. Well that certainly answers my question! The entire picture is coalescing more for me. I know Uju speaks from experience. When I was in high school, I chaired the WHO for a Model UN conference. My responsibilities included writing a 30-page briefing for the delegates on global HIV/AIDs, and I broke the problem down by continent and sometimes country. I also studied human geography, which delved into global population, theories, problems, etc. This was in 1999. While my education and information are tiny compared to Uju's knowledge and experience, her words match my memory and experiences with the issues over a decade ago. Of course, my studies were not pro-life -- they were technically "unbiased" -- which makes it easy for me to affirm Uju's above-listed motives and plans. My education comes from "the other side", and I think she assesses the situation well. The Western world and global powers often discuss Africa in a condescending and controlling way.

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  36. Leila- I am really enjoying hearing from Uju. Thank you so much for giving her a place to highlight the very real imperialism taking place in Africa, promulgated by the UN and population controllers.

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  37. Yes, thank you! I know this is a troubling situation, but I am so encouraged and hopeful reading Uju's words. The U.S. could learn so much from her. I have already learned so much! She sheds so much light on a very dark and poorly understood situation.

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  38. I have learned so much, too! I had the absolute privilege of speaking with Uju on the phone this morning. I cannot tell you what a delight she is! Full of joy, scarily smart, gracious and charming. She filled me in on so much more, and even that didn't scratch the surface of what we need to know about what is going on in Africa and the relationship between them and the rest of the world. Including how the pop-con powers are able to use innocence/trust and language barriers to their advantage.

    I truly wish Miss Gwen would comment. Her academic career revolves around the cultures of developing nations, and defending them against western imperialism and the exportation of western values. I would very sincerely love to see a dialogue between Gwen and Uju.

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  39. OK...I am glad to read all of this, but what Uju carefully did NOT say, is that there are NOT large numbers of African women who are wanting access to contraception and do not have it. She said many other things, but, to be fair, it seems to me that she actually side-stepped Johanne's question a bit.

    So I would put it to her more bluntly: Uju, are you saying that there are not large numbers of women throughout rural and urban Africa who would like access to reliable contraception to use within their marriage to space births?

    I have been to Zimbabwe, and, though it was many years ago, at that time, clinics in remote areas were reporting a shortage of contraceptives (granted this was horribly all mixed up with the convoluted and utterly sick refusal of some government officials to publicly acknowledge that HIV caused AIDS and that it was transmitted via sexual contact, and so there was terrible misinformation on all fronts).

    Earlier Uju averred that poor African women were "not stupid" and that they used "traditional methods" to space births however they liked, but she did not elaborate on this. To my knowledge the most widespread practice of spacing births in some African nations is via lactation ammenoreah, and post-partum abstinence (while husbands move on to other wives). Are there other traditional methods that African women use that are somehow effective and holy?

    I am sincerely asking, because it seems that the crux of her argument rests on the assertion that contraceptives and abortion are being foisted on African women by the West in a poorly-disguised attempt at population control, and that African women are not wanting these contraceptives, while Melinda Gates' assertion is that individual African women are clamoring for more control over their fertility and they are being held back by poverty and corrupt and overly-patriarchial governments (few would argue that African is rife with government corruption).

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  40. In fact, the most interesting thing that Uju said, in my opionion was this:

    "Melinda also said that it was totally the woman's choice to choose how many children she was going to have. Now that is if someone is going to come into our communities and deconstruct the typical African family network . Someone is going to come in and kill off all the mothers-in law and then deactivate all the husbands and then amputate all the brothers and sisters- in law . Then the woman will get to decide all by herself how many children she is going to have. I've already explained that minus the beautiful effects of Christianity and education, polygamy is not illegal in Africa . While a woman is taking her time to conceive another child , her husband's family could take the liberty to 'foist' another wife on him. Now, that is forbidden among Catholics and other Christians , but we are not all Catholics in Africa. Melinda can not throw around the word 'choice' in Africa as it can be done in the Western world. "

    This is huge, and I am not sure how I come down on this issue. Should we, as Christians and women and compassionate people, respect the morays of another culture, one where a woman's individual desire or ability even to space or limit the birth of her children is subverted or maligned by her relatives, to the point where she will be marginalized for not having more children (even through no fault of her own), or should we speak out in defense of the chastity of marriage, and of individual liberty, and of the sanctity of two people to decide between themselves about the size of their families?

    What other cultural norms should we respect? Binding of the feet, polygyny and clitoral circumcision were and are still deeply entrenched cultural practices. Where do we draw the line?

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  41. Mary, great questions, and I can't wait for Uju's responses. I will just quickly say that as "Christians", we don't impose any sinful thing on anyone. And, the traditional view and teaching of Christianity is that contraceptives and abortifacients are gravely sinful. So, at least on that question, the answer seems clear to me. We don't impose that sin on anyone, ever. And the Catholic missionaries and charities in Africa for centuries never would. We help in many, many other ways.

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  42. PS: My use of quotes in "Christian" is not to imply that you are not Christian, mary! I know you are. I put the quotes there to highlight the specific category of your question to which I was speaking. Just to be clear.

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  43. Response to :
    "What other cultural norms should we respect? Binding of the feet, polygamy and clitoral circumcision were and are still deeply entrenched cultural practices. Where do we draw the line?"

    Binding of the feet ? - I don’t know of any African culture which would tolerate or openly promote this sort of brutality in this day and age, so I’ll assume you are only exaggerating for emphasis.

    As for the female genital mutilation , that has been very strongly forbidden amongst my people since we got Christianised (over 70 years ago).
    Believe me when I say that most of the civil governments have actually criminalised this odious practice. So on this note I’d confidently say that we are combating this seriously as a Continent and I pray for the
    day when it is completely eradicated.

    And please Mary , don't misconstrue my words , Polygamy is NOT celebrated in Africa even though it is legal . Just consider that abortion is not celebrated in America even though it is legal . Even those who support it would not publicly throw a party for it. In fact polygamy is fast being eradicated in most countries as the African Society has confronted it head-on .
    The first weapon against polygamy I would re-iterate is education . Because it empowers the African woman and gives her an edge both in her family and her local community.  This is why any aid organisation that wants (truly wants) to raise the dignity of women on the African society can effectively do so by giving the precious gift of education to young boys and girls. 
    Most educated men would never opt for polygamy (as it is seen as so 'retro' amongst the educated) . 
    And no educated girl would want to be any man's second wife. 
    But the biggest obstacle to the proponents of polygamy (who have by the way become an endangered species in last 5 decades ) , is Christianity especially Catholicism. 
    Believe it when I assert that the fastest route in Nigeria to excommunication is polygamy . That is how serious it is for us. Not unlike the clear pro-life stance of the Church for 2000 years . Even though it may be legal by the law of the land , it is (and will always be) non-negotiable and unacceptable by the Church. And it is in taking this unflinching position , that the Catholic Church has almost single handedly broken the back of polygamy in Africa.
    So as the beautiful fragrance of the Faith spreads , so does the Culture of Life and the Civilisation  of Love . 

    To be continued...

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  44. Mary, in "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" a secular book on Natural Family Planning the author talks about a tradition in some parts of Africa where an older woman teaches a young woman about the fertility of her monthly cervical mucus patterns, more plentiful and runny mucus equals high fertility while dryness equals less fertility.

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  45. You were also offended by the fact that I implied that our extended family has a say in our lives. 
    Before I clarify this one, I'd point out something .
    You speak of a couple making their own decisions(without the interference of the extended family) , but Melinda clearly speaks of the woman making the choice by herself about when and if she wants children at any given time (without the husband's thoughts being considered).  These are 2 different realities . What Melinda is proposing is a form or manifestation of radical feminism which is hinged on selfishness (in most cases). 

    In Africa , married couples get to make their own decisions on family size TOGETHER . But when they do so , they are strongly influenced by the culture and society around them , as is the case with couples in other parts of the world . Their openness to life,  how many children they receive with joy , how spaced out they will be and so on , all of this will be influenced by the world around them - which is more often than not their family and friends.
    But if for some reason , a woman on her OWN decides to adopt the typical 'modern' and pro-'choice' -themed Western style/pattern of bearing and raising children , questions will arise from family and even friends . This is not unusual at all, what we would consider unusual would be that the husband should have no say at all (again I would say this is one of the core principles of radical feminism ,  the woman's body = the woman's choice= the woman's decision= the woma's life= the woman's progress=the woman's liberation= the woman's empowerment= the woman's happiness = selfishness spiced with arrogance and garnished with egoism ) . 
    Radical feminism would only bring division and dispair to our families and our communities  . It will strip our women of their most powerful and disarming feminine qualities - generosity , sensitivity , receptivity and maternity . These qualities that have healed us and held us and fed us in desperate times.

    Our family network is intricate and in growing up the African woman learns to carefully but gracefully balance all these intricate family ties in her life. 
    My grandmother (my father's mother) lived with us when I was girl as is customary amongst our people. And she wielded such a high authority in our family and I loved and admired her to no end. But I admired my mum even more because for many years I watched her finesse and genuine respect in relating to grandma .
    Does that mean she was under duress or being maltreated  ? Certainly not !
    In fact I  believe that her own feminine attributes were honed if not perfected as she balanced a family of 3 generations . And I think mummy would have been horrified if anyone had asked her to send her mother in-law away in exchange for a more 'liberated' life. 

    Family ties are just that in our culture - ties . We are closely tied to our brothers , sisters , uncles , aunties , cousins , nieces and nephews.  Someone looking in from another world (i.e. another culture) may think that our family ties 'tie' us down and stifle us . I'd say that is a myopic view.
    Our family ties keep us connected in such a way that we experience life together , our joy is exponentially intensified as it is celebrated by so many and the weight of our pain is more bearable as it is shared by many . And in Africa where life can be made really difficult (by untimely death ,disease, draught, flood, famine) , we NEED more people to love us to the point of sharing our pain and tears .
    I have had my cousins shed tears for me when my pain was unbearable , I have had my aunty and uncle keep a prayer vigil in their house because my sister's son was in a coma in a hospital in Lagos. 
    If someone assumes that we would be better off in a more 'private'  'nuclear' family  , I would beg you yo please reconsider your stance because our world is different . 

    To be continued...

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  46. In the last 10 years I have had the privilege of living in 3 countries and visiting 6 others . And in this time I have been blessed with good friendships with wonderful women from different cultures and creeds , women from different socio-economic backgrounds and those from varying educational backgrounds . My personal experience remains that my beloved African sisters and friends are just as happy and satisfied as my beloved English/American sisters and friends. The richness of their lives is not directly dependent on the riches bestowed by silver and gold. Their dignity is so radiant that it is hard to miss. Their love of life is in itself a witness . Their hope is so lively you can almost hear it breathing. Their faith in God is so ingrained in them that it is impossible to imagine them without it.

    If we want to help these women to stand even taller and stronger in their virtue as women , we should think of equipping and fortifying them for life in Africa while carefully removing all the elements of the Culture that could hurt and harm them.
    And as the Venerable Fulton Sheen said, When the women rise to their full stature , Civilisation will rise with them .

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  47. Uju, this is simply beautiful. Thank you! We have so much to learn from your culture, and from those ties of family that have already broken apart here. We have become such a transient, selfish, "me, me, me", disconnected, society, where every "liberation" of the woman seems to be about sex and money (and liberation from children and marriage). I don't see women happier because of it.

    Oh, how I would love Miss Gwen to comment on what you have said about your culture. I would love to hear a dialogue between the two of you.

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  48. Thank you Leila , for giving me the chance and platform to expound , explain, express and even defend our culture. I sincerely hope that in all this discussion, there may be a change of heart or at least a reconsideration of where we are today as women .

    Thank you much dearest sister.

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  49. Uju, your answers are so beautiful! I had the privilege of having a priest who is a missionary in Africa visit my home a few years ago. One thing I had wanted to ask him but didn't get a chance is, who do you think is better off? The desperately poor in Africa who still have faith, or the affluent Americans who belong to a materialistic and shallow culture? While I would not want to be desperately poor, I also do not want to have love for things over love for God. Two questions I have for you are, do you think it is possible to be affluent as a culture, yet still have faith? And the second question is, what is the man's role in Africa in regard to the Melinda Gates controversy? I read a lot about how women need to be empowered, how they need education, how they can contribute to society, but what are the men up to? Do they step up to the plate for you, to protect you from Mrs. Gates' interference?

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  50. Thank you so much for sharing your insights at the Bubble, Uju!

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  51. Dear Uju,

    I have enjoyed reading your words here. Unfortunately, I believe this is not a good forum to carry on any kind of discussion with you, Leila and others (as Leila has requested in her earlier comments).

    For the record, Leila knows pretty much "zilch" (that is to say, nothing) about the details of my career so when she erroneously wrote that my career "revolves around the cultures of developing nations, and defending them against western imperialism and the exportation of western values" naturally, it irked me.

    For those who pay attention to the details and care about truthful statements, my career involves critically analyzing the representation of histories, material culture and contemporary practices of Indigenous peoples of the southwest. My academic and non-academic research does not focus on "defending" non-U.S. cultures from imperialism and capitalism-that would require superhuman powers I do not possess and it implies an arrogance and disrespect for other peoples and cultures that is certainly NOT reflected in my work. People in other countries are certainly capable of voicing their own opinions and concerns about the U.S. on their own, as your letter illustrates.

    I have chosen not to read more Bubble posts or comment here anymore and I would not have posted this comment, but I really cannot be silent when my career has been misrepresented by Leila.

    Thank you,
    Gwen

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  52. Sorry for any misrepresentation, Miss Gwen. As for "paying attention to the details" of your academic career, I am sorry I may not have had that totally clear as to your area of expertise. As I raise and manage the schedules of eight children in three schools, manage a home, and write posts on many different topics in my spare time, which have generated hundreds of different commenters and thousands of comments that I try to keep straight. I admit, it's hard for me to remember the details of your career. If you want to send me a copy of your resume or C.V., I will tape it to my computer. ;)

    But just for fun, can you name the ages and sexes of my children and tell me what my husband does for a living, off the top of your head? I'm sure I've mentioned these specifics in the past two and a half years.

    And of course, when I said "defending" I did not mean physically, but with your ideas and words.

    I am saddened that you won't give your thoughts on what Uju has said on the Bubble. I was especially looking forward to that, as I assumed this would be an area of interest for you (that was before I messed up your career details, sorry).

    I am glad you clarified your career focus and corrected me on that, truly. You have always been free to speak here, unfettered, with no editing or censorship. I stand corrected, gratefully.

    Blessings!

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  53. Mary, here is more from Uju, in two parts. There will be one more comment to come in the near future.

    Mary's question:
    "So I would put it to her more bluntly: Uju, are you saying that there are not large numbers of women throughout rural and urban Africa who would like access to reliable contraception to use within their marriage to space births?"


    Dear Mary I promise that I would answer your questions without side stepping any of the issues that you raise . But before I do so , I would beg you with all the respect I can muster , please refrain from denigrating the African men even if you have something against them . They are our Fathers and brothers and husbands . Thank you.

    The women who are 'clamouring' for contraceptives in Africa ... In your opinion , they are enough reason for anyone to unleash $4.6 billion worth of contraceptives on us.

    Mary , imagine that you live in a village with a dilapidated school and a crumbling dispensary which can hardly boast of even generic antibiotics .
    And residing in this village are 100 women of child-bearing age (married , engaged and single) , and 10 of the women start 'clamouring' for contraceptives (irrespective of their marital status) , 2 of them even go as far as 'clamouring' for legalised abortion .
    What will you honestly suggest ?
    That for these 10 out of 100 women , we invest an astronomical amount of money , not to raise the school nor the dispensary , but rather to build a state-of-the-art reproductive health centre and on top of that , should we put all our effort into legalising abortion so as to make abortion readily available for the 2 women who are 'clamouring' for it ?

    This is analogous to what is happening in my country .
    10 out of every 100 women of childbearing age choose to use artificial contraceptive.
    So are they 'clamouring' or 'scrambling' for it ? We shall see...
    They might have been 'clamouring' or 'scrambling' for it if it was not cheap and available.
    You see , the cheapest products in our pharmacy stores are contraceptive drugs and devices (condoms etc). It is cheaper for a woman to get contraceptives for herself than for her to buy antibiotics for her toddler .
    Why ?
    Because , contraceptives have been heavily subsidised by the big international aid organisations and pharmaceutical companies.
    I remember during my university days (in the late 90's) ,whenever we went to social events on campus (departmental nights, student rallies , big sporting events etc) condoms were literally shoved into our hands at no cost at all . You don't even have to ask for it!


    to be continued...

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  54. continued:

    Today , in Abuja, the Marie Stopes International clinic is on the busiest and most prominent street in town . They are situated right in front of a major market (the most central one actually).This market is a magnet for women and tens of thousands of women stop by it every week for everything from food to fashion.
    How accessible can the MSI get -when they are more accessible than even the District Hospital. Their staff are very well paid, their banners are the biggest and their services the cheapest. Yet the rate of contraceptive use hovers around 10 %.
    Surely the ones 'clamouring' for contraceptives have access , don't they?

    As for IPPF , in their own words, they provided 15.9 million contraceptive services in subsaharan Africa in 2011 alone. And in that same year, they distributed 40.9 million condoms and then provided 13 million sexual and reproductive health services to young people . ( Please note that these are their own figures from their own website - http://ippf.org/our-work/where-we-work/Africa).

    The USAID funded by the United States Government , has budgeted for Family Planning & Re- productive Services this 2012 a total sum of $524 million. This is more than their budgets for tuberculosis, public health threats, pandemic influenza, vulnerable children, and nutrition combined .
    http://foreignassistance.gov/Initiative_GH_2012.aspx?FY=2012#ObjAnchor

    And the list continues... UNAID, UKAID, UNFPA and many others . Their bias is undeniable and their commitment unwavering .

    This is why it is so hard to believe that on top of all this inundation , $4.6 Billion is still being raised and channelled to providing more implants, injectables,pills and patch while our classrooms are crumbling and our children are malnourished .

    So in good conscience Mary is this a good and balanced appropriation of funds ? Does this seem right and just ?

    I don't think so!

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  55. Uju, I just have to say that I find your loving defense of your African brothers, fathers and husbands to be one of the most beautiful things I have read on this site. We don't see a lot of that here in America.

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  56. One more answer from Uju, to Mary, regarding the use of condom in Africa to stop the spread of AIDS:

    The Latex and the Virus in Africa

    When HIV infection became evidently epidermic in Africa about 30 years ago, the Public Health practitioners and specialists were quick to come up with a model for prevention - the ABC behavioural approach .
    A - Abstinence before marriage
    B - Be faithful in marriage or to one partner
    C- us a Condom if the A and B are impossible

    The fascinating thing is that during the first decade of the battle against the epidermic, every major health organisation (including WHO) were in agreement that the most powerfully effective ways of squelching and eradicating HIV in Africa were the A &B approach. According to them , the C was for the so called 'high-risk' members of the society (mainly sex-workers), people whose high risk sexual behaviour could not easily be changed , people who were bound to always have multiple concurrent sexual partners.

    Somewhere along the line , everything changed and turned upside down. It went from ABC to CBA. And condom became the most strongly emphasised point of the prevention model. Organisations such as UNFPA launched a multi-million dollar annual campaign that they called 'Condomize project' (a name that I find rather appalling ) .
    And against the parents' values and wishes , large and powerful organisations started getting condoms into our schools and institutions of higher learning where they had full access to the young ones away from their parents.
    So while the parents were not looking, the children were encouraged to get sexually active and then 'condomized' for their protection.

    But in truth, they were NEVER adequately protected by the condoms .
    The fact is that according to the manufacturers ,with perfect use, condom is only 80% effective in preventing HIV transmission.
    So in 80% of all sexual encounters with a HIV- infected person , there is protection. But what about the other 20% of the encounters ????
    It gets even worse ...
    The 80 % guarantee of protection , is completely dependent on the Perfect Use ,which is a term used in the medical and healthcare setting to indicate that a pharmaceutical product has been used EXACTLY as specified by the manufacturer .
    This then warrants that when being used as a protection , the condom has to be worn exactly right and there is no margin for error. Any slippage, breakage or leakage (even in the slightest) would drastically reduce the guaranteed protection and put the user at risk . And in practice , we know that when it comes the time to use the condom , perfect use is difficult if not impossible to achieve because everyone is giddy, shaky and very distracted.
    According to documented research , the portion of users in the African population who attain Perfect Use with condom = 5% !!!!
    That means the remaining 95% of the people who have decided to hinge their protection on the latex are in harm's way in their sexual encounters.
    So despite all the millions of condoms thrown at HIV in Africa , no wonder the virus keeps thriving , killing and spreading through the population .


    to be continued….

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  57. continued….

    The most unfortunate thing is that , the international organisations have put less and less emphasis on the Abstinence and faithfulness message . Instead they have given all their attention to their condom projects . They have pushed and promoted the message of condom among the people. And with it the message of casual sex has been highly eroticised by some of the lurid literature tied to these expensive projects .

    I guess we could say that with one hand they attempt to extinguish the consuming fire of HIV and with the other hand they stoke the fire of sexual immorality. And so the fire continues!

    If you think I'm exaggerating please google and check out this booklet -
    Healthy , Happy and Hot - a 30-paged guide written by IPPF particularly aimed at adolescents (single , unmarried adolescents) including those who are HIV positive . Though this booklet was well received, accepted and approved by the United Nations , I must warn, that it is a very offensive material to read , as it is only a blink away from being pornographic . And there are many others like it . Lurid, brazen , offensive and morally objectionable. All of them a part of a well-funded passive aggressive move to weaken our universal moral values.

    So far, this has not helped us but has harmed us . It has not enriched us but has impoverished us . It has not strengthened us has has weakened us . It has not freed us but has shackled us .
    We need to be freed and healed and helped out of the clutches of HIV .
    But this will not happen unless Africa is taken back to the message of chastity , self-control ,abstinence and fidelity .


    Recommended reading

    Broken Promises: How the AIDS Establishment Has Betrayed the Developing World
    By - Prof. Edward C. Green
    Medical anthropologist at Johns Hopkins University.
    Formerly Director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies.

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  58. One last thought from me. Does anyone else find it entirely disingenuous to spend millions on an internet and marketing campaign called "It's not controversial" in order to quell the massive controversy?

    If something is not controversial, one wouldn't need to incessantly shout that "it's not controversial!"

    No-brainer. It's controversial.

    She's just trying to drown out any opposing voices.

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  59. Dear Leila,
    Wow, I just discovered your blog from Steve Ray link and I have been sitting here reading for 2 hrs. of all the threaded comments. First and foremost, thank you, thank you, and thank you and especially to your dear friend, Ms. Obianuju Ekeocha for her wisdom. Thank GOD for there are still authentic Christians out there who love the Lord and adhere to His teachings. Ever since my conversion, the Holy Spirit has opened up my mind to really see things in His light, and the issue of Life has been the dearest one to me. “High Fives” to you and all the others who have passionately speaking out against this Culture of Death. Even though, sometimes, you do have one or two who looked at the issue from different perspectives, but that is ok. They are always welcomed like you said. I mean even among the Twelve Apostles, there was Judas who was walking alongside with Jesus day in and day out, so we are no exception. I am a 2nd year medical student and many of my colleagues are outright pro-choice and they would be willing to "dance" on the street to prove their points of disagreement. So YES, if something is NOT controversial, one wouldn't need to incessantly shout/dance that it's not controversial. Another thing that I noticed after 2 hours of reading the posts is that I can clearly see the Finger prints of the Evil One chillingly being sugarcoated in the culture of death here. Simply, he makes the good looks bad and the bad looks good. So clever but so scarily disturbing simultaneously. After reading your posts, I must also be extra careful when lending my financial support to certain non-profit organizations. I am a student and I do not have much to give financially, but when I see a worthy cause, I will try to donate. I just hate that the money I donate or from many others like myself, is being used for something that will strip of the dignity, respect, and life itself in the long term. I really admire what the Gates family has done to alleviate the poverty dilemma in Africa, but I am shocked to learn that they have so much deviated from their original goal in helping eradicate poverty in Africa. It is like putting Christ at the Center of your life, and if you start to marginalize Him, you will unexpectedly welcome the Devil. I mean if the Gates want to help Africa effectively, and especially if they are Catholic, then learn from the great Saints what they have done to help the poorest of the poor such as Blessed Mother Teresa. If you sincerely want to leave behind a legacy that generations will admire and aspire to follow your footsteps to make a difference in the world, then be Christ-like: Practice what you preach; Love God and Love your neighbor till it Hurts. Poor people are people too and they hunger for God, not just physical needs. If you are Not helping them to get to heaven then do not try to help them to get to Hell with you. One final thought is that I sincerely believe that God has granted us a solution to the dilemma here. I mean He has given us solutions of Abstinence and Chastity but as humans, some find them challenging to adhere, so there is a program called NFP for Natural Family Planning. I would assume Planned Parenthood would detest this plan to their core but if they hate it because this plan has been heavily researched and has shown 99.9% effective in postponing unwanted pregnancy in a NATURAL (Godly) way, then too bad and too sad for them.
    I will continue to pray for all of us that in the end, God's children will have a change of heart and embrace true freedom. Time is a gift from God but once it is up, our "Free Choice" shall be the end of it so let us all make a "Wise Choice" when we still can. God bless!

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  60. Loren, I am so glad you found us! Thank you for these wise words. You give me hope, ha ha! I especially was struck by this line, which is so, so true:

    I mean if the Gates want to help Africa effectively, and especially if they are Catholic, then learn from the great Saints what they have done to help the poorest of the poor such as Blessed Mother Teresa. If you sincerely want to leave behind a legacy that generations will admire and aspire to follow your footsteps to make a difference in the world, then be Christ-like: Practice what you preach; Love God and Love your neighbor till it Hurts.

    YES! That is what a Catholic would do!

    Thank you for your wonderful perspective. I hope you will be a regular reader/commenter. :)

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