JUST RELEASED: NA"17 "CHWAY"
I got a call from my mother during lunch break at a 9-5 job I was slowly regretting. It was the Fall of 2016. Excited, I picked up her call only to feel the crumbling of my heart.
"Your grandfather is sick, and he believes he is dying," she says.
It seemed like I could hear myself breathing although there were no exhales. My ever racing mind came to an abrupt halt. I was stuck between thoughts, words and phrases. I did not know what to say first or what to say next. All I knew was that this beloved man of my life could possibly leave me; I barely knew him and he barely knew me.
She was calling to let me know she was heading to Cameroon that week. I was vomiting up broken thoughts but my mother could see clearly.
"Do you want to come with me?"
"But do remember this is not a vacation." No diagnosis? No updates? No answers??? "There is something unknown fighting to steal your grandfather's life and we must be there fighting to keep it."
On arrival, I had all these things I had planned to tell him. Like "Grandpa look, I'm not the typical Bushfalla (a Cameroonian born or raised outside Cameroon) who forgets where she comes from," or "I know you don't get this fashion career thing but it is all for you. It is for our people, too."
Laughably, I brought to him press clippings in fonts he could barely recognize all in an attempt to let him know that I love him.
Grandpa, I know I don't call as often as I should but I have never forgotten about YOU; about US; about OUR PEOPLE.
But with the language barrier between my grandfather and I it became hard to translate such a complicated presentation of love. In fact we barely spent time on press clippings at all. We mainly talked about his goats on the farm, his favorite foods, his children and my siblings back at home. And the moments when he was tired of speaking to me in Pidgin (West African broken English, the only other language I can sort of understand) , he just spoke with his smile.
I did not have to prove myself to him. He was one of the few who was not obsessively questioning what I ended up doing in life. He was just happy that I was there. And even with language barricading our intended expressions there was something about the silence that was able to announce it louder. I Love You.
I completely forgot about my previous mission. I realized that just getting to know him in the few words I could understand was the most fulfilling gift. In my head I made him a promise; "The next time I see you Grandpa, I would have learned more Metta so we can be blessed with more conversations."
A Metta word similar to the English words "to show" or "to teach". SIMILAR TRANSLATION NOT DIRECT TRANSLATION.
How to Pronounce: "First, tighten your lips. Clench them into the form of a small circle. You have to quickly change the clenching of your lips on the CH into a swift breath given by the W. Breathe the W out, as if it rides on your exhale. This then makes way for a relaxed AYE (like aayyyee when you hear your favorite song) to be pronounced. It's almost like the AYE has fought to jump through the small passage way of the CH and now has enough room to stretch."
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NA"17 would not have been possible at all if it were not for the amazing team behind NYORH AGWE. Special thanks go's to-
Myesha Evon- Photographer
Elyssa Marie- Hair and Makeup
Angelique Laurin- Model
Londyn Douglas- Stylist
GOD. Thanks for being the OG that you are.
Eveline Ane, Jonathan Agwe, Godlove, Kelvin, our amazing artisan team in Cameroon, and our supporters who donated through our GoFundMe page. Thank you for believing in us and most importantly believing in our cause.