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Lifestyle

Marcelline Nyambi on running a business, raising confident kids and staying Fabulous

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It was late and the house was packed. She was sitting close to the foot of the staircase as people went up and down the stairs. I can hardly remember what we were celebrating but I remember her. This was about 15 years ago. Even then, there was a youthful vibrancy about her. Her nails caught my eye, they were long with a fun pink polish. I observed as she called over a lovely little girl and began to feed her as only a Mommy would. I looked on a little confused, trying to match up to her fashion fabulosity to motherhood. Thing is, she wasn’t the only fashionista Mommy I had ever encountered. She, however, was one of the few who wore their badge of motherhood with such noticeable ease and grace.

Even now, I look at her in appreciation of the ideal she represents for women struggling to find balance in their lives.

As flawless as she may seem, her load is not light. She wears many badges these days, most notably CEO of The Hampton Conference Center and Hampton Party Supply Rentals, Co-founder of the Vincent Kewala Nyambi Foundation and Co-Chair of Hampton Group Intl to name a few.

She has also been the recipient of numerous awards including the Couple Community Service Award from African Mirror Newspaper, the Humanitarian Service Award from DeeDee Entertainment Awards, the I AM SHE Arise Woman Award from the I AM SHE Women Power Conference and WODESS Woman of the year 2016 International Award.

A parent can receive all kinds of accolades but the one that will be of most value is the reward that is only reflected in the kind of adult their child grows to become.

The badge of Good Parenting is one Marcelline and her husband Jude have every reason to be proud of especially when their 18-year-old daughter is Venessa Nyambi: a Model, Blogger, Social Entrepreneur, International Speaker AND founder of The Generation Africa Campaign (an initiative to empower young Africans living throughout the diaspora and on the continent). Venessa was awarded the National Academy of Future Scientist and Technologist Award of Excellence, The Congressional Youth Leadership Award, and was selected to participate in the President Eisenhower Student Ambassador Program. Venessa graduated in May of 2017 with honors as a member of The National High School Scholars Society.

Marcelline and her daughter Vanessa

So how does this multipurpose woman maintain the balance? How does she keep her children and marriage centered? What wisdom can we take from her journey? We asked and she answered.

Marcelline Nyambi’s Parenting Philosophy

Marcelline Nyambi: I think it’s very important we raise our children to understand that they are a unique expression of source energy expressing. Which means they are infinite beings with infinite potential surrounded by boundless opportunity to make a difference. We have to raise them to understand that they are evolutionary beings in an evolutionary universe and are here for a reason and a purpose. And we have to make them understand that their purpose is to evolve into that which God has called them forth to be. They have to understand that their passion will always lead them to their purpose and finding their purpose will build true confidence and help them cultivate their strength and divine gifts.

Marcelline and her son Kewala

Marcelline Nyambi: Confidence is not just the result of following your passion but is also the result of finding your strength zone and more importantly understanding God’s will in your life. When children understand who and whose they are, they will always be in vibrational alignment with source energy. In essence, we have to raise them to understand that irrespective of their profession or who they are or who they become, their divine purpose is to serve by being the instrument God will use to bring about alignment, attainment, and activation in the lives of others.

How Marcelline Nyambi Balances Work and Kids

Marcelline Nyambi: This is a familiar battle most entrepreneurs face and I am no exception. Entrepreneurship is not that glamorous as some people may think. It entails lots of sacrifice from you and your loved ones. Believe me, it is not easy but I have come to realize that you have to make a conscious decision to manage to keep up with the increased demands of a growing business and a growing family. Besides, family always has to come first. I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without the support of my exceptional husband.

Marcelline and Husband Jude Nyambi

Marcelline Nyambi: Many entrepreneurs try to separate work and family life, but in our household, business talk is never off the table. You don’t walk in the door and the business disappears. I share the details of our business successes and struggles with my family because at the end of the day they are my greatest cheerleaders. When I bring work home such as following up on emails, I always try to do the work after everyone has gone to bed so that I can be present for my kids.

As entrepreneurs sometimes we try to do everything ourselves. I have come to realize that learning to let go is the only way you can be able to balance increased work and life demands. I believe if you build a good business culture and IF you are a good leader, you will be able to maintain balance. A good business doesn’t need you to micromanage every aspect. You can delegate to people who embody and exemplify your vision and mission and that frees up some time to spend with family. Our family makes a habit of Sunday family days when possible and also we schedule family vacation time.

How Marcelline Nyambi Balancing Work and Marriage

If you have met Marcelline and her beau Jude, you will notice that theirs is not only a romance but a friendship. They enjoy being around each other. So what is their secret?

Marcelline Nyambi: Finding that balance between work and marriage is essential to honoring the vows that we made to one another. But believe me, it’s not always that easy. We have found that making a list of the most important things to us: God, our marriage and our children helps us to put things in perspective. We try to dedicate one day a week to each other. We schedule date nights, and mini weekend getaway or a weekday getaway since the nature of our business sometimes requires our attention on weekends. We constantly check on one another and stay in communication throughout the day because we are each other’s support system.

Marcelline and Jude Nyambi

Staying Fit and Fabulous

Marcelline Nyambi: In order to maintain a healthy and fit lifestyle, it’s important to have some sort of consistency when looking at the big picture result. Make changes one at a time, and don’t make too many changes at once or you will risk relapsing into old habits. However what I do is I meditate daily, I try to maintain a consistent daily workout routine, I try to eat healthy by getting as many fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into my diet as possible and drinking lots of water. I also do routine medical checkups and to reduced stress, I try to take breaks and relax as much as I can but I must admit I am a work in progress on this one.

LIFE LESSONS

When we see a woman who has gone through life and attained success, it is only fitting to ask them for a piece of the wisdom they have picked up in their journey.

Marcelline Nyambi’s Wisdom for her kids to remember

Vanessa and Kewala Nyambi

1. To remember that an attitude of gratitude is the key to manifesting and to remember that they are a unique expression of infinite spirit expressing and they are here in this universe for a reason and for a purpose, which is to serve in every capacity and platform.

2. To understand they are not here to acquire worldly things, but instead to release the gifts, the talents that lie within them for God’s glory. And that they are infinite beings with infinite potential destined to reign.

3. To understand that challenges are going to come but those dark moments in their life will only be here to help them evolve and grow into that which God has called them to be.

4. To remember that every circumstance they will consider challenges and every blessing is part of their journey. We never lose in life, we learn, we grow, we win but we never lose. Our experiences are our best teacher.

5. To learn to give, to forgive and be love, light, and peace in this universe because whatever they do to another will always come back to them. I want them to always remember that everything and everyone is energy. We are all one because we all emanate from the same energy source God.

Marcelline Nyambi’s Wisdom for young mothers

1. I have discovered over the years that mothering is very challenging irrespective of the number of kids you have. Mothering isn’t about the big issues but the small lessons we pick up along the way. They are the legacy we pass on to our children. They are the things our children will remember us for, good or bad. That’s why its important to be a good role model.

2. Each child is unique and different with their own unique talent and gifts. Each child has different needs and likes. They are all different in the way they need to be loved, disciplined, and cared for.

3. You will not always know all the answers. There is no blueprint for mothering. Don’t worry about what other people think of you. Don’t compare your life to everyone else’s. Live your life in a way that makes you happy. You know the old saying: “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” It’s true.

4. When your kids are behaving in a way that makes you least want to give them affection and attention that is precisely when they need it the most. Give Hugs and smile and learn to affirm them consistently.

5. Enjoy each stage of your kid’s life. They grow too fast. My kids are becoming more incredible people every day, and I enjoy watching them learn, grow, and become who they are destined to be. Learn to affirm your children every step of the way. I can’t believe my daughter Venessa is attending college in London. It seems like only yesterday she was born.

EDITOR’S NOTE

Interviewing this beautiful and dynamic woman reminded me of the heavy responsibility that lies with women. We have a pivotal role to play in a time when gender norms are challenged and women are becoming more empowered to be in the driver’s seat of their own destinies. However, this also comes with responsibility. We cannot grab on to our freedom and forget to find a balance. We have to make a place for our partners and our children as we rise up to our potential.

The wisdom shared by Marcelline, a beautiful and dynamic woman is one that I believe can benefit us all.

 

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Health & Fitness

Scientists In Tanzania Discovers ‘Invisible’ Malaria Species

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Malaria is one of the greatest threat to health in the tropics. Governments and organizations around the globe are making efforts to curb the spread of malaria. However, it appears there are hidden facts about the parasite. A group of researchers in Tanzania have discovered malaria species that can live for decades in the body without manifesting any clinical signs. However, it still contributes to the transmission of malaria.

According to the study recently published in Malaria Journal, two healthy men still tested positive to Plasmodium malariae. Consequently, it made the scientific community ponder on the possibility that this malaria species can live in the body for a long period of time. The men who hail from Bagamoyo were 20 and 22 years.

The men were part of the research testing the efficacy of a vaccine. To rule out any possibility of disease, the men underwent a battery test. Speaking about the ‘invisible’ malaria species, Dr. Tobias Schindler, the lead investigator from Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute’s Department of Medical Parasitology and Infection Biology in Switzerland said,

“It is not sure if asymptomatic cases of Plasmodium malariae infections ever will develop symptoms…there are cases where people lived for decades with this parasite without any reports of malaria-like symptoms.”

Malaria species in Tanzania

There are five malaria species that affect humans and you will find all of them in Tanzania. However, Plasmodium falciparum is the most common and deadliest in Africa. Majority of malaria deaths in Africa are due to Plasmodium falciparum. The second most common malaria species in Tanzania is Plasmodium vivax. It is believed that this malaria species was imported into the country during the First World War by Indian immigrants. The other three species are Plasmodium knowlesi, Plasmodium ovales and falciparum malariae.

The scientists found Plasmodium malariae was able to live alongside other species of malaria. According to the study, it has been observed in an average of 15 percent of all malaria infection cases. Distinguishing the different species will be difficult with just a microscope. Rather, Schindler said,

“It is important to use new and better technologies such as Polymerase chain reaction (PCR). PCR is an attractive addition to microscopy for confirmatory identification of Plasmodium spp. in clinical specimens, which are better at detecting disease, even when there are very few parasites in blood.”

Challenges to the fight of malaria

Tanzania has made great strides in combating malaria. For example, the incidence of malaria dropped from 18 million to 5.5 million annually between 2008 and 2017. Consequently, this has led to the prevention of 60,000 child deaths annually.

However, there are still lots of challenges that impede the fight against malaria. First, public health centers lack the facility to diagnose and differentiate the malaria species. Majority of the current techniques cannot detect malaria when they are in very low levels in the blood. Secondly, highlands are cooler and uninhabitable for malaria species. However, with global warming, these areas can become breeding grounds for the vectors. Dr. Fredros Okumu, the director for health at Ifakara Health Institute explains,

“Increasing temperatures, however, could transform many of these areas into stable malaria zones.”

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Raising The Bar

Nigerian Teenager Sets New Academic Record

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A Nigerian-born teenager is making waves with her academic achievement. Tobechukwu Phillips, a high school student of Alvin High School smashed a 125-year old academic history of the school. Phillips graduated with a 6.9 GPA after earning A’s throughout her stay.

Miss Phillips’ accomplishment breathes fresh air to the image of Nigeria, a country tainted by corruption. Consequently, she was the first Black valedictorian in the history of the school. Talking about her achievement Philips said,

“Maintaining the highest GPA in my class is a difficult task. It truly takes time management but more importantly acknowledging what you do it for. I know that I am no longer just representing myself.”

A brief history of Alvin High School

Alvin High School opened in 1894. However, it was not until 1965 before African-American students could enroll. Alvin High School was the only high school in Alvin Independent School District (ISD) until 2006 when Manvel High School was established. Besides academics, students of Alvin High School also participate in different sports including basketball, baseball, and football.

Alvin High School serves Liverpool and Alvin as well as unincorporated parts of Brazoria County. According to an online source, the school currently has approximately 2,800 out of which 86 are black students. Tobechukwu Phillips for a long time will be the face of Alvin High School.

What next for Tobechukwu Phillips?

There are other interesting aspects of Tobechukwu Philips worth talking about. She is a Rho Kappa Honor Society, a Sunday school teacher, an AP ambassador, and the president of the National Honor Society. Phillips also has tremendous achievements in volleyball and track events. Jennifer McGraw, Phillips’ track coach describes her as “an excellent student from a loving family”.

Tobechukwu Phillips displays her certificate

Tobechukwu Phillips will attend University of Texas’ Nursing School on full scholarship by Full-Ride Forty Acre Scholarship. There were about 4,000 applicants for the scholarship. However, only 16, including Phillips were selected. She hopes to one day own her own clinic as a pediatric practitioner. In a word of advice to other colored students, Tobechukwu Phillips said,

“My biggest advice to other scholars of color is to truly adopt the mindset of Rosa Parks — ‘No.’ Do not conform to the stereotypes that have held us under thumbs for so long. Do not be discouraged when someone speaks out against you, simply allow what they say to fuel your fire. But more than anything, do not remain tight-lipped. Stand up for what you believe in and take it upon yourself to be the change you’ve always wanted. Say ‘No’ to the ways of the world and stick out.”

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Money Matters

The Njangi: An African Financial Support System

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In tough financial times when banks are failing and the systems we trusted before are no longer reliable; in times when money is scarce and financial responsibility enormous, I reflect on an age-old system of money management that is used to this day. A community-based system that has supported families through tough times, stretched meager incomes allowing parents to educate their children; giving others great opportunities to develop their lives without the total dependence on any banks or major regulatory system.

The Malians, Algerians, Moroccans and several other French-speaking African countries call it “”. Liberians and Ghanaians call it “”. In Nigeria it is known by many names but “ajoh” and “” seem to be widely used. In Cameroon “” and “” carry the same meaning.

The variety of names conveys the diversity of the beautiful African continent, however, the underlying principles that have been handed down many generations to guide this process are not new.

How it works

In Cameroon as in other parts of Africa, the Njangi helps individuals save money. When done as a group it gives access to large amounts of cash loans with little or no hassle. With major institutions having stringent guidelines for borrowers, especially those who may have recently migrated into the United States, njangi, sousou, pari and tontine have stepped in to provide some much-needed financial relief.

Whether it is a group of friends, an alumni association or just a handful of family members, some Africans have historically pooled their resources together to help each other achieve financial dreams. The detailed requirements may differ across countries, ethnic or cultural groups but overall, the process is built on a high level of trust. Njangis also provide an avenue to meet friends or family members, socially.

Take the example of a group of 10 friends who have formed a social group and njangi with a monthly meeting. Every month they each decide to bring in $500. Members could increase their stakes. Two members decide to bring in $1000 each instead of $500. That means there are 12 ‘hands’ of $500 each. The group, therefore, has $6000 at each sitting. In some groups, members may cast ballots to decide the order in which they take home the funds.

In other cultures, the hosting member takes home the funds and hosting rotates to a different member’s home each month. On the day of the meeting, everyone brings in their contributions and the first member takes home a cash packet of $6000. This process will rotate each month for a year to consume the 12 ‘hands’ of the Njangi. Each time a member takes home money, the member is said to have ‘chopped the njangi’. The two members whose contributions are doubled will have two opportunities to take home money. They could negotiate with other members on the collection times. In some larger groups members “chop” or borrow funds on a bi-weekly or even a weekly basis. The Njangi term is consummated when all hands have been chopped and the group can start over.

How it is used

Some groups use Njangis as a support system or investment club. They require members to leave behind a token whenever they collect funds. For instance, instead of taking home $6000 as in our example, each member leaves behind $50 which will be saved in a group account and could be used to invest in a mutual fund, visit a sick or bereaved member or some other purpose.

In some variations of this process, all funds pooled together can be borrowed. Some situations warrant the borrower to present some form of collateral such as a car or a house especially when the stakes are higher. In other cases, one or two members will have to surety a potential borrower. Trust is the dominant factor in groups practicing the Njangi.

Njangi funds have helped Africans achieve the dream of owning a home. They have also been used to pay tuition bills, buy a car or relief an immediate financial crisis. It has helped many Africans save as it creates a level of discipline since the funds are actually a loan and must be repaid.

Some Njangi groups are actually set up for investment purposes. Every time the group meets, they put money down and when a project comes up, they all go into the project as a group. Njangis have helped some African Entrepreneurs thrive and has been the stepping stone to low or no interest borrowing that has propelled many African businessmen and women into much higher gains.

Njangis could be compared to a secure line of credit. It could also be likened to an investment club. There are many Africans in the Diaspora who will laud this process for their financial success today. Njangis have the added benefit of developing deep and lasting relationships while achieving financial growth and independence.

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