Nigerians Don’t Get Depressed…oh really?

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The details came out in pieces. First I learned that a young woman in an elite public high school in Manhattan had taken her life. She was a junior (15 or 16 perhaps?) and the inciting incident appeared to have been that a teacher caught her cheating on an exam. The press had vilified the teacher, publishing both her name …

Pamela Brown-PetersideNigerians Don’t Get Depressed…oh really?

“Afraid to Speak, I Learned to Write”

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Pulitzer-prize winning writer Katherine Boo chose these seven words – “Afraid to speak, I learned to write” – to describe herself when she was being introduced at the NY Public Library on Wednesday night. Several writer friends on different occasions mentioned Boo’s book, Beyond the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, which prompted me to finally …

Pamela Brown-Peterside“Afraid to Speak, I Learned to Write”

Remembering Rwanda Differently This Time

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Monday April 7 was the 20th anniversary of the start of the genocide in Rwanda in which 800,000 were killed over a period of just 3 months. I was living in NYC then, and I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t recall the start of this terrible event. It was only in retrospect, when it was all over, and a …

Pamela Brown-PetersideRemembering Rwanda Differently This Time

Toni Cade Bambara: Paying it Back

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This weekend, I had the wonderful pleasure of attending a launch of the latest issue of Black Renaissance Noire (www.nyubrn.org) an artsy literary journal, which the Institute of African-American Affairs @ NYU puts out three times a year. I’d never heard of Black Renaissance Noire, edited by the esteemed writer and poet Quincy Troupe, until my friend Linda was contacted …

Pamela Brown-PetersideToni Cade Bambara: Paying it Back

My Grandfather’s Final Words

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I never had the chance of knowing my Northern Irish grandfather. He died suddenly from a heart attack at age 74 when I was just 2. At the time, my parents were considering a trip to visit he and Granny which never happened. Granny once told me Grandpa had passed away 2 weeks after their 50th wedding anniversary – she …

Pamela Brown-PetersideMy Grandfather’s Final Words

“I didn’t get engaged until I was 76.”

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This trip to Newcastle was quite unexpected and pulled together in just a few days. I’d been wanting to visit Auntie P for some time now, ever since I learned she’d got married for the first time late in life and was now caring for her frail husband. But I couldn’t quite figure out how to get myself to Northern …

Pamela Brown-Peterside“I didn’t get engaged until I was 76.”

New Birth, New Life

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This week I had the privilege of visiting a leader of one of our community groups who’s become a friend. In the last several months, she’s taken a hiatus from her group because she’s become the mother of a sweet little girl called Hannah! Hannah is a miracle birth.  Her parents married later in life and had been trying for …

Pamela Brown-PetersideNew Birth, New Life

Transitions

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As a new year begins, I’ve been reflecting on losses I experienced in 2013. Since I’m getting older – this will be my year of Jubilee, where I celebrate a half-century of life (gulp!) – thoughts of one’s mortality and that of others feature more prominently…. Almost a year ago today, a well-loved, justice-minded, 50-something physician, Brian, went for a …

Pamela Brown-PetersideTransitions

Mandela’s Long Walk

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Tomorrow, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, the Weinstein’s film based on Nelson Mandela’s authorized autobiography opens. For the first time, I along with a few hundred others – including a handful of Redeemer leaders – had the opportunity to attend the film’s premiere on Monday night. Among those who made an appearance on the stage before the start of the …

Pamela Brown-PetersideMandela’s Long Walk

An Unlikley Rescue

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Several days ago, I was in Jos, my hometown, out walking in our neighborhood with my Uncle M around 7 in the morning. As we were circling back toward the house, we approached a woman selling kose (bean cakes) by the roadside. My Uncle offered to buy me some for breakfast. I was delighted – they are a sweet childhood …

Pamela Brown-PetersideAn Unlikley Rescue

The Silence of Geography

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What is it about the culture here that seems to delight in perpetuating the myth that Africa is a monolithic place, rather than a continent of over 50 nations with hundreds of different ethnic groups represented and over a thousand languages spoken? Here are a few recent observations: 1. An update goes out from our church. In describing part of …

Pamela Brown-PetersideThe Silence of Geography

The Lord is in this Place

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This weekend I went up to Hudson, NY for a wedding. A childhood friend of my brother Ian from our home town of Jos was getting married, and Ian flew through 3 continents (Asia, Europe and Africa) to be there (!) Several of Ian’s classmates from our school in Nigeria were there too including the best man whom I’d not …

Pamela Brown-PetersideThe Lord is in this Place

South Sudan Turns One

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Three years ago in early July, before South Sudan was an independent nation, I had the opportunity to visit this vast land. I flew in from Arua in northern Uganda, but before arriving at our destination of Mundri in the state of Western Equatoria, we stopped at Yambio (it’s capital) and Maradi. Unlike what I expected – in my mind …

Pamela Brown-PetersideSouth Sudan Turns One

Kisses from Katie

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In the daily barrage of grim news occurring all over the world from the collapse of the Euro, to the latest drone attack in Pakistan, to the latest plane falling out of the sky, I’ve been needing to be reminded that a single ordinary person can radically change the life of another by giving her life away. If you’re feeling …

Pamela Brown-PetersideKisses from Katie