Essays, poems and Stories of an African-American

Monday, 4 February 2019

Public Ideas and Public Policy Crossroads Influencing Success Or Failure Of Protected Sex Practices By Women In Africa


Background:
The nature of the provider-consumer relation of HIV services further translates into claimants and elite groups who influence sexual-reproductive health policies. Three regime contexts were found to influence HIV response. A hindering context goes so much further to provide opportunities for rule of law, enforcement and empower women to report without fear of repercussions. A restrictive context goes on far enough but allows for those with power to buy themselves out of courts and police. Women are not protected from repercussions even if they can report abuses. In a supportive context, abuses go unreported and women are at the mercy of men!

Claimants mobilize, campaign and influence government authority on HIV response. 

Paternalistic, coercive and occasionally manipulative roles of the elites keep hegemonic male dominance intact. 

An examination of 4 Sub-Saharan African countries finds that the interests of claimants have marginal impact on who decides whether or not to uphold protected sex practices among spouses. 

These practices vary due to public ideas on what is deemed desirable by those wielding political and economical power. 

Public ideas are based on culture, emotions, feelings, mentality and passions that extend into non political realms and belief systems on image of the male, marriage, family life, consent, fecundity, fertility-lores, child raising and sexual practices.

Literature dating as far back as 2006-2017 on consensual sex practices, news articles, police reports, criminalization of non-consensual sex, SRH counselling needs and services in Namibia, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda was gathered, analyzed and processed into this blog. 152 publications were examined but 40 met inclusion eligibility.

Results:
Protected sex practices depend on significant political backing and enforcement of legal gender equality; facilitating knowledge and skills; religious and traditional beliefs into role equity and change. Namibia and Kenya have hindering regimes addressing abuses, fostering legitimate, collective, respectful regard for females and males. State sponsored social services encourage equitable access (role equity). Although, sexual consent reflects more male dominance. 

Uganda has a restrictive context with loopholes in ensuring legal, equal gender rights exploited by both sexes/genders with financial means. 

In South Africa, the supportive context for abuses fosters political, religious and traditional factors demeaning the status of women. Women negotiate for safer sex, but this is seen as emasculating men. This is circumscribed as a threat to male dominance, giving in to women and shift of power from males (role change).

Conclusions:
Safer and protected sex breaks the HIV transmission cycle. However, public ideas on safer or protected sex are tolerant where role equity is promoted. But, repressive where males feel threatened. Role change fears are cited in restrictive and hindering countries. Fear of courts or police cases are a motivator to uphold dignity in supportive countries. Further studies are called for into how precarious hegemonic masculinity and negative stereotypes impact HIV Programming.





















Source: Google

Sunday, 20 January 2019

A Comparison of Western World And African Essays and Fables; Brown, Black And White People Have Common Storytelling Skills


Stories seem to have a life of their own. But what is that which is life giving? Eight aspects bring stories to life in all essays and fables written or told in the West and in Africa and these are: Situation; story piece; truthfulness; necessity; kindness; meaningfulness;  memorableness;  and moral-boundedness.

By situation is meant the fact that a story is built around context, circumstance and plot.

By story piece is meant the fact that a narrative is the emotional experience that the writer or story teller builds and animates in form of action, sensation, information, progression and insight.

Truth(fulness) is the crystallization of the story and how the story portrays the characters.

By necessary is meant the fact that the story is entertaining, addresses an issues and satisfies a curiosity.

By kind(ness) is meant that it contributes something to humanity.

By meaningful(ness) is meant the fact that the story has substance.

By memorable(ness) is meant the fact that the story is relatable.

By moral-bounded(ness) is meant the fact that the story has lessons it passes on.

See if you can find one or eight of the aspects in the lines below:

“I am trying to make, before I get through, a picture of the whole world-or as much of it as I have seen. Boiling it down always, rather than spreading it out thin.”

What writing is and does
By Ernest Hemingway
to Mrs. Paul Pfeiffer, 1933 Selected Letters , p.397

“All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was.”

By-line: Ernest Hemingway, p.184

“In truly good writing no matter how many times you read it you do not know how it is done. That is because there is a mystery in all great writing and that mystery does not dis-sect out. It continues and it is always valid. Each time you re-read you see or learn something new.”

What to write about
By Ernest Hemingway
to Harvey Breit, 1952
Selected Letters, p.770

“The good parts of a book may be only something a writer is lucky enough to overhear or it may be the wreck of his whole damn life-and one is as good as the other.”

What to write about
By Ernest Hemingway
to Scott Fitzgerald, 1929
Selected Letters, p. 305

“Dostoevsky was made by being sent to Siberia. Writers are forged in injustice and a sword is forged.”

What to write about
By Ernest Hemingway
Green Hills of Africa, p.71

“…civil war is the best war for a writer, the most complete. Stendhal had seen a war and Napoleon taught him to write. He was teaching everybody then; but no one else learned.”

What to write about
By Ernest Hemingway
Green Hills of Africa, p.71

“Madame, all stories, if continued far enough, end in death and he is no true-story teller who would keep that from you.”

What to write about
By Ernest Hemingway
Death in the Afternoon, p.122

In “If” the situation is  Dr. Leander Jameson Starr’s activities in colonial Africa. The story pays tribute to his courage and dignity and critiques the cowardice of the colonialist authorities.

The situation and story
Rudyard Kipling’s
“If” 
1910
A Poem

In the “Elephant’s Child,” the situation is the young African elephant and the story is about this elephant’s curiosity about other animals and things.

“ In the High and Far-Off Times the Elephant, O Best Beloved, had no trunk. He had only a blackish, bulgy nose, as big as a boot, that he could wriggle about from side to side; but he couldn’t pick up things with it. But there was one Elephant—a new Elephant—an Elephant’s Child—who was full of ‘satiable curiosity, and that means he asked ever so many questions. And he lived in Africa, and he filled all Africa with his ‘satiable curiosities…”

The situation and story
Rudyard Kipling’s
"The Elephant’s Child”
1902
Just So Stories 

In the “The Elephant's Child (poem)” the poem captures three aspects and those are: meaningful, memorable and moral-bound.

“I Keep six honest serving-men:
(They taught me all I knew)
Their names are What and Where and When
And How and Why and Who……”

The situation and story
Rudyard Kipling’s
"The Elephant’s Child (poem)”
1902
Just So Stories 

In Aeschylus’ "Agamemnon", one gets to know about the experiences around the return of King Agamemnon. 

“So a man once raised a lion cub
in his own home. The beast 
lacked milk but craved its mother’s teat.
In early life the cub was
gentle…….
Its fiery eyes fixed on the hands
that fed it, the creature fawned,
a slave to appetite.

But with time the creature grew
and its true nature showed-
the one its parents gave it…”

Aeschylus’ Agamemnon


In "English As She Is Taught", one gets to know about the experiences which are necessary for one to understand what they read as well as being able to read it back correctly. 

“What was to bring Cato to an end?”
She said it was a knife.
“No, my dear, it was not so.”
“My aunt Polly said it was a knife.”
“Why, Aunt Polly’s knife may do, but it was a dagger, my dear.”

English As She Is Taught
The Complete Essays of 
Mark Twain
By Charles Neider
2000 

In Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” the reader is introduced to the experiences of Colonial Nigeria

 “……He sprang to his feet as soon as he saw who it was. He confronted the head messenger, trembling with hate, unable to utter a word. The man was fearless and stood his ground, his four men lined up behind him…..”

Things Fall Apart
Chapter 24, paragraph 35
By Chinua Achebe, 1959 



In the “King’s Impossible Request  a fable from Africa we meet Walukaga the iron-worker wisely indulging the King who had made an impossible request.

“I request you to make an animate being out of one of your metallic human statues,” demanded the King.
“Yes your majesty,” replied Walukaga.
“My King, I wish to make a request in return,” begged Walukaga, as the King was about to leave.
“What..”? Asked the King.
“In order for me to make a living metal statue, the oracles demand that the requester collects 100,000 gourds of tears, 100,000 bales of eye-lashes and 100,000 gourds of milk,” demanded Walukaga……

Walukaga the Iron-Worker
Fables From Africa


From the above, one finds that all the eight aspects feature in all essays and fables written or told in the West and in Africa. 

In the excerpts one is captivated by all or one of the following: 
Situation; story piece; truthfulness; necessity; kindness; meaningfulness;  memorableness;  and moral-boundedness. This is what makes a story have a life of its own!






Source:Google




Saturday, 29 December 2018

Rolling Back On Birth Control Discriminates Against Women And The Institution Of Child-bearing; Lessons From USA


When it comes to birth control, women who are the primary beneficiaries and when it is rolled back, they suffer most. The Trump administration’s Health and Human Services (HHS) Division has expanded exemptions to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirement that employers’ health care plans provide no coverage for no-cost birth control. In doing this, they have singled out a women’s health benefit. The administration stated that requiring insurance plans to cover birth control imposes a substantial burden to the free exercise of religion guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, and could promote risky sexual behavior among adolescents.

The list of no-cost birth control contains such options like: combined pill; contraception implant; contraception after having baby; contraception injection; contraception patch; contraception vaginal ring; diaphragm and caps; Long acting reversible contraception; Progestogen-only pill; sterilization; and Natural family planning. According to the list about three options can be used by men but the rest are used by women. Rolling back the birth control coverage is an attack on women, their families and an affront to working couples. The Obama-era Affordable Care Act made contraception an essential standard of care under women’s preventive health care. It was covered under most insurance plans, along with prenatal care, breast exams and well-woman visits. The birth control mandate compelled for-profit employers to cover the full range of contraceptives, including the pill, the intrauterine device and the Plan B morning-after pill, at no out-of-pocket cost to women. Exemptions for churches and nonprofit religious organizations were made. Now, the Trump Administration is making it much broader to allow any boss to object to the coverage. 

It is a set back on the quality sexual and reproductive health and leaves women without access to contraception. The demographics show that this will affect many homes. More than 55 million women currently have access to free birth control according to data compiled under the Obama administration. The new rules would also affect hundreds of thousands of women.  According to the National Health Statistics reports there are more numbers of women of childbearing age 15-44 years living under marital or cohabiting status. Many of these opted for contraceptions but also have a strong desire to have children. This reflects the needs of women embedded in a milieu promising better and quality life. During the Obama-era Birth control options, enabled employers to offer women health care coverage that met their medical needs. There are several advantages society benefits from having women have Birth control and these are:

Birth control creates an opportunity to have a child when parents are ready. Both the mother  and father are able to engage in all necessary preparations culminating in child-bearing. Through counselling and assessment the following services can be made available: birth control; abortion; men’s sexual health; early pregnancy services; and gynecologic services including routine well woman care, breast exam, pap smear, health screening, colposcopy, screening, HPV vaccination, treatment of sexually transmitted, vaginal, and urinary tract infections.

Birth control is a knowledge platform where information and support on sexual reproductive health for both females and males men is exchanged. It enables sexually active persons to receive tailored, planned  information, communication, education and other necessary interventions from trained or specialized health providers.

Birth control unlocks possibilities for beneficiaries to participate in planned births, antenatal and post natal care. This may include all birth control options and attendant medical services for adults as well as teens.

Birth control ensures both parents have access to services promoting family based sexual health. Parents are able to receive services which impact positively on how they look after themselves and their children. The health knowledge of both parents is increased since they can access health improving information.

Birth control increases the number of opportunities sexual reproductive health as an issues is brought up at work and at households. This improves decision making and forms positive attitude toward paternal, maternal and child health outcomes. The decisions may range from proper use of paternity and maternity leaves, planned recreation, bonding, nutritional health to overall safety of the home.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Obamacare contraception mandate of August 2012 made contraception free to many American women, with the share of women spending any out-of-pocket costs on oral contraception plunging from 20.9% in 2012 to 3% in 2015. The out-of-pocket money was then made available to purchase other commodities in the market that promoted quality life. 

Birth control is a benefit that gave working women an opportunity to lead more thriving quality live needs challenging. Erasing it out deprives them of that one crucial key to quality well-being. Birth control in the hands of women improves on the quality of households which in turn improves the quality of a nation. Men should not assault women. That is worse enough. But, using law to attack the dignity of womanhood is the worst they face now.



Source; UNAIDS & Google

Women's Health: A shift towards the well whole woman; Lessons From USA


Women's health, as a theme, is a single factor that interests me. If our mothers are healthy, we would have a quality motherhood and a wealthy nation. The social, economic, environmental, and cultural factors in which women are able to negotiate, access, demand and provide health should be the policy within which health providers address the full physical and mental health of women. The expected benefits are drawn from strategies by governments to influence public health. The strategy is " to directly provide programs and services that are designed to meet the health needs of populations, (Turnock, B.J., 2016).”

Source: Google


Women who are healthy, are able to engage in fruitful activities, acquire education and qualifications to enable them occupy positions of influence. Such people occupy high positions in the major institutions such as: media, law, computer, education, engineering, health, foundations, non-governmental, banking, business and government. "They allocate values for our society and shape the lives of all Americans. They participate in decisions that allocate value for society. They determine what has to be taught, 'news,' products to sell and the trendy fashions, (Dye and Ziegler, 2006).”

Women's physical and mental health can be the goal once these problems below are positively addressed (Fogel, C.I. 1994):

1. The status of women as far as salary, dual roles, politics, business, law and physical abuse go.

2. Women's health and labor force.

3. Women in social movement building.

4. Self-actualization.

5. Women in control of their own bodies.

6. Women health outside reproductive health, obstetrics and gynecology

7. Violence against women

8. sexual dysfunction, pregnancy and the gynecologic triad

9. Mental disorders in women.

10. Interventions addressing women related issues such as: teenage pregnancy, displaced homemakers, battered women, the aged, women offenders.

Addressing the above issues makes them a public matter. Women, in turn, will be allocated their fair share of collective burdens and benefits. The social benefits would be a quality long life for women, happiness, income and status.

REFERENCES:
Dye T. R. and Ziegler H. (2006) The Irony Of Democracy. Belmont, CA. Thomson Wadsworth

Fogel, C.I. (1994). women’s Healthcare. Sage Publications

Turnock, B.J. (2016). Essentials of Public Health (3rd ed.). Burlington, MA. Jones and Bartlett.

Photo: UNiTE in Africa/Mellatra Tamrat

The Written Word And Song are Ways Women Voice Their Roles As A Force Of Social Change


 Life is a series of timelines in which women and men have strived to cause an improvement and transformation of the standard of living and dignity of women and therefore that of humans. 

Literature and music have been used as vehicles through which calls for social change have been shared. Social change is a deliberate process of creating and applying ideas, strategies, and actions to promote the worth, dignity, and development of individuals, communities, organizations, institutions, cultures, and societies (class.waldenu.edu). 

My understanding of social change is when institutionalizing mechanisms allow people in society to be seen as stakeholders in community development. What stands out more for me is; participation by both women and men in development.  

Eve Ensler is a twenty-first century writer and in her book “In the body of the world” she points out the useful outcomes resulting from women empowerment . She mentions the “city of joy that follows the decision to involve women and a life force full of grace, gratitude, fierceness and readiness that replaces trauma and pain with safety, healing and a gathering of strength,” (Ensler, E. (2013). The Seneca falls declaration of 1848 is a nineteenth century document in which women spelt out “secure equal participation with men in the various trades, professions and commerce,” (Stanton, E. C., & Mott, L. (1848)).   Listening to the song “We are family” one can’t help but realize the benefits of  women empowerment. The lyrics replace  male supremacy with family. The traits of supposition of the supremacy of man, e.g., monopoly, apathy, repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her are addressed by showing instead how family can bring about fuller dignity and human potential when the women is allowed to assume an equal position. The two examples from literature by two women and the song “We are family” by sister Sledge use the centrality of women as a force of social change for society. 

The song uses three words which are “we are family.” It is a strong statement by female singers and the accompanying lyrics are simple to follow. As a sing along song it takes one on a descriptive path showcasing the good outcomes of working as a family. The song which is delivered in third person plural has a main theme around a family. This is also a setting providing the bedrock on which sense of worth, pride, unity, sharing, dignity, expression, contribution and happiness are rooted firmly. The lyrics are simple and are a sing along type that a listener can identify with. The three lines of the chorus: “we are a family, I got all my sisters with me, we are a family, get up everybody and sing,” attract immediate attention and listenership. The first three lines in the first verse “everyone can see we're together; as we walk on by; (FLY!) and we fly just like birds of a feather,” suggest a bold testament followed by an affirmation of togetherness and resolve when the singers say with an unapologetic taunt which is both ironic and a climax:  “I won't tell no lie; (ALL!) all of the people around us they say; can they be that close; just let me state for the record; we’re giving love in a family dose.”

 The song is a plot outlining such values like dignity, expression, contribution and happiness. It shows how easy it is for women to ensure dignity by presenting their ideas in a manner that is appealing; it is a means of expression that entertains and informs at the same time; and through the song, the singers have used music to rally many people. The lines in the second verse are motivational and go like this:  “Living life is fun and we've just begun; To get our share of the world's delights; (HIGH!) high hopes we have for the future; and our goal's in sight; (WE!) no we don't get depressed; here’s what we call our golden rule; Have faith in you and the things you do;You won't go wrong.”

          The chorus is repeated six times in the song and this emphasizes the central position of the word family. In the chorus the four lines are used by the singers to mobilize society and point them towards the ideals of a family in which the woman and man play mutually necessary roles: “we are family;I got all my sisters with me;we are family;get up everybody and sing.” The song was written by sister Sledge a group of sisters and it insists on values such as unity which is also a mainstay in the literature by Ensler, Stanton and Mott. The song continues to take the conversation on the roles of women in making a thriving community further.

            Life is a force full of grace, gratitude, safety, healing, dignity, expression, unity and happiness. These are redeeming qualities, that are emphasized in the two literature pieces and the song.  These galvanize a reader or listener to advocate for women emancipation too.


References:


Ensler, E. (2013). In the body of the world [PDF]. New York, NY: Henry Holt & Company. Retrieved from http://inthebodyoftheworld.com/pdf/EveEnsler-InTheBodyOfTheWorld-Excerpt.pdf.

Stanton, E. C., & Mott, L. (1848). Seneca Falls Declaration. Champaign, Ill: Project Gutenberg. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases. Retrieved on march 1st 2016.



Photo: UN Women/Bruno Demeocq


Thursday, 3 August 2017

Dear, respectfully, Mr. President Donald J. Trump Jr.

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue


Dear, respectfully, Mr. President Donald J. Trump Jr.


I am writing to you with joy but at the same time hopeful that this short letter will reach you.

In 2003, I was part of a team that mobilized people in what was a rural county (now Bukomansimbi District) in Uganda with a population of about 70,000 to witness the first PEPFAR grant disbursement. At long last, about 800 people would be assured of ARVs. I still hear from those people. Many are still alive up to today thanks to PEPFAR.

Mr. President, please continue with the support that America is contributing to the Global Fund mechanism. PEPFAR is flexible and the ease with which it can address the HIV-related needs has empowered communities to be resilient in the face of AIDS. I want to restrict myself to Africa.

Mr. President if the $ 4.3 billion the U.S. will contribute is instead withdrawn, there is a cascade of broken systems that will follow. PEPFAR filled up the extended family support void which was affected when able-bodied kin and kith died of AIDS in Africa. PEPFAR facilitated the presence of a conduit of prevention knowledge and skills. Communities developed the critical HIV care and advocacy competencies which are the major barricade through which TB and MDR TB will find a hard time breaching. Not to mention, additional HIV infection and AIDS-related deaths.

Mr. President I am, with the utmost humility, asking you please to provide the funds that the U.S. government committed to PEPFAR. 

I look forward to hearing positively from you. I do follow you as one of your Tweeter fans. Actually I got to know  you the year you hosted President Gaddafi of Libya in New York.

I am wishing you all the best, you are our president.

Sincerely,


Tom R. Muyunga-Mukasa

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

67 Important Fuller Quality Life Milestones/Keys You Can Have In Your Life Besides Thinking Of Suicide

This tool seeks to provide focus on Holistic Life; HIV; and Heterosexuality. I have had so many occasions to reflect on these three aspects. I have provided online counselling and guidance services since 2006 on Holistic Life; HIV; and Heterosexuality. In 2012. I had my first client who was contemplating suicide and this awakened in me a deeper desire to meet and talk to different people who were suffering with questions they could not reveal unless pressed harder. Since then, I have talked with 30 people from Africa who were also contemplating or attempted suicide.  19 of these were going through a troubling phase of self-rejection. They had discovered they were non-heterosexual or to what is said to be non-conforming. In all my work with different people from mentoring youths to moderating self help groups, I realized the idea of building ethos, pathos, logos and shared values is important as one makes self evaluation a life skill. I also noted that the tools or platforms which give direction into contemplative reflection for many of the people I talked to or opportunities to encourage them to read about keys to formation and development are in an inaccessible format. In helping them adhere to coping and adjusting, I noted there were other adjustment barriers. I tried my level best to help but was limited by time constraints and other logistics. All cases were facing a sexuality crisis. I did refer all of them for further management. I did send money to some for transport as well as refreshments. The 19 admitted to being asked to undergo religious healing or some form of conversion therapy because of their sexuality issues. I developed this tool to fill a knowledge gap and I called it the Milestone analysis. I have used it for many of my online counselling themes and found it was adaptable to many situations. The materials I used are from a number of sources including the frequently asked questions from my clients. This tool provides sequenced cues to be used to contemplate about and appreciate life. Contemplating life enables one be able to apply Band-Aid when it is needed in a timely manner. The materials are also an adaptation of  what other Growth, Development and Motivation psychologists have used to help empower their clients employ Band-Aid.  Life is an incredibly beautiful and special experience. My premise is that life has many other domains  and some examples are: orientation; attitudes; belief systems; gender; identity; Social and Emotional Development; Curiosities and approaches to Learning; Language, Literacy and Numeracy; Cognition, General Knowledge and Spatial abilities; The Arts; culturally determined norms; Physical Development and Health. There are those who are born, are able to grow and conform to the two aspects that are based on physical and biological statuses e.g.  having all limbs, eyes, lips and intact organs; having what are considered normal body parts; ability to go through growth milestones; having an ability to follow instructions; and to perform tasks according to age. There are those who are born, are able to grow as non-conforming to one or both statuses. There are those who are born, are able to grow and engage in heterosexual relations. There are those who are born, are able to grow and engage in non-heterosexual relations. There is no doubt our bodies are defined by biology and continue to be refined by cultural ideology under the presumption that one’s socialization will influence one’s sexuality which in turn will be actualized as heterosexual. But sometimes, it is not the case. Non heterosexual eroticism is abhorred in the strongest terms possible including many countries enacting Penal codes punishing relations other than heterosexual ones. Structures for guidance, which include socialization, are cast around promoting heterosexuality buttressed by a legislation that is said to be conforming to natural laws and organized religion. Anything out of these boundaries have simply been made anathema and an abomination. Heterosexuality has become a concept against which people measure experiences in their lives. The 19 cases contemplated suicide once they found out they were non-conforming to a heterosexual normativity. This tool brings you 67 gentle reminders that there are plenty of amazing things out there for you to experience other than, or in addition to, suicide.

1. Critical Thinking:  Stop and think about what is going on in your life. The action you are about to take should be measured along three planes: Is it going to affect how you subsist? Is it going to harm your relations? Is it going to affect you in that your turnaround may be a long way away? Be principled, if you commit and show up.

2. Keeping a Journal: Keep track of your activities. Take time to read back to yourself. Learn to laugh at yourself, to smile at the happy things and to brood over the mistakes you made. This means you are taking your life back and owning it. Richard Bronson is one of the people I admire. I remember reading a story in which he shared his pre-investment practice i.e., making a to-do-list and keeping journals.

3. Find time to think about your friends: There are friends who cannot come to your aid. These are  the ones who remind you of your vulnerabilities. There are friends who will come when you are need. Not only are they friends indeed, but they remind you that we need each other. Both types of friends should remind you of one common thing. You still own your space, so at the end of the day you are responsible to making your life more fulfilled. 

4. Learn and polish a skill: Actually learn four skills so well and these are: the ability to talk yourself out of trouble; the ability to work to earn money; and the ability to do something other than that which makes you earning money but is equally fulfilling; and lastly, find time to transfer your knowledge to another or others. It will enable you create so many others like you. And the law of love is based on this.

5. Share three things:  food, shelter and money to other people or causes that are in dire need.

6. Become your own hermit: Dedicate time every day to go through a deprivation wilderness. If it is that extra phone, avoid it. If it is that extra spoon of sugar, avoid it. Journey into yourself and clear a space where you can meet the natural sensations. Appreciate that moment. You are in the hands of of God then.

7. The next best thing if you are not in good terms with your parents: If you are in good terms with your parents ask them to stay in bed and you make breakfast. If possible run their bath up to a point. If you are not in good terms with them, go out and whisper to a rock or tree words of love.  Love something. 

8. Walk to animal shelter: Okay! First and foremost learn to care for animals.  Not just the domesticated ones but even the wild ones. Look after the environment and the animal habitat will be intact. 

9. Surprise a friend: Most especially your ex! Send a card that begins “On this day, we……..” But, first ask the ex two days earlier as well as your present partner about it.  In other words learn to be considerate in any decision you make when you are in a relation. Relations do not only thrive because of love but because of fidelity too.

10. Show up even if you feel you are not so competent:  You have been asked to be part of a team and you committed to attend. Don’t disappoint them at the last minute. If you do make amends. Otherwise, you may miss being in company of angels.

11. Define and refine your comfort zones: Three things mark this and the first being taking chastisement hands down; learning from your mistakes; and go more paces to meet people you barely know anyone.

12. Pay back your debts: Make it a practice to pay your debts. It is gratifying and makes you more charitable.  

13.  Character building: Remember, the choices you make, be it  your looks,  to the things you do and the people you surround yourself with matter when you are building or maintaining your character.

14. Watch your weight: Then you will have healthy heart and powerful limbs. This will put you on a path to a healthier quality life.

15. Make it a habit to have regular medical check ups:  it is a major problem in your life without which you are just reckless. Like driving beyond the speed limit. 

16. Your physical appearance may need some change: You will be more yourself when you align your inner self with the out one. It could be a major haircut, a piercing, a tattoo, a hair color change, a wardrobe, a watch, sunglasses or shoes.

17. Rudeness comes in many forms: Self-harm is a form of self-inflicted rudeness. Rudeness on the whole, reveals yo are scared to make painful changes in your life. Then there is rudeness from others. Do not react with rudeness otherwise both of you may be thought of as fools.

18. Have self help plans: These are work plans capturing all forms of work or activity; Yearly plans; Maintenance plans; going back to school plans; car maintenance job plan; and a health plan.

19. Learn to work for fun: Explore ways to work not because the sole goal is earning money but add another reason. Explore ways to make your company engage in a social corporate activity and ask if you can manage it. Allow a certain change in routine.

20. Jog every evening:  In other words establish a body workout routine. It may not necessarily be jogging. it can be walking or engaging in community clean up activities. 

21. Go for holidays: Holidays rejuvenate and make one renewed. You do not have to go to expensive venues for it to be a holiday. 

22. Save money out of practice: Saving money comes in handy when one hits a snag or has to pay for an emergency.  

23. Have some five chores you do by yourself: It may be cleaning your house; car-detailing; beautifying your compound; meeting and doing volunteer work at your place of worship; and joining a choir.

24. The corner grocery:  Take time to make friends with the retailer who runs that corner grocery that you pass by before getting to your home. You may get intelligence that your Landlady brought the long awaited new front door.

25. Support groups: You need friends who are not drink-buddies but just animators as far as your psychosocial life is concerned. You don't want to be bored when you go to relax by the lakeside.

26. Exchange gifts: Get into the habit of buying  and sharing gifts with friends or work mates.  

27. Developing a Value and Belief System: This will help you understand the issues going on around in your life. This also affirms many of your beliefs as well as acting as a litmus enabling you to know where you are standing. 

28. Get into the habit of reading: Reading opens up one’s mind, view and interpretation of life. It also enables one gain competence in dealing or communicating with people from other cultures especially if the books have social-cultural themes. 

29. Watch something on TV or Cinema: Go out to the parks, zoos and wild animals. Watch movies and documentaries increases on one’s scope and definition of things and life.  

30. Social Support Groups:  Join or form a social support group. Take time and make it formal. These days we have social media platforms such as: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Whatsapp groups and online Listserv. Make an effort to have a presence somewhere in society. 

31.  A Treat: Many Psychologists advise that we need to treat ourselves to something memorable. Giving yourself time is a form of maturity, spend your hard-earned money on once in a while, on things like super soft bedsheets, or a massage, or a really delicious bottle of wine or invite people over for dinner to a meal you cooked by yourself.

32. Look at your receipts after shopping: This will enable you find out what you are missing. You could have made that long shopping list and thought you had purchased everything. Nothing wrong with double checking. It adds to the fun of shopping. 

33. Telling someone you love them: You must have opportunities to tell someone you love them without knowing for sure whether they love you back.

34. Celebrate Your Milestones: Think back a minute back. Okay 3 years back. There are people you make happy, there are people you showed care, it could be you provided opportunities for others time and was responsive to their needs. Celebrate the milestones one milestone at a time.  

35. Time you spend online: News updates, memes and all other aspects of life one experiences via our phones or tablets is immense. No wonder you try to catch up but still this new app or updates from a famous social media platform keep coming. No wonder, you miss your next stop. Anyway, find ways to limit your attachment to a phone.  It will release time for other things that need to be done. 

36. Find out which games you are good at:  Wait! It can either be participating as a player, spectator or sponsor. Be part of games around you. It will polish your sociable attributes and offer an opportunity to gauge how to take losses and how you share victorious moments. 

37. Pilgrimages and Tours: Travel to place, a city, a spiritual retreat or make a pilgrimage. Explore places, you will find vast troves of interesting things and places that will become part of your conversations. You are bound to be a very sought after person by those who want to listen to your conversations.

38. Admit when you are wrong: Learn to admit your mistakes, learn to say sorry, learn to say thank you.  These three are the very oil of admiration people will have about you. 

39. Smile you are always on camera: Take every opportunity to engage yourself happily, that way you will not be a bag of stress and depression. A smile attracts the right people to you.  

40. Keep Being Yourself: Evgeniy Sen in a paper he published in 2015, titled “It's never too late to become independent” shows it is important for one to always keep being oneself  while working hard on  ideas, despite the stuff on may be busy with now including any troubles one could be facing or number of years in one’s passport. 

42.  Explore opportunities to have your assets: This may be a watch, a phone, silverware or even signing a lease for an house or apartment that’s completely yours – no parents, no siblings, no roommates, no boyfriend or girlfriend, just you. It doesn’t matter  how small what is yours will be. The issue is you have the ability to own property.

43. Fav Radio Stations: Make a list of radio stations. This will enable you be abreast of current affairs and other facts of life. 

44. Your Conscience is part of what you do: Your claim that your friends are not loyal to you. But, remember out of sight is not out of mind. Friendship should not be measured only by physical presence but remember they may be thinking about you too. How many times do you think about your friends?

45. Experience the leaves that make up the tree of life: Imagine a bowl of richly flavored soup where onions are mixed with tomatoes, carrots and other ingredients. That is how life should be viewed. One item at a time. Work is an experience which is part of life. So is education, sports, personal grooming and other life preserving practices. 

44. Maturity: You want to be considered a mature person or at least put your self along the path to maturity. Begin by being organized, then follow up on all other commitments you have got your self into.  

45. Adolescents and young people programmatic areas: Read about your age group, get to know the needs and resources that address those needs. The International AIDS Alliance urges young people to lead and participate in the global HIV response, ensuring it is shaped by the realities of their lives.

46. Community Leadership: A Be part of your community activities. It may turn to be your opportunity to vie for a political position and get to influence issues.

47. Drug use: According to Katherine M. Keyes an associate professor of epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, stress and depression are drivers of drug-use among many people including younger people. Particular attention is given to psychiatric disorders, adult health, long-term outcomes of adverse environments, and effects oF substance use, mental health, and chronic disease. 

48. HIV in the Sustainable Development Goals: You should acquaint yourself with the Sustainable Development Goals. Be part of groups, communities and networks calling for a strong HIV target in the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

49. Human rights: Your full membership, meaningful participation and meaningful inclusion in all matters of society at home, at work and in every community is important and influences your own growth and development. Simply put, you are actualizing your human rights.

50. Preventing HIV: Statistics show that in one day more than 5,600 people contract HIV. Preventing new infections is key to end AIDS. Are you part of efforts to prevent new infections? What do you do to avoid getting or re-infecting others with HIV?

51. Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: Poor sexual reproductive health and HIV infection share many root causes in poverty, gender inequality, stigma and cultural norms. You should endeavour to be part of efforts to increase optimal access to sexual reproductive health and HIV care services.

52. TB: TB is the most common cause of death for people living with HIV, yet with the right intervention is a curable disease.

53. HIV Treatment: Scientific developments and the scale up of effective programs have meant that AIDS-related deaths and new HIV infection rates can be brought down. but, this requires your participation and disclosure. 

54. Love: The things and people you love say so much about how committed you are to making life bearable, how you love and value life, things and people. 

55. Treatment: Scientific developments and the scale up of effective programs have meant that AIDS-related deaths and new HIV infection rates are falling.

56. Manage Your Depression Causes: Studies by Alex S. Keuroghlian, MD, MPH, show there is a higher prevalence of depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, and suicide attempts among LGBT people compared with the general population. In addition, LGBT people often have unique combined physical and behavioral health needs, including those of transgender people undergoing gender affirmation and special considerations for people living with HIV AIDS.

57. Explore Underlying Domestic Violence: According to Cara Presley, LICSW, LGBT people experience domestic violence at least as commonly as heterosexual women, contradicting common misperceptions that men cannot be victims of abuse, and women cannot perpetrate abuse.

58. The Word Steady: Your job should be steady; your home must be a place where you have steady sustenance. It must a space where you are sure of food, warmth and a roof over your head. Have and commit to steady things.

59. The 6 C’s : The founders of Black Links advise that adopting standards in one’s life is a good practice and leads to winning. Such practices one can maintain at a basic level  included:  keeping time; cleanliness; hygiene; a reading culture and a steady job. They go further to write that these practices can leverage being in control; encourage commitment; provide basis for establishment of a culture of falling into patterns; enable one to continuously improve on themselves; they make it is to adopt habits that instill cooperation; and promote consumer-care focus practices.

60. The Word Steady: Your job should be steady; your home must be a place where you have steady sustenance. It must a space where you are sure of food, warmth and a roof over your head. Have and commit to steady things.

61. Creativity: Evgeniy Sen, in his 2015 paper titled: “It’s never too late to become independent”, points out 31 ways to be creative because he insists we still remain creative until we die and that age should not stop one from learning a new skills.

62. Success should bring you closer to people: Success breeds independence but independence should not make one isolate themselves or be selfish. Always remember while you were achieving success it could not have been your singular work or effort. So, stay close to people irrespective of your success levels. 

63. Understanding Infancy: I looked through Alan Tait, a practitioner in Milestone Approach and the Virginia’s Alignment Project and learnt some tricks. You may be wondering why I have provided Infancy as part of a cue. You are aware on one remembers things clearly before their first birthday. Now, you do contribute to your community’s efforts to look after children. It takes a village, therefore contribute to the well-being of babies.

64. Understanding Childhood: Contribute to efforts that help children from 12 months to 111 months later! Yes, 9 years and 3 months!  After being an infant for 12 months we become a child for 9 years and 3 months. As a kid we are learning about ourselves, coming to terms with ourselves, simply growing and learning the basics of what we will need in our future life. At age 10 years and 3 months we pass the First Milestone.


65. Understanding Adolescence: It helps to understand that this is the time when a child is most actively learning. They are gaining knowledge they will need later. Likewise their body is sprouting from a child to an adult. Within a couple months to a few years, boys voices will drop. Girls will begin their period. At age 19 years and 6 months old, we pass The Second Milestone.

66. Young Adults: Alan Tait emphasizes the need for being accountable and he points out the Seven Milestones as guides to help one mark their phases. The milestones are a way of accounting for the number of months or years one has lived. He gives the ages at which one will pass each of the Seven Milestones of Life.
10 Years 3 Months = 1st Milestone of Life
19 Years 6 Months = 2nd Milestone of Life
28 Years 9 Months = 3rd Milestone of Life
38 Years 0 Months = 4th Milestone of Life
47 Years 3 Months = 5th Milestone of Life
56 Years 6 Months = 6th Milestone of Life
65 Years 9 Months = 7th Milestone of Life

67. Suicide and Suicide Risk: Studies by Ann P. Haas PhD et al, into suicide and suicide risk in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Populations show that there are different factors a counsellor needs to put into perspective if they are to help. A non-heterosexual normativity faces a hard time within the institutions of Heterosexual normativity. Socialization is affected: emotional; social; cultural; and intellectual growth and development are affected. The way people achieve different keys or milestones are affected. A counsellor needs to have all this in mind if they are to help a person contemplating suicide, especially if they are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Persons. 



References:
AGENDA 2030: http://msmgf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Agenda-2030-for-LGBTI-Health_July-2017.pdf

Alan Tait, is a practitioner in Milestone Approach to learning and as a behaviour change tool. He maintains that our lives go through stages. For more: http://alantait.com/2010/08/21/the-seven-milestones-of-life/.
Alex Keuroghlian, MD, MPH, Associate Director of Education and Training, The Fenway Institute. For more see: https://www.lgbthealtheducation.org/lgbt-education/online-courses/continuing-education/?y=171&i=6354.

Ann P. Haas PhD et al. Suicide and Suicide Risk in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Populations: Review and Recommendations. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/citedby/10.1080/00918369.2011.534038?scroll=top&needAccess=true&.



Black Links. Re-position Your Business To Win By Applying the 6C’s of TQM. 
 http://blacklinks.global/blog/re-position-your-business-to-win-by-applying-the-6cs-of-tqm/




Kim Quindlen, is a motivation speaker who highlights and believes in atomizing thought processes and synthesizing appropriate action out of these thoughts. She calls her approach the Milestone Approach. For further consultation see http://thoughtcatalog.com/kim-quindlen/. 

International AIDS Alliance. http://www.aidsalliance.org/our-priorities.

Richard Branson. https://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/my-1972-do-list

Sustainable Development Goals Knowledge Platform: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/.