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Monday, December 26, 2011

Liberia:Who Was at Fault for Monrovia Riots?

The Liberian capital Monrovia has been experiencing chaos and violence at the hands of angry students. What started less than a month ago as the presidential vacation job scheme for students turned Monrovia into a scene of violence. Government structures, public schools and vehicles were destroyed by angry students.
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf had earlier mandated the Monrovia City Corporation to design a scheme to get some 3,000 students employed under the auspices of a vacation job scheme. A program that was intended for 3,000 students turned out to be a chaotic 20,000 or more student vacation job program that soured the relations between the students and the Liberian government .
The riots are said to have erupted after the students who reportedly worked for around a week or so doing sanitation related works in Monrovia turned out for the promised $35 but could not get their pay in time and thereafter ran out of patience.
Liberian police battling to curb the students' riot.Pic courtest facebook.
Liberian police battling to quell rioting students. Photo courtesy of Earnest Garbleejay Smith Facebook page.
The violence has left so many with hundreds of unaswered of questions regarding the path of national development. Did the future leaders of Liberia behave like decent people with integrity? Nathan Patio Charles lamented:
@NathanPatio: for the second time vocation job students in # Liberia have gone on the rampage in Monrovia , burning gov't and private #cars,
Svaye saw the problem from a spiritual perspective:
@beSassic: Sending prayers to my sweet #Liberia
Samuel Herring weighed on the other side of the coin:
@theboyfromlib: Heard its not really the youth who worked. It those tryna get paid and can't provide identification. #Liberia
Le Patron Vonk quickly diagnosed the problem and recommended a remedy:
The hungry man is an angry man…Pay the students for the job they did…No curfew will solve this problem…blame it on Mary Broh.
Commenting on Le Patron Vonk's observations, Massa Johnson noted:
ur know we liberians are full off corruption.ur hired ppl with out proper id i myself if i was in lib i will be standing on line with my family.
Clarence Pratt wondered why will the students who will eventually get paid want destroy their country:
@Arsenalistical: They going to get pay so why are they overreacting and destroying homes, business and cars. Come on # Liberia

Moses Carter pointed out the source of the problem:
I think the problem here is there was error on the part of the recruitment process.. I see it as done in bogus manner.. many youths managed to squeeze their names on the lists through the printing of their own membership forms.. The Government also made mistake by converging over 10,000 youths at one Center to pay them.. something which became very impossible to have been done in time given the bogus recruitment that they had to verify names before payment which took some considerable time… The youths also failed to exercise patients.. the fact that the Government promised to pay them before the season, they needed to have exercise the wait and see action to see what was going to be the outcome of the process.. but instead they ran too fast out of patience… Hope lessons are learnt for future initiatives…
Th government of Liberia announced last Friday that it would suspend the payments to all beneficiaries of the Christmas vacation job scheme because unscrupulous individuals infiltrated the process and caused damage to public and private properties. Who was at fault? The debate will certainly continue.
Written by Counselor Track

Monday, November 7, 2011

Liberia:Dark Cloud Hangs Over Liberia's November 8th Runoff Elections

As the clock ticks toward Liberia's scheduled November 8th presidential runoff elections,the cloud of doubt and uncertainty seem to be engulfing the process. Despite the fervent call by the Congress for Democratic Change for a boycott, other stake holders are determine to adequately prepare for E-Day/Elections Day: Tuesday, 8th November 2011.

Cllr.Winston Tubman‑CDC Standard Bearer. Picture courtesy of africatv1.com
Cllr.Winston Tubman‑CDC Standard Bearer. Picture courtesy of africatv1.com
Upon his return from Abuja,Nigeria last Friday where he attended an ECOWAS consultative briefing, the standard bearer of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) Cllr. Winston Tubman in an address delivered to his partisan categorically stressed that CDC won't part-take in the forthcoming next Tuesday runoff elections.
The CDC chief's proclaimation has stirred up far many views both at the home and abroad: Mardea Wiles had the below to say and concluded with a question.
Cllr. Winston Tubman has reiterated that CDC will not participate in the November 8th runoff for allegations of fraud and biases. If CDC is convinced beyond all reasonable doubts that the process was fraudulent, their Representatives just elected in the October 11th election should also boycott the process by not taking up their seats in the House of Legislature. With such action, the Liberians will know that they are determined to pursue this claim to a logical conclusion. Can you honor part of a process and disregard some under the same NEC Administration?
The New Dispensation an informative blog broke the CDC's runoff elections this way:
Liberia’s controversial next Tuesday run-off election is postponed and President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf will address the nation at which time she will officially inform the Liberian people of the government’s decision.
The run-off election has come to be one of gridlock as the opposition party and presidential candidate Cllr. Winston Tubman withdrew in protest to boycott the run-off. Cllr. Winston Tubman who returned from Nigeria yesterday after having talks with Nigeria President Goodluck Johnathan and Chairman of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), reiterated his call for boycott of the Tuesday election, calling on his supporters and partisans to peacefully boycott the Tuesday polls by staying home.

The National Elections Commission under the leadership of its newest supremo acting chairperson Cllr.Elizabeth J.Nelson has reassured all stakeholders that NEC-Liberia is fully committed to safe guiding Liberia to a peaceful transition via a free, fair and peaceful elections. In her first official press conference held last week Tuesday, she specifically pinpointed her entity's readiness to conduct a credible runoff.

Cllr.Elizabeth J.Nelson-Acting Chairperson Liberia Elections Commission,courtesy of necliberia.org
Cllr.Elizabeth J.Nelson-Acting Chairperson Liberia Elections Commission,courtesy of necliberia.org
With respect to the status of the scheduled November 8, 2011 Presidential run-off, the National Elections Commission wishes to state that it is fully prepared to conduct the run-off as required by Article 83 (b) of the Constitution of Liberia. Therefore, I am pleased to announce that all necessary materials are in place, polling staff training has been conducted, the movement of sensitive and none sensitive materials to NEC warehouses in the South East Counties have been completed while the movement of other sensitive materials is currently underway. Meanwhile, civic and voter education activities are being conducted throughout the country, and new observers groups are being accredited.
Therefore, I wish to encourage the - Unity Party (UP) and the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) to fully participate in the contest. The Commission also wishes to urge all supporters of these parties and the Liberian people to maintain the same level of discipline as demonstrated during the October 11 elections to ensure a peaceful Election Day on November 8.
In an effort to motivate his countrymen to exercise their constitutional voting right against a boycott, Mr. Samuel Tolehyon Gbatu,Sr. a Liberia in the Diaspora chose these words for Liberians.
Wake Up Call: It is time for us (Liberians) to exhibit our patriotism,it is time for us to learn that violence is not the answer to our quest if we did not learn that in the past.This is not even based on party levels, be a patriot,support your and its people,refrain from violence and be a good citizen. Support the electoral process and accept the result for a way forward. Politicians will come and go,but the future of Liberia still remains in our hands......Their aims are unknown don't fall for them.Don't be a fool to be used to destroy your own country,remember their lives are better than the average Liberians.
Unlike Mr.Gbatu who's calling for a peaceful continuation of the runoff electoral process, Cllr.Jerome J.Verdier, Sr. the erstwhile chairman of the defunct Liberian Truth of Reconciliation Commission (TRC) has called for a complete halt to the process and give it a critical overhauling. He termed the runoff as 'Kangaroo' and urges the Liberian Senate to cease the process:

Cllr. Jerome J. Verdier-former chairman of the defunct Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission.Picture,courtesy of mshale.com
Cllr. Jerome J. Verdier-former chairman of the defunct Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission.Picture,courtesy of mshale.com
We have on hand a constitutional/political crisis which should spare no effort in ensuring its peaceful resolution founded in dialogue pursuant to a political resolution. The only other option is the legal option which is no longer viable as no one who is a major stakeholder has any inkling of confidence in the Supreme Court to dispose of contentious matters independently, judiciously and legally where the interest of President Sirleaf is concerned.
A political resolution entails that the senate which has oversight of presidential appointments must engage both parties, along with the international community, halt any kangaroo November 8 runoff and advert further deterioration of an already worsening situation.
While the above mentioned two notable Liberians chose advocacy for a peaceful continuation and a complete halt to the runoff process respectively; Ibrahim Al-bakri Nyei a Liberian Youth Ambassador For Peace commissioned by the Universal Peace Federation and an advocate thought it befitting to dived into what he termed 'products of post-conflict governance leakages':
  At this point it is important to mention that the prevailing developments in Liberia are not spontaneous, but are products of pos-conflict governance leakages which the administration overlooked. There are governance leakages which have all built up to numerous political crises out of which the current situation is just one product. Two key issues can be considered here as part of the leakages. The first was the failure of the administration to lead the country into a broader national process of Constitutional reform. Constitutional reform is a key and fundamental element of postwar reform, and had this government embarked on such an initiative key issues of national controversy would have been sorted out and addressed. Rather, the administration chose to support and conduct a referendum month to the election. It was from this controversial referendum the current tension around the elections began.

Second is the lukewarm approach of the government to transitional justice issues, mainly national reconciliation. Transitional justice goes in tandem with constitutional reform in postwar governance reform processes, and it is the basis upon which people deal with past grievances and accept each other for the future. Eight years after the war, Liberians are yet to have collective and clear understanding of the causes of the conflict and the role of various actors, and the way forward to a peaceful future. This is largely due to the controversy that resulted from the TRC process. Today, people feel free to issue threats of violence and even disrupt national processes without fearing consequences. At the same time, the people still seem to be deeply divided on ethnic issues, and the growing patterns of reemerging wartime alliances during these elections speak volumes of deep-seated grievances and conflict mentalities.

The United Nations (UN) in the midst of all the claims and counter claims has reaffirmed its commitment to the process. The world governing body through its chief Mr. Ban Ki-noon said the UN supports the joint efforts by the Economic Community of West African States ECOWAS and his Special Representative for Liberia, Ellen Margrethe Lj, to promote dialogue and build confidence in the electoral process and stressed the need for all parties to foster a peaceful transition.

UN Secretary General, Ban Ki- Moon. Pix courtesy of www.chinlandtoday.info
UN Secretary General, Ban Ki- Moon. Pix courtesy of www.chinlandtoday.info
The UN's commitment towards Liberia hasn't gone unnoticed as these words of Linda Koffa depicts:
UN has always committed herself to our ceaseless national crisis;I do hope we as a nation will see the ardent and rational need to go thru a peaceful transition against strives and plunging ourselves into another national madness of a crisis!Liberians should be mindful of the hrudles involved in ending crises:easy to start yet very difficult to end!
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the regional body of which Liberia is a founding member continues to urge the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) to CDC's fullest participation in the runoff elections.
In the wake of all of the fervent efforts being exerted by ECOWAS, the stigmas of ECOWAS' role in the Liberian civil crisis are still fresh on the minds of many Liberians. Joe 'Saye-Tomah' Gbaba, Sr. a Liberian has strong reservations about the regional body's sincerity and neutrality.
Given the trend of politics in Liberia the comments recently made by the ECOWAS Commission is very troubling in that the ECOWAS Commission suggested that it will “recognize” Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, even if the people of Liberia boycott the elections and reject her as their leader. Such a statement reflects the biased and prejudiced stance the ECOWAS Commission took from day one when ECOMOG’s Ghanaian Field Commander Arnorld Quinoo master-minded the brutal murder of Liberia’s sitting President Samuel Kanyon Doe at the hands of rebels of Prince Johnson’s Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL).
From that time moving forward, it became crystal-clear that ECOWAS Commission had a hidden agenda and that they would be in Liberia for keeps. For, the ECOWAS Commission would pretend they were in Liberia to secure the peace and bring the Liberian human carnage and mayhem to a close. Whereas, in reality, they would enhance and perpetuate mayhem and lawlessness in its various forms in cohort with Liberian rebel warlords and their supporters.
In view of the above mentioned, Liberians from all walks of life can now put one and one together to figure out why ECOWAS has been in Liberia for over twenty-two years as the regional peace brokers but yet Liberia is far from achieving sustainable peace. This is mainly because there are double dealers and wheelers on the ECOWAS Commission who do not sincerely support the true cause of African liberation. Instead, they are more interested in getting their ‘cuts’ from the spoils of the Liberian Civil War and to prolong the suffering of the Liberian people in cohort with Mrs. Sirleaf and Liberian Government officials.

Pres.Sirleaf speaking in Margibi,Liberia.Photo courtesy Cyrus Wleh Badio the Press Secretary to Pres.Sirleaf.
Pres.Sirleaf speaking in Margibi,Liberia.Photo courtesy Cyrus Wleh Badio the Press Secretary to Pres.Sirleaf.
While the opposition CDC is actively fighting its cause regarding the 'credibility' of the Liberian National Elections Commission,the incumbent Unity Party (UP) led by standard bearer Mrs.Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is assiduously campaigning cross country.
Venessa Benson, a Liberian living abroad summed up the CDC's actions in her own words:

Allow me too spin this! Is it possible that CDC Boycott charade could be a planned device, for UP partisans to become complacent, feel that President Ellen has already won the 2011 elections due to CDC boycott Shenanigan?
BEWARE of the in......consistencies! Keep your eyes opened and allow your ears to hear. Do not allow anyone to take or prevent you from executing your rights to vote. People sacrificed their lives allowing us this priceless right to vote.
YOU MUST VOTE ON 8 NOVEMBER 2011! This is your future, your children's future, as well as the next generation's future. 8 Nov. 2011, Vote! Vote! Vote! No matter what, Vote! We must all participate in the second round, our future is a stake!
Do Not Be Deceived! Do Not Be Deceived! By all Means, Do Not Be Deceived! 8 Nov. 2011, Vote!

The ruling party standard bearer, sitting president, Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in a reply to CDC's Cllr.Winston Tubman boycott declaration held a press conference to address the nation and her partisans. Equally like her opponent's press briefing, Pres.Sirleaf's briefing drawn many reactions. J.Robertson put his view this way:
Unity Party Goes Into RunoffElections Alone As CDC Withdraws:
Edwina a Liberian lady summarized CDC's boycott threat in a very unfamiliar tone mixing standard English with Liberian colloquial:
On October 11, 394,370 persons voted for CDC oh. So if they decide to boycott, they better tell all 394,370 of them to stay home, bcus if 13 persons sef vote, we will count d votes, thn da na boycott again oh. So I hope yor campaigning for d boycott too. Infact sef, just in case yor fini tellin ollor dem to vote boycott, I wey beg one pekin to give yor one vote ya. Hahaha, Ma Ellen n boy Joe make d baboon dem scared!
The official elections day (October 11th 2011) that gave birth to the scheduled runoff is now history; what Liberia as a nation and people do come November 8th 2011 will determine their fate.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Liberia: Reactions to the Resignation of Liberian Elections Chairman

Following questions about his credibility, James Fromayan, the former head of the  Liberian Elections Commission, resigned yesterday citing national interest above self interest as his reason.
African Election Project reports that he resigned because of the “Letter-gate”:
The Liberia National Elections Commission (NEC) Chairman, James Fromayan has resigned his post, Sunday, 30th October 2011 following a communication blunder the commission carried out when it served a letter of notification to the two leading political candidates; Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of the Unity Party (UP) and Winston Tubman of Congress for Democratic Change (CDC).
The blunder which has widely been referred to as the “Letter-gate”, emerged in the aftermath of a letter sent to the vice standard bearer of the CDC, George Manneh Weah signed by Fromayan reading: “The total number of votes tallied for the Unity Party(UP) presidential and vice presidential candidates was 194,370 or 32.7 percent of the valid votes cast. You received the highest vote total among the 16 candidates thus qualifying you to participate in the run-off election on November 8.”
Bobby Livingston, the commission’s director of communications, who prepared the letter has been dismissed.

The read more please follow this link:http://globalvoicesonline.org/2011/11/01/liberia-the-former-liberian-elections-chief-bows-out/

Thursday, June 9, 2011

How to Hit the Double Naturally-Twins.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

When Earnest Toils Are Knitted With the Selfless Desire to Dignify Lives-Celebrating Comrade Leo N.Johnson's Accolade.

By: Ernest Garnark Smith,Jr.
Halo Danane! Halo friends and comrades of D-Town!! Halo all near and far who sought refuge or transited in Danane,Ivory Coast!!! Today marks yet another joyous day in the history of this forum and the memory of mankind....

When the very 1st batch of our countrymen on those fateful days in Decemeber 1989 crossed into Ivory Coast;fleeing for their... lives and seeking a save haven.Little did this generation imagined that many would have sought refugee in a very dusty but warmly welcoming town called Danane.Yet,as we unleashed evils and inflicted each others with unspeakable pains and uncurable wounds on the other side of the border,Danane became our home away from home.

Through those years of our sojourn in that lively town,we were blest to have learnt some of the best of those virtues life has got to offered any generation faced and plagued by civil madness of a war.

It shall forever brightens my heart to always celebrate those tough,rough yet meaningful days of our stay in Danane whenever a comrade or former resident out of earnest quest to serve mankind gets recognized!And,it's against this joyous and inspiring backdrop that I chose to present to the world our forum's PRIDE OF THE MONTH,the humble and innovative servant of humanity,the Comrade Leo N.Johnson,the recent winner of the famous Albert Lager Prize for Student Initiative Awards.

The comrade Leo N.Johnson like us all fled our Mother's Land Liberia when anarchy was the other of the day.He dare not stood by and watch human being reduced to mere beastly treatments at the hands of the then self-style 'liberator' Charles Taylor and his bandits.He was and is still an ardent advocate and those days the resting places of youthful and progressive comrade like him were the underground prison cells,the imfaous Gbatala militia infested base,and the many torture and killing fields of Taylor!

With the flames of advocacy burning in his bones yet wanting to be alive to see the tide turned, the witty Leo fled and found solace and hope in Danane and later Budubumram Refugee Settlement,Ghana.

While seeking refuge and being hopelessly hopeful that his chance to fervently serve mankind was surest and nearest than the pessimists thought,he quietly chose to brave the storms,heat,dust,and multiple odds and built his capacity.....
As I have always said and I quote myself; the line that demarcate us winners and champions from the mere contestants is simply that,when they chose to throw in te towel and said 'it's over',we chose to press and push a lil hardest.
When destiny landed Leo into Canada,many comrades chose to yelled ' it's over and mission accomplished';unlikes those colleagues,Leo saw his then newest environment as the stage he has longed and desired for ages......Some walked into success yet others like the hardworking Leo diligently earned it!When other had slept and overslept overtaken by the 'mere triumph' of being resttled to Canada,he was awake visualizing and analytically planning for his best which is yet to come but have sincerely started.

Friends and families of our memorable Danane Days and hopefully eternity,today as I write;our brother,son,friend and source of inspiration LEO N.JOHNSON is our PROUD WINNER OF THE FAMOUS ALBERT LAGER PRIZE FOR STUDENT INITIATIVE AWARD,McMASTER UNIVERSITY,CANADA...

As we as a family,nation and people celebrate our brother's success,a success that is embedded and dedicated to us all;I do beseech you to read the historicity as it relates to the award won by Comrade Leo N.Johnson.It's my fiathful prayers that his accolade will speak to our hearts and reignites the flames of our desires to keep serving mankind in our own meaningful ways!

And,to comrade Leo N.Johnson;we'd celebrate with you and avail our shoulders if you ever needed to stand taller to visualize the farthest......

Compos mentis!

The historicity of the award:

The Albert Lager Prize for Student Initiative Awards is an award designed by the Alumni Association to recognize current students who provide outstanding support, leadership and community involvement/service to their Faculty, Program or to McMaster University.

Award Eligibility

(a) are being recognized for volunteer service, not a paid position;
(b) have completed a minimum of one full year of volunteer service;
(c) are currently enrolled in full-time or part-time studies at McMaster;
(d) are not a previous recipient of the award, as students are only eligible to receive one Albert Lager Award in their academic career.

The contributions of the nominee should encompass one, or a combination of,

the following:
(a) Significant contributions to their faculty, program or the University and its students;
(b) Improvement of the quality of student life;
(c) Outstanding leadership on committees or university affairs;
(d) Support and service to the McMaster Alumni Association.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Angry? Say a prayer

New research from American and Dutch scientists shows praying can help ease anger, lower aggression and lessen the impact of provocation.

"People often turn to prayer when they're feeling negative emotions, including anger," said Brad Bushman, a professor of communications and psychology at Ohio State University and a co-author of the study.

"We found that prayer really can help people cope with their anger, probably by helping them change how they view the events that angered them and helping them take it less personally."

In research published online in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Bushman and his colleagues found that prayer helped to control anger regardless of the person's religious affiliation, or if they attended church or prayed regularly.

In the first study they asked 53 U.S. college students to complete a questionnaire that measured levels of emotions such as anger, depression, tension, fatigue and vigor and then put them in a situation that could elicit an angry response.

Then the students were told to read a newspaper report about a cancer patient and randomly assigned to pray for her or to just think about her. Students who prayed for the patient had lower self-reported anger levels.

In other studies Bushman, Ryan Bremner of the University of Michigan, and Sander Koole, of UV University in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, found similar results about the power of prayer in dealing with anger, aggression and provocation.

"The effects we found in these experiments were quite large, which suggests that prayer may really be an effective way to calm anger and aggression," Bushman said.

But he stressed that the benefits were related to benevolent prayer.

"When people are confronting their own anger, they may want to consider the old advice of praying for one's enemies," Bremner said. "It may not benefit their enemies, but it may help them deal with the negative emotions."

What tricks do you have to relieve stress and anger?Please send your response to track2311@yahoo.com or track2311@counsellor.com.

What Kind of World They Live In-Boys and Girls Think....

When it comes to sex and teens, there are two different gender-specific worlds....

Boys and girls are educated and socialised differently on sexual matters, so here’s what your teens – and their opposite numbers – might be thinking.

In a girl world
  • Most girls are reared in what is essentially a sexually restrictive society in that their sexual interest, and certainly sexual behaviour, is neither sanctioned nor ignored by adults.
  • Girls are expected to be nonsexual in childhood and adolescence.
  • Sexual interest, curiosity and, especially, sexual experience cause girls to be devalued by family and peer group alike.
  • Sexual innocence, inexperience and ignorance are cultural values for girls.
  • They are permitted to express curiosity and receive information about their future reproductive function as their gender role is programmed.
  • Sexual intercourse is presented as the gift they are to give the man they love -a marital duty, necessary for impregnation.
  • They are led to believe that they might, on occasion, enjoy it, but the pleasure aspect is reportedly dependent on love and is not considered sufficient reason for their engaging in sex. (Men have sex because they love sex, women have sex because they love the man).
  • Girls are taught to withhold and begin to use their sexuality as a negotiable commodity. Concurrently, they are taught to devalue women who sell their sexuality, the prostitute being held out as the greatest threat to the sanctity of female virtue and family values.
  • Girls are expected to be the guardians of cultural mores by restricting or diverting the male sex drive.
In a boy world
  • Most boys are socialised into a heterosexually permissive culture.
  • There is some expectation that “boys will be boys,” which includes sexual experimentation and behaviour; and as long as they do not blatantly flaunt their sexual interest and activities in front of adults, they receive little censure.
  • Boys are taught that it is their nature and their right to pursue sexual gratification, but that girls who, like themselves, seek sexual experience and pleasure, are less valued in society than girls who deny them sexual favours.
  • Boys may be more egalitarian in their attitudes about their “sexual partner,” expecting them to be uninhibited, willing and responsive.
  • Although they appreciate and enjoy sex with a responsive partner, they expect them not to engage in sex with others, even though they may give themselves permission to do so.
  • Often, without conscious awareness, they devalue the sexually responsive girl and dedicate themselves to a relationship of sexual frustration with a girl who uses her sexuality for secondary gain.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Know your child

Do you really see your child as an individual?

Children have the right to be themselves and to live well-adapted and happy lives, whatever their special qualities and interests. They don’t have to believe the same things or feel the same way to fit into a tight stereotypical way of being. But do you really see your child as an individual, not just an extension of you and your family?

Treasuring his uniqueness and getting him to believe in himself and then still fit into the family’s wants and needs, is a juggling act.

What shapes your child?
1. The family and its values and beliefs and attitude towards children.
2. The neighborhood and school
3. The culture
4. General situations and circumstances
5. Genetics and internal influence which includes temperament: the inborn tendency to behave in certain ways.

All of these factors together have an interactive influence on the personality and character of your child. Temperament tells us how receptive a girl is and how her experience is absorbed internally. These are the 'seeds' of your girl’s character and you probably noticed them from her first year of life.

Some of the things that make us who we are
• Physical energy levels
• A liking for routine or for the unpredicatable
• Actively participation in events, or a tendency to be the observer
• Adaptability to different environments
• How we respond to things: are we loud or calm?
• Awareness of what’s going on around us
• Optomistic versus pessimistic as a general rule
• Ability to concentrate or be distracted

Character is that part of a child we hope to develop and train, without changing the essence of who he or she is. Having a strong character helps a child balance inner desires or wants with the requirements of the environment.

Building blocks of character:
1. Resiliency which is about: control, commitment, connection and flexibility.
2. Strength which often comes from being competent.
3. Respect for others, responsibility, perseverance.

Please post your comments in the space provided below.

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Woman Gives Birth To Twins — Only Thing Is, They Have Two Different Fathers!

If this isn’t weird, I don’t know what is! DNA tests reveal that a woman in Poland gave birth to one twin by her husband and the other twin by her lover.

This is worse than the tale of Octomom. A Polish woman gave birth to a beautiful set of twins, but oddly enough they’re not identical or fraternal. The truth is, this brother and sister have different dads, even though they both shared the same belly — and it wasn’t via IVF, but through old-fashioned sex.

Time magazine reports, “After paternal tests were done, it was revealed that each child had a different father.” How did that happen, you ask? This type of pregnancy can occur when a woman has sex with two men while she is ovulating and releases two fertilized eggs. It may be extremely rare, but it isn’t impossible. In this case, the Polish woman’s son was fathered by her husband, while her daughter was a product of an extramarital affair. Well, that’s awkward. This is reportedly only the seventh time this has ever happened in human history!

Friday, May 6, 2011

What it takes to be a Navy SEAL

With the successful elimination of  Al-Qaeda's strongest man still fresh on our minds,the name US Navy SEAL is a household name on every block amongst youths and others...Well,if you are like me who has always had passion for the military as a career,one of the most important questions you should be asking yourself as it regards a career in that line is the below...

What does it take to be a US Navy SEAL, the likes of whom were sent on the mission to locate and eliminate Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden?
The SEALs, warriors of the Sea, Air and Land, don’t get their job titles easily. To become one of these physical and mental superbeings, you will have to endure a gruelling 30-month training course, including the notorious Hellweek.
Counterterrorism (CT) missions are but a fifth of what SEALs are trained to do. Their mission types also include:
  • Unconventional Warfare (UW): a type of unorthodox, yet smart, strategy in eliminating the threat by use of traps, diversions, demolitions, etc.
  • Foreign Internal Defense (FID): Establishing a relationship with foreign nationals by offering to train foreigners.
  • Direct Action (DA): assaults that include hostage rescues, ambushes and assaults on land and sea targets.
  • Special Reconnaissance (SR): surveillance, observation and to gather intelligence.
Entry requirements
No one becomes a SEAL overnight. Entering the Navy SEAL training programme is voluntary, but you have to pass their basic requirements first.
The requirements include: male, must be an active member of the US Navy, 28 years or younger, a US citizen, excellent vision, must have passed the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery and most importantly, pass this physical screening test:
Exercise Minimum Average Optimum
1. Swim 450m, followed by 10-minute rest 13 minutes 10 minutes 9.5 minutes
2. Push-ups in 2 minutes, followed by 2-minute rest 42 79 100
3. Curl-ups in 2 minutes, followed by 10-minute rest 50 79 100
4. Pull-ups no time limit, followed by 10-minute rest 6 11 25
5. Run 2.4km 12.30 minutes 10.20 minutes 9.20 minutes
If you managed to pass the requirements, the real pain begins. The total training course time period is 30 months, starting off with Basic Underwater Demolition/ SEAL (BUD/S) that lasts seven months.
The BUD/S course is divided into four parts:
  1. Indoctrination
  2. Basic conditioning
  3. SCUBA training
  4. Land-warfare training
At the end of the Basic condition, comes the notoriously well-known Hellweek.
Hellweek is basically a week-long endurance exercise that will test any SEAL wannabe both physically and mentally. The week begins on a Sunday evening and ends on the Friday evening. The trainees are kept constantly moving, and have to endure cold, wet, muddy conditions. It is so severe that medical personnel monitor them constantly.
Some examples of what recruits can expect include carrying a life boat up sand dunes, repetitive push-ups / pull-ups / sit-ups, running and performing unusual workouts in both the sea and mud.
The trainees are also heavily sleep deprived during this week. A total of four hours sleep is all they get for the whole week. The instructers only allow them to sleep long enough until they reach REM and then they forceably wake them.
Mental acuity and being able to follow orders clearly, even under extreme physical and psychological stress, is vital to operating effectively as a SEAL. Thus during BUD/S and Hellweek especially, instructors may deliberately leave out part of an order to see who among the sleep-deprived, brain-fogged recruits picks up on it. Those teams that get the order correct then may earn a small rest - a few minutes extra sleep perhaps.
Approximately 70% of the candidates never make it past BUD/S, and most of them drop out during Hellweek. The BUD/S instructors constantly remind the trainees that they can opt out simply by ringing a shiny brass bell that is on the camp site, for all to hear and see.
Take a look at this footage and ask yourself; “Am I fit enough to become a Navy SEAL?”

Please send your feedback to track2311@yahoo.com and track2311@counsellor.com

Just for the sisthas-5 after-sex moves!

For so long the sisthas have cried foul of being almost usually used as sex tools,neglected and let to stare at the ceiling why we the brothas go right ahead snoring after they have given us their very 'best' and cooled our overheated engines....

Sisthas,I do subscribe to the values and views that you are far more than crying babies instead you have got embedded in you all that it takes to get us the brothas to do just what you desire.And,it is against that backdrop propeled by the wording of my brother Shaagy's song THE STRENGHT OF A WOMAN that I got inspired to researched and hit the sisterhood and sisthas' world with this article.......

It's that precious period between the end of sex and the time you either nod off or get dressed and leave. And what most guys don't realise is that they can gain maximum bonus points by using your mood to their advantage. Because women are at their most vulnerable immediately after sex when their guard is lowered, they're feeling completely relaxed and loved.

Five post-coital romancers that will make you weak at the knees;get to know them and share it with that special brother in your life............

1. Up close and personal
It's fabulous when he doesn't just roll over and turn his back on you to sleep. It would be even better if he gives you soft kisses on neutral parts of your body – shoulder, forehead – and pulls you close for a loving caress or cuddle.

2. Pillow talk
This is the time for intimate conversation which will pave the way for future success. It would be great if told you how fabulous the sex was and what a turn-on you are. And if he asks you about your dreams and ambitions then he's definitely a keeper!

3. Generosity
Although you're probably happy just lying in his arms, imagine how special it would be if he offered to make you a drink or coffee or bring you something sweet while you lay in bed.

4. Watch a video
After sex, while you're both feeling warm and snugly, is the perfect time to bond over romantic comedy.

5. A future arrangement
If you aren't "officially" dating, one way to make you feel special and wanted is by asking you out on your next date while you are lying in each other's arms in the post-coital afterglow.

Do you agree? Would these post-coital acts make you feel special and secure? Post your  in the comment box below or via email: track2311@yahoo.com and track2311@counsellor.com

'One kid is enough!'

For many Beijing parents the 'one-child' policy is far less pressing than the cost of bringing up even one child.
China's census should make for stark reading for policy makers, showing more old people and fewer young people to pay for said older people, the result of three decades of policies aimed at slowing population growth.

While the government enforces the policy unevenly these days - urban couples who are themselves single children are permitted two of their own, for example - policy makers have shown no intention of abandoning it.

It's expensive!

Yet with ever-rising costs in cities such as Beijing, the question for many is not whether they want another child but whether they can bear the cost.

"I can't even get this one into kindergarten," complained housewife Li Tong, 29, out walking with her three-year-old son in Beijing's fashionable Sanlitun shopping district.

"Education is a real concern for us. I have many friends who don't want children at all. One is enough for me."

Like the residents of Hong Kong and Singapore, which have among the world's lowest birthrates, China's urbanites are starting to believe that the expense of maintaining larger families outweighs the benefits.

That's the view of Wang Gui, 35 and father of a four-year-old boy.

"We actually would like another, and according to current rules we can," said Wang. "But I think the cost would be prohibitive. It's too much pressure to expect us to cope with.

"I do think the policy should remain, however. Those people in the countryside would just pop out babies left, right and center if given a chance, and we as a country don't have the necessary resources."

"China has too many people, we have too much pressure on housing and transportation," said Zheng Xing, 26. "I will have only one child. I cannot afford a second financially. Inflation is so high, everything is expensive and income is limited."

Still, as China's population gets better educated and more worldly, debate about the one-child policy has grown.

What do you think about the one-child policy?Please send me your views via email: track2311@yahoo.com or track2311@counsellor.com

Monday, April 25, 2011

Reading fulfils psychological need to belong

Given a chance, many of us would happily spend an entire day curled up with a book. But researchers say reading is not just a hobby, it satisfies a deeply human, evolutionarily requirement -- the need to belong.

"The study explains how this everyday phenomenon - reading - works not just for escape or education, but as something that fulfils a deep psychological need," says psychologist Ariana Young, from the University of Buffalo, US.

Shira Gabriel, who led a study with Young, surveyed 140 undergraduates about their need for staying connected by identifying with groups, reports the journal Psychological Science.

Some students were made to read a passage from the novel "Twilight", in which Edward describes what it feels like to be a vampire and his romantic interest Bella, according to a Buffalo statement.

Others read a passage from "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone", in which Hogwarts students are separated into 'houses' and Harry meets potions professor Severus Snape.

Participants were given 30 minutes to read the passages and were instructed to simply read for their own pleasure. Then, two measures gauged the participants' psychological affiliation with vampires or wizards.

As predicted, on both measures, Harry Potter readers "became" wizards and the Twilight readers "became" vampires.

Besides, participants who were more group-oriented in life, showed the highest assimilation effects. Finally, "belonging" to these fictional communities delivered the same mood and life satisfaction people get from affiliation with real-life groups.

When last did you read a book comprehensively?Please send your responses and questions to track2311@yahoo.com and track2311@counsellor.com.You are also encouraged to made your comments and views heard by posting them in the comments' column below...........

Friday, April 22, 2011

Study: Barcelona players best paid in world sport

Barcelona and Real Madrid have overtaken the New York Yankees as the best-paid global sports teams, according to a British study.

The review published Wednesday showed annual average pay during the 2009-10 season was $7.9 million at Barcelona and $7.4 million at Real Madrid.

The Yankees are paying their players an average of $6.8 million this season. The team last year topped the review which is compiled by www.sportingintelligence.com and is being published by ESPN The Magazine.

The NBA's Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando Magic occupy the fourth and fifth spots, followed by English Premier League champion Chelsea.

Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal also are among the 30 best-paid teams, making the Premier League the richest soccer league in the world. In the top 30, there are 10 NBA teams and eight MLB clubs.

The report looked at average first-team pay in 14 of the world's leading sports leagues, including Aussie Rules Football and cricket's Indian Premier League.

"We've know for years that the biggest bucks have been in American basketball and baseball but the rise and rise in wages among the elite of European football continues, closing that gap," said Nick Harris, the report's author.

That, however, could change with new regulations from the Union of European Football Associations that starting next season will force clubs to stop spending more than they earn.

"Financial Fair Play regulations may act as a brake on this inflation in football pay in a few years' time, but for now the big guns in Europe are still splashing out," Harris said.

Do we really believe in diversity?

What do you look like? And when was that impression formed in your mind?

Chances are that some of the negative terms you use to describe yourself date back to the playground, when critical peers first found your unique points and made you notice them.

'I’m a shorty.'

'My nose is big and ugly.'

'I’m fat and my bum is too flat.'

It’s pretty unlikely that you are so different or unattractive that you stand out in the crowd. But as a society we expend an awful lot of energy trying to persuade ourselves – and our children – that it’s best to conform to a norm that doesn’t exist.

Your body is a problem
It starts really young and getting younger all the time. Even US first lady Michelle Obama has been encouraging people to measure their children’s BMIs (body mass index) to see if they could be spiralling towards being overweight. In Malaysia, there’s a move to put children's BMI's on their report cards.

In a brilliant blogpost on the subject, food activist Liz Snyder sums up the damage done to naturally plumper children by categorising their different body shape as a problem:

'Fat kids spiral – many of them perfectly healthy to begin with (those naturally on the right end of the curve) – into social isolation, eating disorders, and a cycle of failed diets that sets them up for a LIFETIME of struggle.'

It’s a pattern I recognise with pain, having gone down exactly that road myself from plump childhood to obese adulthood to an uneasy middle-aged truce with my body.

For others it's a struggle about not having the right accent, speaking English with a Model C accent or Afrikaans with an English accent, or coming from the wrong side of town.

When we’re not judging our weight or our voices, we fall back on the question of skin pigment – and for every little black girl hankering after blue eyes, there’s a white teen spraying herself orange in an effort not to look so unattractively white.

Our actions as parents are the most important. If your teenager sees you hating your large breasts or frizzy hair every day, why would she think hers is lovable? It takes an effort of will to say: 'Here I am. My hair curls like this, my hips curve like that and I speak with a slightly nasal twang.'

But it’s worth doing, to give our children a mirror to look in and see the good, normal and desirable variation that makes us human.

And beautiful.

What’s the best way to keep children healthy and fit while embracing diversity?

Protest against Egypt Christian governor

TENS of thousands of protesters massed in a southern Egyptian city yesterday and cut off a major railway to demand the exit of a Christian governor as the government sought to resolve the crisis, police officials said.

The protests began last Friday after Emad Mikhail, a former Cairo police commander, was appointed governor of Qena, the second Coptic Christian governor in a row.
The protesters' motivations appear to vary but the presence of hardline Islamists has raised sectarian tensions in the province, which has a large Christian population and a history of religious strife.
Police officials said the protesters gathered in front of the governor's headquarters and reinforced demonstrators already camped out on a railway track after Friday prayer sermons exhorted them to end the sit-in.
Some of the protesters said they should have been consulted in the appointment of a new governor, especially one with a background in the country's vilified police force.

State television aired interviews with protesters who denied they were Islamists, but a Coptic Bishop in the province said the demonstrators have been heard chanting anti-Christian slogans.
"The protests are sectarian," Bishop Kirilos of the nearby town of Nagaa Hammadi told AFP.
"They are led by Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood, and they are chanting: 'We won't leave until the Christians leave,'" he said.

The bishop, who was present when Muslim gunmen killed six churchgoers after an evening mass in January 2010, said parishioners were fearful of further attacks.

But a prominent Salafi cleric in Cairo, Abdel Moneim al-Shahat, denied that his sect, which advocates a return to early Muslim practices, was spearheading the protests.

"People object to him because he has a security background, and also because he was appointed as though for a Coptic quota, and Qena always gets the quota Christian," he said."My religion forbids me from being ruled by a Christian, but if he were popular I would be willing to set aside my religious objection," he said.
Many traditional Muslim scholars believe a Christian or a woman may not rule a Muslim country.
The government has unsuccessfully tried to persuade the demonstrators to disperse by sending two prominent Salafi clerics to negotiate with them along with the interior minister.

State television reported that Prime Minister Essam Sharaf was preparing to head a delegation to the southern city to defuse the crisis.Copts make up about 10 per cent of the country's 80 million people and have been the targets of attacks.

The protests in Qena have served as a stark reminder to some of the persistence of sectarian tensions after a popular revolt ousted president Hosni Mubarak in February.
Telecoms billionaire Nagib Sawaris, who launched a liberal party after Mubarak's ouster, wrote on his Twitter account that the protests showed a Christian would stand little chance of becoming the country's president.
"To those who said I should run for president: if we can't even have a Copt as Qena governor, what about Egypt?," he wrote.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wonderful and yet stresful-1st day of preschool

So we've finally ventured into the school zone.

If you’ve ever wondered if you should be sending your child to school – the answer is yes. I held off for as long as I could with seeing my twins boys Er (Ernest) and Ea (Earnest) off to nursery school because of all the usual fears – will they spend all morning standing at the window crying for me? What if the other kids don’t want to play with them? Will they feel like I’ve abandoned them? Though their nursery school was just a stone throw away from our home yet I could not stand seeing them wailing and screaming as I turned my back.At that point,I had the stunning flashback about my own experience as my mum Sarah took me to school on that fateful day........

The truth is – they probably will cry a little but their nurses and teachers will know what to do to get them distracted; after all we all at some point in our academic lives trek that same route. Er was very upset the first few days and the best advice we got was – just carry on! As for the master Ea, though a bit reserved by then,he found it cool easily being at school and always look up to thier early morning preparation for school.Eventually your little one will realise that they are not going to get out of going to school (regardless of the wailing and tears) and begin to settle in.

And sure, the other kids might not like him straight away, but eventually he will make a friend and then they’ll probably never leave each other’s side. And while you may feel like you’ve abandoned him, I can guarantee that 5 minutes after you’ve left he’ll be just fine!

Be prepared for day one

Er and Ea favourite thing in the world is being neatly and colorfully dressed up by elders, so on their first day they were neatly dressed and their back packs tugged on their backs, filled with toys,lunch boxes, juice bottles and pencil cases, oh yes, and their towels and extra clothes just in case.

Don’t be alarmed if your kid wants to take something with him from home, it acts as a safety blanket. Just let the teacher know what he’s got so it at least comes home with him and doesn’t end up finding a new owner by the end of the day.

Leaving your child with someone new is never easy! I was nervous that whole morning but I don’t think it really hit me until I had to walk away from their class while they screamed and leave my babies behind. I felt like 'this is it - my little boys have got to wail today like I did when Mother Sarah left me on my 1st day at school with a sored heart yet determined that I stay to become what I am today...'

I felt emptied as I drove to work that morning -even at work I was not that bright and optimistic guy.Surely,an integral part of me was missing. And even though I knew I’d see them again when I got home, it felt like a lifetime till then. Frankly, I opted to have left my office and came home even before midday. Only to find myself peeping in their class.I was later told that it took those little rascals just five minutes after I’d left and were happily doing their art works and writing their languages only their teacher did understand.Hahahahahaha. 

Er and Ea’s routine before starting school was very relaxed – they had their mom,brothers and nurse at home and they were being showered with excessive love and care.So it was playing, eating, watching DVDs and playing with other kids that kept them busy. So the school routine of sitting and doing tasks was quite a shock to the system.

What I found helps in the mornings is that after they have gotten dressed and had breakfast is to just sit and model up and down the living room – even if it’s just for 5 minutes. 

Although nothing can fully prepare you or your child for their first day, it is a necessary step in their development.

How quickly did your child adjust to preschool? Comment below or mail us on track2311@yahoo.com.

Film claims discovery of nails from Jesus's cross

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Could two of the nails used to crucify Jesus have been discovered in a 2,000-year-old tomb in Jerusalem?

And could they have mysteriously disappeared for 20 years, only to turn up by chance in a Tel Aviv laboratory?

That is the premise of the new documentary film "The Nails of the Cross" by veteran investigator Simcha Jacobovici, which even before its release has prompted debate in the Holy Land.

The film follows three years of research during which Jacobovici presents his assertions -- some based on empirical data, others requiring much imagination and a leap of faith.

He hails the find as historic, but most experts and scholars contacted by Reuters dismissed his case as far-fetched, some calling it a publicity stunt.

Many ancient relics, including other nails supposedly traced back to the crucifixion, have been presented over the centuries as having a connection to Jesus. Many were deemed phony, while others were embraced as holy.

Jacobovici, who sparked debate with a previous film that claimed to reveal the lost tomb of Jesus, says this find differs from others because of its historical and archaeological context.

"What we are bringing to the world is the best archaeological argument ever made that two of the nails from the crucifixion of Jesus have been found," he said in an interview, wearing his trademark traditional knitted cap.

"Do I know 100 percent yes, these are them? I don't."


The film begins by revisiting an ancient Jerusalem grave discovered in 1990 which was hailed by many at the time as the burial place of the Jewish high priest Caiaphas, who in the New Testament presides over the trial of Jesus.

The grave, along with a number of ossuaries, or bone boxes, was uncovered during construction work on a hillside a few kilometers south of the Old City. It has since been resealed.

Caiaphas is a major figure in the Gospels, having sent Jesus to the Romans and on to his death, and one of Jacobovici's assertions is that the high priest was not such a bad guy.

Two iron nails were found in the tomb, one on the ground and one actually inside an ossuary, and, according to the film, mysteriously disappeared shortly after. Jacobovici says he tracked them down to a laboratory in Tel Aviv of an anthropologist who is an expert on ancient bones.

And if they are indeed the same nails -- eaten away by rust and bent at the end, almost purposefully -- was their disappearance a conspiracy or a logistical slip-up?

No definite answer is offered.

Either way, Jacobovici shows why those nails could have been used in a crucifixion, which was a common practice two thousand years ago. He then offers his theory about why they may have been used in the most famous crucifixion in history.

"If you look at the whole story, historical, textual, archaeological, they all seem to point at these two nails being involved in a crucifixion," he said. "And since Caiaphas is only associated with Jesus's crucifixion, you put two and two together and they seem to imply that these are the nails."

The Israel Antiquities Authority, which oversaw the Jerusalem excavation, said in reaction to the film's release that it had never been proven beyond doubt that the tomb was the burial place of Caiaphas. It also said that nails are commonly found in tombs.

"There is no doubt that the talented director Simcha Jacobovici created an interesting film with a real archaeological find at its center, but the interpretation presented in it has no basis in archaeological findings or research," it said.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Yesterday marked 15 long yet memorable years since Mama Liberia,her enfants and humanity at large witnessed some of the most gruesome atrocities inflicted upon the helpless Liberian populace at the hands of those bandits and bloodthirsty 'self style liberators'..............As we stroll down memory's lane,I vividly remember seeing (on CNN) Monrovia and her suburban ablaze and thousands wandering up and down the emptied streets of Monrovia.............

Oh little did I know that my very loving dad like many hundreds more affectionate dads was a victim of the imfamous and power rapaciuos April 6.In an earnest effort to remember the day and all those who lost thier lives,loveones,properties and those whose lives(I'm inclusive) have  never been the same since that fateful day,I chose to re-publish this article written by a brother the Comrade Emmanuel Heroditus Payne,Jr.

By: Emmanuel H. Payne Jr.

What I saw as the tragic paradox of the Liberian civil war occurred on the morning of April 6 , 1996 , when an unholy matrimony between two foes - Alhaji kromah and Charles Taylor - was formed and sought to eliminate one of the main variables in the Liberian political equation , Mr. Roosevelt Johnson.

On this day , panic-stricken residents were awakened by loud reports of machine gun fire and the 'kpa--kpa- gbo-- gbos ' of AK47 Riffles as the drugged libertines and urchins and armed bandits , some of them wearing masks and synthetic hair, commandeered private and business vehicles to the scene of contention in the Sinkor district of eastern Monrovia. Within days Monrovia and it suburbs were infested with thousands of 'killing machines' and looters from the bushes of rural Liberia.

For several weeks to come this evil marriage, acting under the pretense of enforcing justice, was to rain havoc on the city of Monrovia and its inhabitants while the peace keepers and a detachment of US MARINES protecting the American diplomatic mission near Monrovia , stood aloof and served as mere spectators of this bloody military drama. Monrovia became a Mogadishu on the West coast and out of the desperation , hundreds could prefer the risk of sailing in rotten vessels than to be killed for no apparent reason by blood-thirsty and trigger-happy criminals on both sides.

Exactly a decade afterwards , I remember the horrors of April 6 and pay tribute to those who were fallen by the bandits swords and arms.

But I must confess the degree of relief I also feel on this tenth year memorial, that the senior architect and partner in the evil marriage that unleashed terrors on us , DAHKPANA , is facing the weight of justice abroad. I am reminded of a parable " a child who refuses cool advice at home will get harsh correction outside."

I hope that Kromah , Gen. Butt-Naked(who is currently disguised as an evangelist , though evangelism does not provide escape from the wrath of justice) and others , will realize that they owe sincere apology to the Liberian people for their roles in the ATROCITIES of April 1996 in particular and the civil war as a whole.

About the Author:

Monday, April 4, 2011

Should I wait? Ladies' duo puzzle.

You've resolved to wait a few years to have a baby, but is that a wise choice? Is it possible to fool Mother Nature into disregarding the ticking of our biological clocks?

Women used to start families when they were in their late teens and twenties. Nowadays, many are choosing to postpone motherhood until they're well into their thirties. Have we managed to slow down our biological clocks or are we simply learning to ignore the ticking?
Born at the right time
Our biological clocks are definitely not slowing down, nor can we turn back the hands of time to make more space in our busy schedules for having babies, says Dr Johan van Rensburg, a fertility specialist at Medfem Clinic in Johannesburg.
"The biological clock is similar to an ATM at the bank. Every month we withdraw money. Unfortunately, the body cannot issue transaction slips telling us that there are so many ova remaining and how much time we have left to have babies. One day we will simply discover that there are no more reserves left."
Van Rensburg says the general rule, which applies to 90% of all women, is that you should have fallen pregnant by 35. "For many women, 35 is already too late, however, and they only find out once they unsuccessfully try to have a baby."
It is possible to determine your chances of having a baby via a series of hormone tests. "Prior to undergoing these tests, a woman should stop taking oral contraceptives for at least a month and the tests need to be done on the third day of her menstrual cycle," according to Van Rensburg.
He warns that the results of these tests are merely an indication of what's going on in a woman's body at that particular time. They are not a reliable measure of future fertility.
The average woman is born with 150 000 to 400 000 ova in her Fallopian tubes and 20 to 50 of these are released every month. Only one of them develops sufficiently to stand a chance of being fertilised. A couple in their twenties stands a 20-25% chance of conceiving during a normal cycle. The number of times they have sex, stress and the physical condition of each partner are the major factors that influence the likelihood of having a baby. As time goes by, the probability decreases.
What can I do?
You can protect your biological clock with sound lifestyle choices, according to Van Rensburg. "Regular exercise, a healthy and balanced diet and low stress levels can help preserve the ova left in your body."

  • Stop smoking and double your chances of having a baby. If your partner smokes excessively, it could lower his sperm count, inhibit the movement of the sperm and adversely affect its quality.

  • Use antioxidants along with a multi-vitamin supplement to boost your immune system and limit the adverse effects of free radicals.

  • Limit alcohol, which could inhibit sperm production, and increases the chances of a miscarriage.

  • Reduce stress in your own life and encourage your partner to do the same.

  • Watch what you eat by avoiding too much sugar, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, fats and salt. Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and include avos, olives, nuts, seeds and olive oil in your diet, to boost your intake of fatty acids. Eat complex carbohydrates such as potatoes, brown rice, maize meal and wheat, instead of processed or refined foods, to keep your blood sugar levels stable. High blood sugar can adversely affect the quality of your ova. The period when you're trying to conceive is not the time to try out a low-kilojoule starvation-type diet.

  • Maintain a healthy body weight because Van Rensburg says women should realise that they could become permanently infertile if they are too thin. "The hypothalamus sustains damage and even if your weight normalises, the effects could prove irreversible." (The hypothalamus is located in the brain and is responsible for vital bodily functions such as controlling your temperature, regulating hormone levels, blood pressure and the balance of fluids in the body.)
    Ideally, you should have approximately 20% body fat. This percentage affects the level of oestrogen in your body and oestrogen helps you ovulate.

  • Moderate exercise is sufficient – swim, run, walk or cycle. A heavy exercise regime can affect menstruation.
    Are you trying to avoid your biological clock ticking away?
    Please do post your comments below in the comments' space provided or send your thoughts to email address: track2311@yahoo.com/track2311@counsellor.com.