Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, Blogger, Speaker

Global Citizenship

Karin Muller, videographer of Global Citizenship!

Karin Muller, videographer of Global Citizenship!

Global Citizenship

I follow the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer LinkedIn Group. This message came from Karin Muller today:

“Since returning from the Philippines (87-89), I’ve dedicated my life to producing television documentaries on remote cultures and conflict zones for National Geographic and PBS,” she said.

She now operates independently. She has put several short pieces on YouTube, “both to continue promoting global citizenship and to eventually help underwrite my educational nonprofit organization.”

Her stories come from all over. She will continue posting over the next year, she said. I subscribed to her YouTube channel. You can too. I’m eager to see what comes next!

Longing for Community

“Right now, we’re all yearning for a sense of solidarity-to feel like we’re part of something bigger than ourselves.”

Sounds like a sentence for the back cover of my 2nd book – how people long to build community and feel part of something, doesn’t it? Or a sentence from Sunday’s sermon.

But it’s from the inside cover of Bloomingdale’s Fall 2017 glossy catalog that arrived in my mailbox a few weeks ago. Is Bloomingdale’s thinking of global citizenship? Hardly, though they do mention “tribe.”

Bloomingdale's catalog inviting me to be part of their tribe of shoppers

Bloomingdale’s catalog inviting me to be part of their tribe of shoppers

The introduction continues, “a feeling of camaraderie is more important than ever. That’s why we decided to create TEAM BLOOMIE’S: a rallying cry to all the fashion folks in our tribe-you included.” It’s about the designers, being “in perfect sync with your stylish sisters. . . embracing the power of self-expression via personal style.”

Since I didn’t open the catalog until Wednesday, I’d already missed the “Triple Point” sale dates it was advertising in its 170 pages of photographs!

And I find the whole concept of being part of a team of shoppers rather strange, even disgusting. I do not wish to be part of Bloomie’s “fashion folks” nor do I consider myself part of their tribe! How about you?

I had cancelled my Bloomingdale’s credit card recently. I got it several years ago when I met the Nigeria woman at the Clinique counter.

If I hadn’t already, I think this would have driven me to it!

A broom like this was presented by my husband's parents to us to signify their approval of our marriage and to remind us to sweep away bad thoughts!

A broom like this was presented by my husband’s parents to us to signify their approval of our marriage and to remind us to sweep away bad thoughts!

David Brooks on Being Part of Something

David Brooks wrote on the topic on Wednesday morning in The New York Times. He was comparing the Maslow hierarchy and the “Four Kinds of Happiness.”

He says, “The big difference between these two schemes is that The Four Kinds of Happiness moves from the self-transcendence individual to the relational and finally to the transcendent and collective. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, on the other hand, moves from the collective to the relational and, at its peak, to the individual.”

We have been too heavily focused on the individual – on becoming our “authentic” selves.

He encourages us to focus on being part of something, a mission, a goal, and think less about fulfilling our individual needs.

Ifeoma Obianwu Fafunwa, featured in Guardian Nigeria magazine spread!

Ifeoma Obianwu Fafunwa, featured in Guardian Nigeria magazine spread!

Ifeoma Obianwu Fafunwa

Ifeoma Obianwu Fafunwa, producer and director of Hear Word! a highly praised Nigerian drama, is bringing her play to the U.S. again. I hope I can see it this time!

She is the daughter of my dear friend Carol, and the daughter-in-law of my Nigerwives co-founder Doris.

Ifeoma is featured in Guardian Life (Nigeria) Magazine with a fabulous fun video of her in a variety of clothes, moves, and poses! You can watch a video here.

Cholera in Nigeria

Voice of America has a report from Reuters about the outbreak of cholera in northeast Nigeria.

The overcrowded camps are occupied by thousands of people displaced by the Boko Haram violence. The camps are easy places for the disease to spread.

“A major vaccination campaign aims to reach more than 900,000 people this week in the area, and aid agencies such as Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) said they were stepping up efforts to halt the spread of the diseases as new cases emerged across the state,” the article says.

But it is a daunting task. “Seth Berkley, chief executive of GAVI, the global vaccines alliance, said, ‘These vaccines will play a vital role in slowing the spread of the disease,'” according to the report.

UNICEF, also active in the area, says some infected people are not reporting the disease, which hinders progress against it and the chance for treatment. The article doesn’t explain why; I suspect fear.

“Cholera spreads through contaminated food and drinking water and can kill within hours if left untreated, but most patients recover if treated promptly with oral rehydration salts,” the article says.

The contrast to Bloomingdale’s catalog is almost unbelievable!

UN General Assembly

The UN General Assembly is meeting. President Buhari addressed the body on September 19. He talked about the Rohingya but did not mention the more than 2 million people displaced by Boko Haram.

Quartz online says Buhari’s speech was full of irony. “Since being devastated by the long-running Boko Haram insurgency, displaced persons in the northeast have been forced to live in congested camps where hunger and disease are rife. (See piece above about cholera) Nearly half a million children in the region are severely malnourished, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council,” the article said.

African leaders met with President Trump on Thursday. Have you seen any report of that meeting? I have not.

Photo by my cousin Thomas Thompson

Photo by my cousin Thomas Thompson

New Canaan Library on Monday

Not too late to come to New Canaan CT Library on Monday evening for my talk and book signing. There was a story in the New Canaan News today by reporter Erin Kayata who interviewed me last week.

Today is the autumnal equinox!

My cousin Thomas posts amazing photos on Facebook. This was on September 18.

Author: Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, blogger, speaker. Born in New York, grew up in mid west United States, lived in Nigeria for 24 years, back in U.S. since 1986. Advocate for racial justice.


  1. Thank you so much Catherine – and my thanks to Margaret for looking at my work! Catherine, I will post your blog throughout my social network. People need to read your excellent posts.

  2. Thank you for all this news. I plan to look for Ms. Muller’s work on YouTube.