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Survived the Journey… Memuna Barnes

You all know me by now. I will do a review only after I have read the book. When the author of this book invited me to review her book, I blithely wrote back my usual style. I need to know what I am reviewing. Right? I got the book , then saw the number of pages and I desperately wondered I didn’t just allow myself to be guided by the first offer and stay close to what amazon.com had to say. But I knew one review can be different from the other and I had no choice. When I started reading however, I became very alarmed and uncomfortable. I was worried, angry at different times and unfortunately I took the story into my dreams as I became a captive of Memuna Barnes.
I was saddened at the waste of adolescent dreams, the eagerness of young souls trampled underneath by our base emotions. The innocence of Memuna and her fellow victims, hope killed by the bullet into the brains of Fuck-care. Those names , how-are-you, Pustine, C.O Base and a host of others. It was painful to read how Memuna overcame her first horror at brutality to her resigned acceptance of it. She never came to terms with it and she mirrored to us how the older generation had failed them.IMG_1708
Survived the Journey is the journey of an innocent, fresh- faced, pert and saucy teenage girl, forced to grow up fast and eventually traumatized by the sheer cussedness of humanity where dreams die first.. She could easily have used that as the title of her book except for this detail, Memuna Barnes is a first rate survivor, who had the grace to be stubborn, a determination to hang on to her virginity, that determined her dreams.
Memuna survived the darkened dawn so she could take her place in the sun. Read her story and be inspired. I read and then I had these questions.
Congratulations on your book but we will love you to answer a few questions IMG_2461
1. Please tell us a bit about yourself
A) I am Memuna Barnes in my 30s, one of nine children. I was born in Liberia to a Sierra Leonean father and a Liberian mother. I came to New Zealand in 2000 as part of the United Nations Refugee Resettlement Program with my father and younger sister Mamawa.
2. You started your story straight away about the capture and your family remained most times in the shadows. Tell us a bit more about your parents.
A) Growing up both of my parents were in the workforce. My mother was a secretary at a printing company and my father a manager at Telema Fishing Company – Liberia’s second largest fishing company. At the time my sister We’re the two kids who lived with them in Liberia. We were well provided for and if
there ever were hard times before the war…..my mother made sure my sister and I didn’t know about it. Mama was a mother who lived for her children. Very hands – On. She never missed our school programs although Mamawa and I didn’t attend the same school. Mama would pick up the child who did not have a program
first and rush off to the school of the other child and make sure that child knew she was in the crowd watching. I was always involved in plays or speeches at mine and She would run to get Mamawa after work and rush to my school. She was always there in time to give me that last minute cheer, kiss and hug to assure me she was watching and enjoying every second. Which for me, was all that mattered. I was a well catered for child as far as I know. Our father worked most of the time and we only really got to see him at weekends. My parents paid for everything we wanted.
3. What led to the RUF over running your part of the country?
A) The Revolutionary United Front (RUF) walked into Sierra Leone from Liberia via the border and started what they dubbed “First Battalion” in Pujehun District by capturing and recruiting young boys and girls into their rebel force. Soon after they took Kailahun District which was dubbed “Second Battalion” giving them access to diamond mines which were used as currency for ammunition. So those two southern districts became rebels stronghold.
4.At the end of your journey, did you meet up with Hassan ?
A) I could have met up with Hassan as I mentioned towards the end of the book when I bumped into How-are-you in the market. However, I was afraid he would find me and take me again. So no I didn’t.
5.Did you discover any further news about Base and Pustine?
A) I know nothing more about Base. I could find out about Pustine if I asked a few people but I have not tried to.

6.You had quite a violent eighteen months as a captive, has it anyway affected your perception of war, politics and your old country.
A) My experience has indeed affected me a great deal. First, before this I had no reason to think about war and I would forget really quickly soon after watching a war movie as a child. I remember owning a toy pistol myself once. However, after
experiencing two civil wars in a space of a decade, I think it is a pointless waste of lives, resources, infrastructure and a heinous offence to humanity. Why not just sit and talk about issue? Why not negotiate and bargain ( this is what would have to happen in the end anyway) and think about the citizens and the generations to
come? I think our leaders should picture themselves as parents when they are voted into power. They are voted out of trust and respect should always consider the people who give them power and use that power for the people rather than against them. Create opportunities in form of jobs, utilize national resources and subsidize the healthcare and education system of their respective countries.
Liberia and Sierra Leone need to stand up and value their people especially when there are so many emotionally destroyed individuals running around aimlessly. You cannot love your country if you have no respect for human rights. The aftermath of war, I think is almost as bad as the war itself. The country is left with traumatized individuals who are so confused and still scared: for those who participated in the massacre – they live with the guilt (if capable of remorse) over the lives they took, unable to fit in a functional society ( for people like Hassan, Base, CO. Gbembo) where instead of people answering to them they now have to learn
how to have bosses and a job, some live in fear of retribution.
For those of us who witnessed the horror we live with recurring nightmares and sorrow over our loss and we want answers but no one can offer them. For me carrying on is something that just happens because I am alive but still sometimes feel stuck. These memories can be triggered by the simplest event. I think about the day we left Monrovia almost everyday as I go past the dock and see cruise ships. Watching contemporary war movies or the sound of a car backfire gives me nightmares of the war.
Then all the dead bodies that are left in the forests where bombs have been thrown at people… get washed off into waterways and pollute the environment and lead to the spread of diseases.
7.In the book, there seemed to have been a breakdown of all forms of morality and ethics, what would be your understanding of this on the younger generation particularly the child soldiers
A) Living in war where there is no one to judge or guide one apart from God in Heaven (and that is if you grew up being taught of a higher power) shows you what humans are capable of given the opportunity.
Younger children, first of all in a normal situation must always be watched and led on the right path in life as we all come into this world knowing nothing more than our basic motor skills. Then a young child who is already confused by adolescence is taken from his or her family and forced to shed blood and is conditioned to think that these atrocities are the way of life can only lead to a generation of damaged men and women who will then go on to raise another angry and confused generation if care is not taken and something is done to rehabilitate and integrate those were involved into a functional society.
8.Hassan seemed to have been portrayed as a villain but as I read further I find you trusted him more and I wonder if you hoped he would get some type of counseling too.
A) I hope Hassan would receive counselling and rehabilitation. So many innocent youths were forced into those wars. Of course there were some who were just downright terrible human beings like those hard core criminals who were released from prisons in every town the rebels took over. Now that these men and women have been disarmed….what now?
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9.With the benefit of hindsight, what would you have done differently?

A) After asking myself this question so many times over the years I cannot think of much I could have done. Apart from pleading with my mother not to travel that day, that was the last time my sister Mamawa and I saw her alive.
10.Is your book going to be available in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and would it be effective in helping to heal and reconcile the victims of this war?
A) This is my prayer that this book does great things for my countries, continent and
the world. I hope I can get SURVIVED:The Journey into both Liberia and Sierra Leone and that it is perceived and accepted it as a healing tool, that my story encourages talk about theirs and that the government in these countries do something to properly integrate these former rebels into society and heal the countries, I hope it is perceived as a history lesson, as well as a possible guide to how matters could be handled for the sake of the innocent civilians.
11. Please let us know, in what ways this recollections has affected you and what advice you might give young persons who may have been affected by the book
A) Reliving my experience in order for me to write my book has helped me accept that sometimes in life things beyond our control happen to us and we can never get answers to the question we need answered in order for us to move on. And that
sometimes being alive and healthy is all you need to ask God to give you courage to summon the strength to see his grace in your life. My questions were: Why? Who gave these people the right to invade my life, disrupt my home, and tear me away from my mother? Who said it was ok to snatch my innocence away? What makes them so worthy? God where were you, Why were you so angry to let it happen?
To every young boy or girl who reads my book, be courageous, stand for your truth and be yourself. No bad situation lasts forever. Have a lot of compassion for yourself and your peers.
Every new day is a promise.

12.What group of people will you recommend to read your book?
I believe that this is a good read for people of ages 15 and up. There is a lesson in it for everyone. Our politicians too could learn a thing or two.
13.Please give us links to anyone interested in buying the book.
SURVIVED: The Journey can be purchased at http://www.survivedthejourney.com or amazon.com or http://amzn.com/0473246244
For comments and discussions after you have read please find me at amazon.com/author/survivedthejourney.com Also at https://www.goodreads.com/httpwwwsurvivedthejourneycom

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Blood Contract

Hey, I am feeling pink, because Bobby took me back to my very first novel internationally. He read my very first novel with IFWG publishing. BLOOD CONTRACT.
Couple of my religious friends were scared off by the title imagining I was going to write about some voodoo stuff. Those were very puzzling days, confusing to me as well. It was an ey-opener learning that my side of the pond had yet to get over the bogey thrown into them by our white masters about our local brewed religion. I think that was why I wrote the Numen Yeye series. I must have told you how Numen Yeye started and so much has passed since the days of BLOOD CONTRACT.Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00061]
However as I learned and hopefully grew in the novel writing business, I got into the habit of reviewing books for authors like me. Some of the authors paid me back by offering to read my own books. That natural law of give and take happened recently with Bobby and I.
So he first bought Rose of Numen and then gave me the extra gift of reading my very first book. This is what he put in amazon.com and goodreads.
“I really enjoyed Biola’s book Blood Contract and recommend others read it. It kept me intrigued and wanting to read more. As someone who knows nothing about the Niger Delta, I found this book to be very informative of the land, culture, and societal problems. Blood Contract deals with issues of corruption, greed, evil, rape, oil bunkering, family, societal norms, God and poverty, just to name a few. I am now more informed of the Niger Delta, the damage of oil bunkering, the corruption of young boys and men, and the suffering that exists in that part of the world. I also found Biola’s writing to be inspiring and I look forward to reading her other books as well”.
A river has passed under the bridge since that book was written. I had an offer to have the book made into a film script. I even had the script written and my excitement rode the skies, but then this was my country and for all the dreams of mice and men. Sigh…. Who knows you just might read this and decide to send me a query about the book. So I will be waiting okay?
What makes us write? What do we want to achieve? For every million unknown writers out there in the great world, there are the tiny few that attract attention and somehow hold that attention.
When I started to write some 42 years ago, I had very small illusions about making the millions or even smile to the bank. But I had stars in my eyes about the written word and that excitement has outlived all other feeling till date.
I am crazy about writing. I have written television plays to educate adolescents, parents, and written just about every topic including horror!
I hope I have matured over the years, 42 years ought to count for something right? But I am still interested in human beings, our dreaming, and the painful thud when we have to face the hard grind of reality.
An elder in my community who had written for longer than I have, answered my naïve question about living on writing with a gentle laugh, said I might be hungry for a long time. He was right. But I feel like a child in a candy store when I am asked to write a story and I can deliver that story within days. Television scripts I might add. Writing a full length novel was a different kettle of fish.
So what do you think? Did you ever read that my first love affair with the virtual world when I clicked on a name and he became a much loved publisher… Gerry Huntman.
I have been blurbing right? I don’t know really but I feel like just sharing with you this time. You know like some friend you are used to warbling with. Lol.
Chat soon

A MARRIAGE OF THE GODS AWAITS – Rose of Numen

“A beautiful narrative of our world and the connections with the finer world. In my opinion, this work is a depiction of the imagery of events that shall(will) NOW usher in the New Age of all our cultures. Consciously we will welcome New leaders and kings amongst us. I raise my ancient spear in salute to the author – Biola Olatunde. We all need to read it, fiction or nonfiction – the imagery that makes the new must flow!!” – Odjegberen Oghenechovwen ‘Keyan Ugen. Prince-Priest of the Ancient Ughievwen Kingdom.
These words gave me a sense of doing something worthwhile. Rose of Numen which is book two of the Numen series started something in me. It was meant as fiction but I had based quite a lot of what I wrote on the people around me. My village and her customs played a significant role in making me conscious of my roots. I had listened to my grandmother talk to me about gods and goddesses and they were not evil blood sucking leeches as my civilization had portrayed to me. Do I believe in this traditional form of worship? I am not sure but I find I was not willing to push things under the carpet as my friends and colleagues tend to do. I am Nigerian, specifically a Yoruba woman and was not prepared to call everything black magic. I am not into dark arts. Most of the practices puzzle me but I gradually learnt that by whatever name we call religion or even the lack of it, humanity needs to understand it. When we have an urgent need to feel that there is a purpose to our existence.
When I was writing the television series for the United Nations Population fund, I remember wanting to talk to traditional chiefs what they thought of female genital mutilation. I did not want to just dismiss it as evil but I wanted to learn why we started the practice in the first place and I asked myself where we missed the point even as I tried to rationalize the reasons for it. When I finally wrote against it, it was because I finally had a conviction of why it was wrong.
Couple of my friends are wondering if I had become a traditionalist after they had read Rose Of Numen. I sensed their restraint and was at first puzzled then as recognition dawned that they wondered about me, I felt pity for them. Our civilization has not done much for us. A large portion of our convictions is dependent on miracles, prosperity and the ability to weed out witches and wizards. We sometimes pay lip service to a religion because it is expected of us. I hate talking or writing about religion because it is divisive so don’t run away to another blog just yet will you?
My question has always been, if we recognize that Man lives at three levels of consciousness, what makes us accept that there were only particular races that had evolved on all three levels? Man acts, speaks and thinks on a very gross material level. In finer consciousness he is evolved enough to wonder about the cosmos, things beyond his ethereal consciousness and he wonders about a Creator.
My conversation is kind of heavy right? I guess it is, because the world right now is a puzzling place to be in. We are faced with the imminent realization to accept that humanity is at war with itself. An ideological war that brooks no compromises from the protagonists and antagonists whichever side you seem to find yourself. It is a question about a right to existence based on an idea, that goes to the very root of man’s concept of existence and the rationale for it.
Is there a meeting point? I remember Nostradamus warned that if humanity fails to resolve this, the next war will be fought with sticks and stones. A lot of things don’t make sense to me anymore so you could say I am a very confused old woman these days. I have tried to put all the killings into a perspective and I have failed to understand. There is a heavy sadness in me . I know I am not Atlas and it is a road that leads nowhere wondering how we have suddenly become a murderous bunch that kill without reason.
Where did we miss the point I ask myself. In my tradition, we would have gone to the gods and asked to know who had committed an abomination on the land and then we would look for ways to expiate it. Sadly we stopped listening to the cries of the gods that there is silence now in the market place just the rattle of the old bones is echoed by the eerie silence.
There is a dance in the forest of masquerades, who are afraid to come to the market because the drums they hear are the drums of war. We could fly a flag but only one flag will do, the flag of humanity and we do not even know what colour that should be.

Impressions of a spiritual kind

My first reaction when I downloaded this ebook was to give a sigh of relief that I could breeze through the reading of the book, when I saw it was only 36 pages. I settled in and open the first page then blinked. I was startled at my first experience of reading somebody talking to me through layers. No strike that, I had experienced that when I wrote my second novel Numen Yeye.
My eyebrows were raised when the first pages seemed to be questions from a Western outlook. I excused my disappointment as I recognized that I must have missed the first two books that Johanna was referring to. I am African, Nigerian, actually and specifically from that part of the country where being a woman had both its limitations and strengths. I am a Yoruba woman.
As I grew up, I quickly learnt what it means being a woman and the first things were the limitations, so I tended to be impatient with the first few questions, which had very little to do with my world concept, until we got to a few questions and Mary started talking about womanhood, now she got my full attention and happily held it to the end. The beauty of Johanna’s writing was she handed over the story to Mary Magdalene and stayed severely in the background to the very end.
Mary Magdalene has held the attention of every spiri-t striving woman through the ages. I always asked this question when I was young. How could love be a sin? What annoyed the writers of the Holy Book so much that they defiled her so unremittingly?
Mary of Magda sums it all up for me this way: That I loved a man so powerful and yet maintained my own identity even in the face of no acceptance. That was the toughest love you could hand over and the toughest role that you could be asked to fill in.
She remained a beacon for women the world over who have faced such tough choices by a male dominated society. We still raise our brows at the sound or mention of her name and have a smirk, a self- complacent smile and I always wondered that even fellow women have not done any better in giving such a painful role to Mary of Magda.
I guess the seeking soul can only find the answers within. Like Mary says, Your role as a soul is to remember
Further on she urges, Honor your intuition, it is the voice of your soul.
The only offence Mary of Magda ever committed was she loved a powerful, great man whose divinity was clear, we also denied Him to right to love one personally for Himself and punished Mary to the forgotten pages of historical slumber.
Welcome to my blog and I would be happy to have, Mary give answers to these questions. Some of them will be regular and some will be as intuition guides me.
1. Why should women be interested in politics at all, they are the guardians of the soul of the Earth?
Women are earthbound souls who chose to live a human experience. It is the systems of the Earth that often dictate destiny. Politics is part of a larger world system that should not be ignored. Unfortunately, our voice as women is often small and unheard yet we should not ignore what is laid before us in the rules of any system. Wisdom is an innate gift women birth at various moments in their evolution. They feel truth in the heart of their soul and find it a challenge to put words into motion of their divine truths. Political history has silenced many voices through their archaic systems.
The women of the earth as in all cultures and systems must never forget that the voice of a small kitten can turn into the roar of a lioness. In this age, the lioness comes out of her cage and joins others. This is not only heard but seen as a force that can change political opinions and hence consciousness. It is a cause worth the effort.

2. Woman carries the finer energies because she is expected to serve as the transition of the realms along the path of spirituality even unto divinity, how can she achieve that in today’s world of crass materiality?
Women were birthed into the Divine Feminine energy to remind the world of all that is receptive, emotional and in movement. The evolved feminine soul has realization that she is a magnet of light who holds the beam of direction to understanding the material world that serves the higher aspect of all souls. She realizes the blessings along the journey in the material world without being manipulated or held back. She is unattached to this aspect of life and understands the desires of the soul and the needs of the physical world.
Why does the Christian books find the concept of marital love anathema in relation to Yeshua who is the love incarnate of the Almighty father?
Because the books of history did not know his true Holy Heart or intention. They created a story for social consumption to fit their own needs. It is a sadness that lies heavily to see this lack of wisdom. We reach many whose hearts are open. How can anyone ever describe the light and love of the divine if their minds are closed?

3. How can love be a sin? And how did you cope with the ridicule and suspicion through the ages?
Love is the purest state of connection with the divine that exists. It is a gift to live in this state of being. The sin is the misconception that when this gift of love is shared in the state of divine intention with another it has no divine purpose.
I came to the Earth with a divine mission and still continue to be a messenger. While in the body, I often felt my soul sad and my heart shattered for the labels. I parted the veils in my mind and touched the sweetness of love in my memory. This is all that matters even now as we watch the world twist and turn.

4. When you feel divine love, you are held in the cup of the universe, and know from within what bliss can be.. how can the woman of today make that possible in the home?
Your home is a temple which is sacred. It holds energy and intention. Create a sacred place in your home where you disconnect from the world and enter into the heart of peace and love. Sacred space holds bliss naturally when created from love. Make a commitment on a regular basis to experience this space and continue to breathe in love and breathe out fear. Feel the divine even in the simple things. It must become a habit.
5. I learned that Marriage can be likened to two streams flowing together in the same direction; each feeds the other but retains their individuality like you did in Yeshua and you joining, can we learn how to do in the face of the customs and practices of the society today?
If your customs are rigid then work within the customs and create your own unique identity. This must be discussed. We see much of this today; the desire to be free and dance in your own light. Do you know how to use energy to your advantage and bend the light inward? The paradigms shift with the ages. Allow divine timing to catch up for this should not ever be an inner struggle.
6. In the past in China and in Greek stories, the kingdom of women and Lesbo became extinct first because Lesbo was invaded by men and once noble ideals was manipulated and the story was thereafter distorted and made sordid and in the case of China, the kingdom of Women was finally conquered and contained, now you predict that when the five nations allow the voice of the feminine spirituality to be heard, there might be a change for the better. Could you explain further?
I tell you dear one something you already know about this history. The threat of power misunderstood caused this. The sacredness of these women and their choices was violated with soul ignorance. As the rights of humanity, including male and female, are recognized as a choice of soul evolution for the benefit of wholeness only then will society be open and release ignorance, judgments and fear from something they do not understand. A universal global voice must be heard that is cohesive in nature and that will only occur when male and female disconnect from the rage of the warring heart and enter into the flow of the harmony of the human spirit. As long as war exists you are in duality and polarity of opposition. There is a large wave of awareness and acceptance that is emerging yet a large portion of the Earth is still dark. It will take time and as you see leadership shift the work will begin for more tolerance. It is a long journey with some stumbles for the spiritual activist. The women of today are preparing their children for this. It warms us.
7. This question is for Johanna.. When you became a full fledged psychic, what was your experience like?
Two things show up for me with this question:
A. My first official reading was with a woman named Jan who called me one night. She was going through a divorce and was about to lose her adopted child to her then ‘husband’. She had heard about me through a man I was dating who told her I was gifted as I had given him some psychic information. I did not know he was sharing that info with anyone. I told her I did not do this kind of work and her response was, ‘well you do now!’ She told me when she would call, how long we would talk, and how much she was going to pay me. I agreed. During the reading, I was guided to tell her she was married to a bigamist and he had no legal rights to their adopted child. I guided her to go back to her attorney (and hopefully she was open to this reading information) and hire a detective. She did do that and they found out he had another legal wife and no rights to this child as they were not legally married! The attorney was open to psychic readings and then she started calling relative to the case and personal issues. During the court case the reading was entered as evidence as I am in the family law court records in San Diego, County which is pretty cool. She then gave my name to others and my referral system began. It was all word of mouth.

As a result of that show, the three of us were asked to be on a TV show called The Other Side in LA. The host was very clear that I was NOT to use the word psychic so I said, ‘ok no problem I will use intuitive.’ The show begins he comes over to me and says, ‘so are you a psychic?” and I said, ‘yes’!

B. I had just started doing my psychic readings and a client invited me to a party with some of her friends. She walked me over to an elderly man and said, ‘this is my psychic.’ He thought she said ‘sidekick’ and started to laugh. I gulped down and said, ‘no I am her spiritual psychic.’ Everyone in the room gave me a funny look and turned away. This was my first public coming out party to the world as a psychic so I felt terrible. I went outside on a patio all alone and then after a bit, one by one each person came out to chat with me. They were loving and accepting and asked for my cards. I was not there to entertain them and I left feeling very loved and appreciated.

8. How can one separate a true psychic from a darn good psychologist or charlatan?
Get a referral and check their credentials. Ask them about their training and psychic development. A gifted psychic has refined their gift. They are loving compassionate and genuinely kind. If they are professional and valid in this day and age, there should be information about them on the internet. We are spiritual guides who MUST come from love and wholeness. If anyone starts to creep you out or instill fear in you, STOP THE SESSION AND DO NOT PAY THEM. You are paying for their time. They gift you the door to wisdom but their ego is not there. If it doesn’t feel right, speak up and leave. You should always leave a spiritual session of any kind feeling lifted up, confident and with a greater sense of direction. The decision is up to you to apply the Law of Action. Any psychic who tells you have to come back again and again is not trustworthy. Do your homework and trust your intuition.
9. This final question is for Mary of Magda: In the face of the fact that the world has lost its innocence and can no longer turn willingly to spiritual contemplation, has changed the signposts and women are no longer true guardians of purity, what do you suggest should be the way forward now for women?
Women must reclaim their divine feminine rights as keepers of light and guardians of an Earth that needs healing. You must start first on a journey of self-discovery, not over analyzing to discover self-love. Only then will you be a beacon of light towards the inner world of light and love. This has nothing to do with anyone else other than YOU.
I recently wrote a book called The Lost Art of Loving which is all about that journey of awareness. I have been told it is like a mini spiritual seminar for women. A return to innocence is available; we merely have to discover it once again. The soul remembers everything to take you there. Our journey as women reminds me of the inscription written over many of the ancient temples and what I saw in France while doing Mary Magdalene retreats: KNOW THYSELF. It has to start with that before you can hold the light for others to follow.

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