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Blackbright - Elena2_Blackbright May 2008 01/12/2010 07:31 Page 1

Black - Bright Stimulates - Educates - Motivates Issue 23


What do we need men for?


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While it is wise to weigh up the pros and cons when meeting someone new, it is more importantly to assess whether you have similar natures and values. What do men need women for? History tells us it’s to nurture and look after them and to give them children? However, what happens if you have a woman and she is not nurturing? What happens when the children have grown and left home? What then? I believe men and women want the same thing. They want someone to make a difference for the better - to improve the quality of their lives in some way. It might mean coming home to warm hug, a hot bath and dinner; listening to the issue of the day; helping with a project; taking turns with the housework, allowing ‘me’ time, but something to make a difference. It’s in our innate nature to be with someone, so do your best to cultivate friendships and once in a relationship, try to make sure that you are not magnifying problems or projecting past issues on new relationships if you want it to last. There is no need for single men to feel disheartened - they need to believe that they are needed by women in areas they could not imagine and in ways that might only cost them their time. Similarly, women need to feel they are needed too. Partners need to show appreciation, consideration and respect, especially since there seems to be a role reversal in certain situations. But is it really role reversal? I prefer to think of it as compromise!


What do women need men for? During a conversation about the Talkin’ Blues forum - I was asked: “What do women need men for, because they have their own homes and make enough money to look after themselves? This individual looked quite disempowered, which made me wonder what other men thought. From what I gather, the majority of women want a partner if he is going to make a difference to their lives, which can be in a number of ways that have nothing to do with income and/or status. Many women who appear to be managing on their own would prefer to have someone to supplement them, and I am sure there are men out there, who would like the same. The problem is, for those who have felt cheated in the past (whether it is because they gave more than what they got, or for some other reason) they might feel apprehensive about relationships for fear of ‘losing’ again so they prefer to be non-commital. Who can blame them when relationships have left them feeling bitter and afraid? There have been manipulative marriages where ex-spouses benefited from 50% of net assets when they put minimal in; where spouses only married them for visa/economic status, leaving them when they had cultivated sufficient ‘years’ to benefit from being in the relationship – so it is easy to understand the apprehensiveness of resourceful individuals who choose to stay on their own rather than be taken for ride. So is fear going to override impulse, instinct, passion, chemistry and slowly destroy the connubial race? Getting back to the subject - women do need men but the question is, what are they willing to compromise in order to keep them? Past challenging experiences/relationships cannot, and should not, drive your decision about whether to have a partner in your life or not.

By Myrna Loy, Chief Editor

Blackbright News The Total Quality, Information-Based Publication that Stimulates, Educates, Motivates & Elevates The Cultural Learning Magazine developed to redress inaccurate perceptions! email: Managing Editor: Myrna Loy Graphic Designer: Elena Andrijauskaite ISSN No. 1751–1909 This is an Online Publication Only


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1 What Do Women Need Men For? Editorial



3 Media Snubs Government’s Success! Delano Seiveright, Contributor


5 DA-ip Presents “We Don’t Talk Anymore” (Bridging the Gap)


7 DID YOU KNOW? A Mirror or a 2-Way Glass? A Black Man Buys Gatwick


8 On Aging... Youth Black Faith



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9 English Producer Scores Big with Etana 10 Epitaph Laiton Holgate (RIP)



11 Feature Story: My Life In Crisis (A Sickle Cell Sufferer's Life Story) by Laiton Holgate


15 SELFMADE by Carl Foster

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MEDIA SNUBS GOVERNMENT’S SUCCESS! Delano Seiveright, Contributor The respected Londonbased weekly The Economist, on September 9 carried a refreshing story on two of the Jamaican Government's major successes: its coordinated and sustained assault on crime and violence, and the Jamaica Debt Exchange (JDX) programme.

It certainly would have been more difficult to achieve without the substantive push of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other multilateral institutions, which, eventually, paved the way for a crucial standby arrangement with the fund. What is still remarkable is the fact that the debt exchange was achieved without the much anticipated, at the time, capital flight or a run on the dollar. Even more remarkable is the 99.2 per cent participation rate which, to this day, remains the highest on record worldwide.

It comes as no surprise that Jamaica's news media have not placed more emphasis on the huge successes in the economy and on the crime and violence front. As is also the case in Britain and the United States of America, too much of the 'news' is focused on the sensational and usually negative events. It may very well be that human beings today are more interested in negative and sensational headlines rather than more positive stories.

Despite its tremendous success, the JDX rarely gets rave reviews in Jamaica. The government-run Jamaica Information Service reported on June 7, the European Union's ambassador to Jamaica, Marco Mazzocchi Alemanni giving positive reviews of the Jamaica Debt Exchange at a social-project signing in Kingston. The ambassador pointed out that the debt exchange "has given (Jamaica) very important breathing space ... We can see it from the macroeconomic figures that are coming in. Jamaica is doing well; it is doing better than a number of countries in the region and worldwide. Jamaica is doing better than some of the European Union countries, and it is, because it is, at long last, tackling this tremendous burden of debt."

In a relatively competitive local news-media landscape, news editors and their owners alike must be hard-pressed to put out an interesting and sellable product day after day. This, however, cannot be used as an excuse for the limited coverage of the major and very positive happenings in the economy, and on the crime and violence front. While segments of the local news continue to give weight to sensational stories such as the Manatt, Phelps & Phillips saga, many local and international observers and institutions continue to note the huge successes happening in Jamaica.

Busy reporters Of course, the news media in June 2010 were understandably busy reporting heavily on postChristopher 'Dudus' Coke-extradition events and were certainly not in the mood to speak on any local economic successes at that or at anytime.

Jamaica debt exchange

Roughly a month earlier, on April 28, The London Times ran a most uplifting piece pointing to the JDX as a model that could inform Greece's options for a way out of its economic crisis. The London Times noted that "the conventional wisdom, when a restructuring of Greek debt is discussed, is that such a move would be disorderly in the extreme. But that may not necessarily be the case, to judge from recent events in Jamaica, the one example of a sovereign default so far, this year." Again, there wasn't substantial coverage of this glowing story in the local news media. At this time, Manatt and preDudus extradition developments dominated.

The JDX is, arguably, the world's most successful debt-management initiative. The J$700-billion initiative saw the voluntary exchange of existing bonds, excluding treasury bills issued by the Government in the local market for new bonds of the same principal value, but which have lower interest costs and longer maturities. The Government inherited a country drowning in public debt of which, over the past 10 years, the cost of servicing exceeded total revenues and grants by an average of 112 per cent per annum. Some sort of debt operation was an absolute necessity in a flatlined economic environment characterised by 'permanently' high interest rates, high levels of unproductivity, and little or no growth.

What is generally covered are the negative spins on each programme. The negative reactions from 3

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some interests regarding the sale of Air Jamaica, and gripes from the Opposition and a handful of commentators and 'analysts' about the difficult economic realities are given far too much play in the news media.

responsibility laws, better financial regulation, improved treasury management, reduced corruption, and a macroeconomic environment characterised by lower interest rates that ultimately reduce fiscal deficits and frees up capital for private-sector investments.

There seems to be no interest whatsoever by some of these 'commentators' and 'analysts' to highlight Clearly, it is now crucial that news editors accept the following: the shortcomings in their reporting and seek to bring about a better balance. Additionally, the Six-month benchmark treasury bill rates are hover- hypocrisy of the 'commentators' and 'financial anaing at eight per cent - the lowest in 32 years. lysts' must be addressed quickly. At the very least, print and electronic news editors should put out a The re-engagement of the multilaterals, namely, brief profile of each 'commentator' and 'financial the Inter-American Development Bank, the World analyst', outlining critical aspects of their history Bank, and the Caribbean Development Bank, hav- and current life whenever they give commentary. ing seen Jamaica accessing funds at interest rates For example, John Brown is a former adviser to the ranging from 0.63 per cent to just fewer than five former minister of finance, Jill Scott. He is also a per cent - the lowest in decades. former executive member of the Communist Association of Jamaica. This is increasingly The successes of the JDX. becoming the norm in American and British media. The JA$10 billion in annual savings that will occur Delano Seiveright is president of Generation 2000 with the sale of Air Jamaica. (G2K), the young professional affiliate of the Jamaica Labour Party. The Government's courage to get out there and ramp up tax compliance, which has resulted in increased tax revenues over the past two years. The passing of the last two IMF tests so far. There was widespread reporting of possible failure in the local news media. However, on June 18, JP Morgan, one of the world's leading financial services firms, quoted the IMF as saying the following: "Jamaica has performed very well under the programme, and has met all quantitative performance targets and structural benchmarks for end-March", and "the prospects for meeting end-June targets and benchmarks appear favourable" . Again, there was not much news in the local media about this. Neither was there any positive news coming from those regular 'commentators' and 'analysts'. What is even more fascinating is the unwillingness of some of these 'commentators' and 'analysts' to highlight just how broad and far-reaching the economic programme is, and that it serves as a template to placing the country firmly on track for growth and development. The IMF agreement, and the efforts of the Government, have sought to ensure that Jamaica stays committed to strong fiscal consolidation, tight budgeting, divestment, fiscal 4

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WE DON’T TALK ANYMORE.. (Bridging the Generation Gap) In November last, I sat on a panel of auspicious individuals who were divided into two groups. On my right, there was a group of young people aged between 15 and 25, aspiring to be anything from a forensic scientist to a lawyer; and on my left, adults aged 50+ As for me, I was somewhere in the middle, young in age and appearance, but seasoned with life experiences and accomplishments! Hosting this event was Robert Lee (Educator & Music Producer); Pauline Catlin-Reid (Creative Director of DA-IP (Diversity Arts Incubation Programme)) and Geoff Schumann (Educator & Comedian). Marlonn Morgan of Jamrock Media was responsible for the video engineering. The title of the event was “We Don’t Talk Anymore” and the mandate of ‘Generations Together’ (a sub-project of DA-ip) was to “get both older and younger people to ask questions of each other and to find answers”. There were deemed many reasons for the lack of communication between the two generations. If we chose the video produced by Marlonn as the foundation for information, we would surmise that it was because young people have no respect, have no interest, are lazy and have no ambition. If we opted for the comments from the adult panel, we would surmise that it was because young people lack parental support, are victims of peer pressure, lack of spirituality and adult guidance. When Geoff asked the young people why they found it difficult to communicate with adults (or their parents) they admitted that they were fed up of being talked at and down to, although one member felt her mother had worked so hard that she wanted to ‘pay her back’ by being a child she could be proud of. A 15 year old boy on the panel didn’t like the way the system was today and felt that as a lawyer he could change things. I deduced that by and large the young people on the panel had made the decision themselves to ‘do better.’ As I sat there internalising the comments from different members of the panel and the floor, together with responses to the questions that Geoff fired at different segments of the audience, I tried to identify the essence of what was missing and what was needed – the verbal bricks that would bridge the generation gap. I believe, after some reflection, that each individual whether young or old, takes responsibility for their own success, and that would account for why those who were raised from single parent families; were abused, neglected or raised void of love could still become ‘something’ and be ‘somebody’ - in other words, still 5

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be successful despite adversity. According to psychotherapist, John Bowlby, we just ‘need enough’ for our particular circumstances. We blame so much on the system and our parents, but the most loving parent can still produce vagrants and will be left asking where did I go wrong? Many of us believe that because we are older, we naturally know all the answers, but even in Matthew 21:16 it prophesies: “Out of the mouth of babes and suckling’s ..”

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Young people have access to the internet and learn that way, so while they may appear to be ‘disinterested’ or always on the computer, it could be their way of learning, networking, gathering information and probably why current teaching methods are not effective! Young people already know what is being taught so they get bored and demotivated. Teachers now need to be assessing levels and challenging students - setting questions and asking them to bring back answers. Teaching could be done remotely like in Sweden! Young people today are learning in a different way and therefore need to be taught in a way that gives them more intellectual autonomy.

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How do we bridge the gap so we can communicate with our young people? By not taking them for granted; by not stereotyping them as hoodrats, lazy and lacking ambition, but by appreciating that they may know more than us in some areas. We should not feel intimidated or inadequate because of their knowledge, but should support/supplement them in areas where we, as parents/grandparents have life (if not academic) experience, (e.g. when they say something that could be right in theory, we can illustrate the obstacles that may arise in practice)

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We don’t have to be academics to support our young – we just need to be able to offer them knowledge in our areas of expertise and we all have our area!

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‘We Don’t Talk Anymore’ was a very valuable forum, and one where I felt those who attended left feeling enlightened and motivated!

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DA-Ip is encouraging the sharing of skills through volunteering specifically among the African Caribbean community and it can be anything from sharing cooking to business skills. Telephone: +44 01582 878202 if this is something you would like to offer your skills, from mentoring to supporting in any way you feel you can be of service.

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Myrna Loy 6

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DID YOU KNOW ... that they can see you but you can’t see them? A Mirror or a 2-Way Glass? How can you tell when you are in a room, restroom, motel etc. with a mirror or a 2-way glass? Here's how: I thought it was quite interesting! And I know in about 30 seconds you're going to do what I did and find the nearest mirror. Do you know how to determine if a mirror is 2-way or not? A police woman who travels all over and gives seminars and techniques for businesswomen passed this on. When we visit toilets, bathrooms, hotel rooms, changing rooms, etc., how many of you know for sure that the seemingly ordinary mirror hanging on the wall is a real mirror, or actually a 2-way mirror (i.e., they can see you, but you can't see them)? There have been many cases of people installing 2-way mirrors in female changing rooms . It is very difficult to positively identify the surface by looking at it. So, how do we determine with any amount of certainty what type of mirror we are looking at? Just conduct this simple test: Place the tip of your fingernail against the reflective surface and if there is a GAP between your fingernail and the image of the nail, then it is GENUINE mirror. However, if your fingernail DIRECTLY TOUCHES the image of your nail, then it is a TWO WAY MIRROR! "No Space, Leave the Place" So remember, every time you see a mirror, do the "fingernail test." It doesn't cost you anything.

Adebayo O. Ogunlesi Bayo Ogunlesi is the Chairman and Managing Partner of GIP and is based in New York City.

Black man bought Gatwick I would never have imagined in my lifetime that this was even possible, a black man buying Gatwick Airport! Then again, I never thought that I'd see a black man in the Whitehouse either!! I was pleasantly surprised to learn about this story, Nigerian born Adebayo Ogunlesi will be the new owner of Gatwick airport!! I want to take this moment to acknowledge and congratulate Mr. Ogunlesi on what he's doing and say that he is a huge inspiration and living proof of what IS possible!!! I than Wunmi for the "tip-off" on this! Now, my question is, why did the mainstream media keep this so very, very quiet? I was even more surprised that not even the BBC covered this story, or any of the other major news networks including CNN! "What's that all about?" I asked myself and thought it quite strange that a man, Adebayo Ogunlesi spends over a billion pounds on an international airport in one of the world's major cities, the city that's recognised as the financial centre of the world and there's no real coverage?? Bayo previously served as Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Client Officer of Credit Suisse’s Investment Banking Division with senior responsibility for Credit Suisse’s corporate and sovereign investment banking clients. From 2002 to 2004, he was Head of Credit Suisse’s Global Investment Banking Department, responsible for worldwide capital markets (debt and equity), mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and advisory, industry, country and regional banking businesses. Bayo was previously Head of Global Power, Utilities and Project Finance in 1994, and from 19972002, served as Head of the Global Energy Group (power, utilities, oil and gas, chemicals, mining and project finance). Prior to becoming an investment banker, he was an attorney with the New York law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore. From 1980 to 1981, he served as a Law Clerk to the Honorable Thurgood Marshall, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.


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ON AGING... As I've aged, I've become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend. I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging. Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM or sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60 &70's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love I will. I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set. They, too, will get old. I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things. Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody's beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect. I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver. As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore. I've even earned the right to be wrong. So, to answer your question, I like being older. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it).

YOUTH BLACK FAITH YOUTH BLACK FAITH/aka the voice of today's youth is a small recording label with large voices, whose roots spring from the teachings of Haile Selassie I, through the divine order of the Nyahbinghi. Through word, sound and power, the Faith deeds to do the same as their forefathers who fought for liberation of the minds of African people through the teachings of Rastafari. Simply, Youth Black Faith represents consciousness movement and exemplifies it within their music. Their tracks have been played on radio stations worldwide and international with great feedback and responses. Please help me introduce to you: Issac Faith, Abnormal, Bucky Ital,Dwayne rose ,Dann strange, Sammy Dawg, Danjah Q, ItahTorche, Lady blue and Natty kasha - Youth Black Faith! you can also join them on reverbnation http://www.reverbnation/youthblackfaith Warrior Empress, Director of radio promotions in Trinidad and Boston 8

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English ProducEr scorEs Big with Etana riddim that "August Town" is built over. Although "August Town" is an isolated incident in Etana's community, it speaks to people all over. "The thing about 'August Town' is that its real and heartfelt," says the song's producer Curtis Lynch. "Real Reggae fans can relate to this tune because it reminds us of what's going on in and around Jamaica and worldwide." "The day the events in August Town took place Etana came to the studio with them fresh in her mind and I wanted to capture these feelings.....this tune just has all of the ingredients for it to continue rocking Europe for years to come and it stays true to Etana and what she stands for," adds Lynch. In addition to "August Town," Lynch produced the lover's rock tune "Heart Broken" for Etana. This new single, which is a riveting love song over a slower paced dubwise track, is also making an impression in Europe. Notably, "Heart Broken" recently made it's debut on the dubvendor chart.

London based producer Curtis Lynch, of Necessary Mayhem Records, is riding high from the buzz of "August Town" -- a song that he produced for the soulful Reggae crooner Etana. Although Etana has a wealth of red-hot Reggae music on the rise, "August Town" has exploded in Europe.

Curtis Lynch is one of Europe's most visible Reggae music producers. Over the years, he has produced for many great artists. Describing himself as someone blessed with a hunger to achieve, Lynch regularly lends his talents to established artists and newcomers. His discography speaks for itself. Proudly, Lynch runs Necessary Mayhem Records, one of Europe's biggest Reggae labels, and the online music portal

"August Town," the lead single on Lynch's "Inner City Lady" riddim, propels Etana outside of her soulinfused rootsy style of music -- introducing her to dubwise -- a sub-genre of Reggae that is heavy on drum, bass and dub effects with very sparse rhythm. Based on the overwhelming response to "August Town" in Europe, it's clear that the Curtis However, Etana’s latest new tune is ‘Free’ which is Lynch/Etana combination could possibly result in a the title track of her latest album and is produced by number one song. VP Records. “Etana's smooth vocals and soft melody once again puts her in the forefront and this To further display the success of "August Town" in song is a great addition to your collection!” says Europe, the single has touched down on numerous Shelly Lopez, President & CEO of Dask charts including dubvendor (England's Choice FM), Entertainment. soundquake (Germany) and Riddim (Germany). Additionally, many Radio and club DJs through out Europe find "August Town" to be a powerful record, LOOK OUT FOR ETANA'S NEW ALBUM one that speaks to their listeners. In the Fall, Etana "FREE ExPRESSIONS" IN went to England to promote "August Town" and FEBRUARY 2011. other new music, which sparked the interest in the single. RHONA FOX VP RECORDS Scores of Reggae music fans have embraced DIRECTOR OF PUBLICITY "August Town" for it's piercing social commentary (RHONA.FOX@VPRECORDS.COM) and Etana's silky smooth vocals. And of course, the massive have taken to the raw and edgy dubwise 9

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I wasn’t a relative but I felt I had not been listening properly to his cries for help. I had often heard him say he was looking for someone who was strong enough to see him through his ‘crisis’. His independence made him push people away when he was in hospital because he felt it was too much for loved ones to see him with “tubes inserted”. On reflection, I could have formed a group of rotational members that could have been there for him during those times.

Laiton Holgate (RIP) (4 February 1954 - 16 November 2010)

On Wednesday, 17 November, I received a call from a friend of mine, who told me that our mutual friend, Laiton, had died. At first I felt disbelief, and then I felt immense sorrow. I could not understand why someone, who was not my family, affected me so much. As I went over it in my mind, I think it was guilt that made me so sorrowful. His death reminded me of a very close friend of mine who died a few years ago, who was talking to me about how difficult life had become for her. I left her with the words “try to be strong, and leave the circumstances since it is so unbearable”, believing that she could handle things in a way I would have done. I had not taken into consideration that she was completely broken and not as mentally strong as I was. I had not read in between the lines and three days later she was dead.

So many of us leave the responsibility to care for friends/neighbours/relatives to ‘someone else’. “His children were around” I heard people say – but children have their own lives these days and could not be with him 24/7 and nor would he have wanted them to be. Laiton was always immaculately dressed. He behaved very independently although his medication made him drowsy. He did not want to rely on anyone driving him around and often minimised his condition. It was a culmination of circumstances which caused his untimely death. Laiton lived in Luton and left behind a loving family, and many friends. Laiton was a qualified counsellor who ran his own company ‘Life4Living. Laiton was a colleague and a gentleman. I know he will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him, especially me!

Laiton Holgate was someone I had met through a friend. I was presenting a sickle cell awareness programme when I used to work as a presenter on Life FM (a NW London radio station), and my friend suggested I interview him about his condition on the radio. However, at the time, he was in hospital (although I didn’t know it at the time) and had not responded to my emails and phone calls, so I ended up interviewing the head of the Sickle Cell organisation in NW London.

Myrna Loy

Laiton became one of those people who you did not worry about if you had not heard from him because he was usually ‘in hospital’, and we tended to assume ‘in safe hands’. He lived on a road that bore his name, only a 5-minute walk from the hospital, and his choice of address was a deliberate acquisition. He realised that his trips to the hospital were so frequent that he needed to live close by to the institution that became his second home. When I got the news, somehow, I felt I had betrayed him. 10

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MY LIFE IN CRISIS (A SICKLE CELL SUFFERER'S LIFE STORY) By Laiton Holgate When Lenworth Laiton Holgate [Lenny to my friends] - let out a wail soon after birth on that cold February day it was the most robust cry the hospital had ever heard and, as it was coming from the first Black baby to enter the hospital it was even more eventful My mother still has the newspaper cutting to this day, recording the facts, it was 1954 in Ware Hospital, Balham, south London. It was so cold that year that many babies died in the first few months from hypothermia.

ed tour, she sat on a bench and watched. It was only then she realised it was not a guided tour but the crowd were fascinated at the sight of a Black baby - ME. For my sins I went to the local Honeywell Primary and Junior school. Here my sickle cell symptoms were apparent in the fact I was always thirsty, I remember around mid-morning when we had our bottle of milk, I was never satisfied, until I discovered that milk-monitors were allowed to have seconds. I was a milk monitor from that day forward.

I also drank a lot from the water fountains that were dotted around the school playground. Not realising what was wrong with me I was led to believe I was just plain greedy. Around this time I started running errands for my mother, she would send me with a note to the local shop or I would have to go to the Town Hall to pay the rates as they were called then; sometimes I would have to go to the I was the third of four children from a close family. My Bank to pay in my father's wages. I ran everywhere and father worked for British Rail and my mother worked became well known in the neighbourhood. I was a familiar sight dashing across Lavender Hill with cars missing from the front room as a dressmaker. me by inches. At the age of about two years I became very ill with 'pneumonia' and had to be placed in an oxygen tent, looking back I often wonder if this was my first sickle cell crisis. No one realised then that I had the sickle cell disease, infact few people today know about sickle cell, so you can imagine the ignorance was rife back in the late 1950s.

For the most part school was pretty much uneventful. I do however remember one occasion when I was crossing the road and felt really bad, the lollipop lady noticed this seconds before I collapsed. I later learnt that both she and the local fishmonger took me home.

As a toddler I suffered very badly with eczema and was referred to Woolwich Hospital, as they were the leading specialists in childhood skin complaints. I once spent two months in hospital. My parents came to visit every Sunday. Can you imagine the journey from Battersea to Woolwich; even their trip from the West Indies could not have prepared them for this. The specialists concluded that as I was kept very warm my natural oils were drying out, however if I was not kept warm I became ill. Again this is a symptom of sickle cell - sufferers need to be kept dry and warm at all times. We were the first Black family to move into Altenburg Gardens which is close to Clapham Common, it was not like it is today where every other person you meet is a 'brother', it was very different, it seemed quieter. We lived in one of the many big houses that have now been converted into expensive flats. My parents had a mortgage as in those days having a council house was considered a privilege and we were far from privileged. In fact back then the British were so ignorant about ethnic minorities that it was believed to touch a Black baby was good luck My mother stopped taking me out because wherever we went we drew crowds of British people. On one occasion my mother took me to Hyde Park a little way off she saw a large group of people on what she assumed to be a guid-

I worked hard at Secondary school and enjoyed attending. I can remember my mother saying to me "you don't have to go in if you don't feel up to it", but I loved going to school and couldn't get enough of it so I went religiously. Between 1968 and 1971 ran for London in the 100 yards and then in the 100 metres. During this time I had no problems with my health. I applied to Ford’s Motor Company for the position of Trainee Draughtsman but after three interviews I was


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rejected. However my English friend with fewer qualifications than myself was offered the position. Of course I had faced prejudice before in my life but at that stage it hit me more than at any other time, after all this was my future at stake. I was taken on as a Junior Draughtsman on a work experience-training programme at Roehampton Hospital where they make artificial limbs. Although I found the job very rewarding I found it emotionally difficult when it came to physically fitting the limbs to children. I decided to go back to school and sit a further three 0 levels.On securing these grades I applied for a place at the London University Imperial College. I attended the interview with my parents and I can remember a member of staff telling us that we must have made a mistake andcome to the wrong building!! I suppose looking back when they received an application from a " Lenworth L H" born in 1954, in England, it did not conjure up visions ofa BLACK MANI! Wrong building or not I got the place and started my engineering degree course. Here again I had no obvious symptoms of sickle cell disease and enjoyed my time immensely at university. It was while I was at university that 1 was offered the position of Trainee Lab Technician. I accepted and about a year later was made redundant. This preceded a run of employment followed by redundancies. This was the time of the three day week' and things looked gloomy, so much so that I saw a Government funded job opportunity in Canada and decided that as Britain did not have much to offer I was leaving. First I had to be interviewed by my proposed employers • a large engineering company - and I also had to have a medical. Surprise, surprise, I was given a clean bill of health, Canada was calling and I was answering, I felt so pleased with myself that I thought I was going to burst. However on the day I was leaving England I remember I felt quite sad, I had never been away from home for any great period, my plane was late so I went to have something to eat as I had time to kill, uncharacteristically I had a SALAD.

my own arrangements. Therefore he was at the airport to meet me as I was taken from the plane on a stretcher bound for the hospital. The staff there thought 1 was suffering from food poisoning. Even I in my state found this hard to believe, I felt as if I had not eaten anything in MONTHS. The hospital ran tests and then more tests. After some hours it was decided that I should be discharged. As it was too late to go to my colleague's house, as was the original plan, I was put up for the night in a hotel. During the night I felt worse, and to make matters worse, I was now passing blood in my urine. I telephoned the hotel receptionist and I was taken to Montreal General Hospital, as this was a leading teaching hospital. Here they too tested for everything probable, possible or borderline! Finally I was put in the intensive care unit [meaning NO FOOD] - Both my arms were hooked up to a saline drip and I was fed on ice chips while - yes you've guessed it - more tests were done. What complicated matters even more was the only medical records Montreal General had for me came from my prospective employers, who in their infinite wisdom had given me a clean bill of health, so of course with me at death's door after having been pronounced okay it was a little confusing to say the least. As I couldn't sleep I was given a remote control TV. I leant all there is to know about ice hockey and in particular the 'Toronto' and Montreal Maple Leafs'.

After three days on ice-chips and water I hallucinated: Early one morning about 2.30am one of the nurses was doing the rounds. I watched her as she poured blackcurrant juice in with my ice-chips and she told me not to say a word to anyone. She left and continued her rounds. I desperately wanted a drink but couldn't reach it so I called Aboard the plane the fun really started. We hit turbulence the nurse on duty. To my dismay the drink was plain and I thought I was going to die. I felt really terrible, I had water and ice. I had imagined the whole incident. the worst stomach-ache I can remember, I was sweating and begging for mercy or anything else that would help. I told the nurse about this and she noted it down on my There was a spiritualist on board at the time who was chart. The following morning the doctor took out one of praying for me, but the more she prayed the worse I felt - my drips. 1 also did some praying myself -1 could not eat as I could not swallow. How I regretted not having had more than A Senior Physician Mr Small who had eight first year graduates under his guidance and after three weeks in just a salad before boarding the plane. intensive care saw me, and yet more tests; Dr Littlemore The arrangement was that when I arrived in Canada I diagnosed sickle cell disease. would be staying with a colleague's family until I made 12

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In some ways I think I was relieved to hear this. Relieved to finally be able to put a name to what was happening to me and relieved that I was not going to die, not just yet anyway! It was at this time I was finally allowed to have a meal, my first in three weeks.

were less likely to die if they caught malaria. In the past in countries where malaria was very common, people with similar blood disorders survived where others died. However whereas malaria might disappear, sickle cell remains.

When I told my parents what the doctors diagnosed they wanted to know how and where I could have caught such a thing and even now I think it is hard for them to understand the complexity of this disease, and so I will try to explain as simply as I can...

After leaving hospital 1 wanted to return to England...! was advised not to fly but to travel by sea - I flew. Mercifully I was all right, oxygen was on standby and I prayed until we touched down at Heathrow. Facing up to sickle cell was traumatic. Do I tell employers? How will it affect future relationships? What exactly do I tell them? I didn't want pity so I decided only to tell people if it was absolutely necessary. Some people are surprised when I tell them I have sickle cell and many people know of somebody who has the disorder.

Blood is made up of lots of red cells in a clear liquid called plasma. Every blood cell will live for about 4 months before being broken down; new red blood cells are constantly being produced. The blood cells are rapidly replaced and this explains how people can donate blood often. I used to go to hospital every time I had a crisis, or friends would literally carry me there, the medical staff would Blood gets its colour offer me pain relief but I always steered clear of any medbecause the red blood ication preferring instead the hot Jacuzzi. On average my cells contain a substance symptoms last for approximately 24 hours. known as haemoglobin this does the job of carry- I would book into hospital under my mother's maiden ing oxygen from the name, because sickle cell sufferers not only face stigma lungs and distributing it but have to deal with all sorts of problems for insurance where it is required. In purposes when their condition is discovered. However it order to do this effective- occurred to me one day while I was in the hospital, that ly the red cells are round should anything detrimental happen to me it could take in shape and very pliable months before anyone realised who I really was, and so they can squeeze through the tiniest blood vessel. because of this I decided that this is all wrong and felt However in sickle cell disease when the haemoglobin angry that I was put in this situation. I have learnt to hangives off its oxygen the cells can become distorted and dle my disorder, it's a part of me, it might be responsible form a crescent or 'sickle' shape. These sickled cells clus- for the goals I set for myself, it might be despite of it, but ter together and block the flow of blood. This causes nevertheless it's me, the whole package. immense pain and is known as a 'sickle cell crisis'. When I am having a crisis the pain is so severe that I cannot I decided to work for myself move, every part of my body aches, my fingers and feet once I returned to England swell [caused by the blocked blood vessels], I will be for a number of reasons - but sweating but feel cold and have this incredible thirst. primarily so that I could dictate when I work and so that 'Sickle Cell' is used to describe a number of inherited when I am having a crisis I abnormalities of haemoglobin that have in common the don't have to feel guilty that fact that they sickle. I cannot give one hundred per cent. However there are Haemoglobin SC Disease [which is the type 1 have], is an times when I work much inherited disease of the red blood cells, Ft IS NOT CONharder than if I was an TAGIOUS ~ YOU CANNOT CATCH IT employee, and since running my own security company Sickle cell is one of the most common inherited genetic for the past nine years I cerdiseases. It is estimated there are 6000 sufferers in the UK. tainly have had more stress than even I could have It affects Africans, Caribbean’s, African-Americans, thought possible. Mediterranean’s and people from the Middle East; to a I honestly believe that I owe my outcome largely to the lesser extent sickle cell affects Caucasians. way I have been raised in the fact that I was treated no difHistorically it is said that people with a sickle cell disease ferently to my "well" siblings obviously it helped that we 13

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did not realise I had a sickle cell disorder. I was never wrapped in cotton wool and anything I wanted to achieve one have always been encouraged. It sounds simplistic but I believe that all illness is 50% physical and 50% mental, for example if during the course of your work you cut yourself, you could continue working for hours without realising it, however if you stood and watched while someone inserted a needle into your arm, no matter how slight, you would feel that pain. I don't feel that because I have sickle cell I am any less of a person. Of course there are some limitations, I would love to be able to fly an aircraft one day or ski down a mountain slope but I have resigned myself to being an onlooker but I know that whatever I decide to do there will be no one better at what I do than me.


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Note from the Editor: The above article was written by Laiton on 2 February 1990, and Laiton has been trying to live a normal life ever since. He resisted medication because it made him feel drowsy, he wanted so much to be ‘normal’ but the pain from the sickle cell condition was debilitating and he found himself being admitted into hospital on several occasions since the beginning of 2010.

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Laiton, as I grew to know him, was a man with a generous spirit. He was proud of his children, and said he always sought their approval. He spoke often of his condition and what I remember most about him, was his battle to find someone who would stand by him when he went through crisis. I remember him saying that he didn’t want to burden anyone, so anyone he met, he would send them away so they didn’t have to watch him suffer. Laiton Holgate, a qualified counsellor and my friend and colleague, died in his home on 16 November. May his soul rest in peace and may he dance with angels!

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Talkin’ Blues will be putting on future events, please email and let us know what types of events you are interested in attending. Sickle Cell affects 1 in every 350 black children. Try and get it detected early! 14

Contact: Claudette Stapleton on: 07904 385 584 for more information

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you can replace the old habits with a new behaviour pattern and through repetition those new habits will form, you will do things differently.

by Carl Foster

Habitual ways, your habits Have you ever wondered why you do the things you do, why do you get the results you get? Why is it that whatever you do the results are always the same, you give it your best and it always turns out the same, you may be in a situation where you know what you’re doing isn’t going to get you what you want but you do it anyway, you see things getting from bad to worse, but you continue none the less, well that is the result of habits. Some call them Paradigms a multitude of habits (good or bad).

This is not a ‘walk in the park’ for some, and can take time and effort to achieve, some help may be required, but once achieved the benefits are rewarding and will change your life. Your habits and behaviour patterns play a major role in your life’s achievements, that’s why there are some people who achieve success in almost everything they do and others they give it their best and always fall short. The winners have obtained through life’s influences behaviour patterns associated with winning, such as being persistent and not giving up, due to set backs or criticism from others, they are focussed, they have a direct purpose a goal and they persist until they achieve their goal. They listen to good advice that is going to help them achieve their goal, they have good self control and can respond to their knowledge and are not easily side tracked by outside influences. That is their habit of behaviour; they behave this way in everything they do, because it is their habit. They do this automatically, they are programmed this way. They respond to positive habits that allow them to win.

When you were a baby, your mind was wide open, allowing any thoughts and influences through to your subconscious mind, you had little control over your thoughts, if it was a positive environment then you would take in positive influences, and likewise, if it was negative environment then you would have taken in negative influences. The negative influences is what you need to change as this is what’s holding you back and is most likely where your negative habits formed. You are programmed to behave the way you do, by your habits, some of your behaviour patterns are inherited and some of it is related to the environment you live in e.g. where you live and who you associate with e.g. family and friends and life’s circumstances. Your habitual ways control your behaviour, your thoughts and thinking and the actions you take - it controls your life. At this point it doesn’t really matter what you know, because you will still take the same actions as your conscious mind is overridden by your habitual habits, empowered by your subconscious mind.

Why do we do wrong or bad things in life, why do we hurt ourselves and others or the people we care about, it is said that an individual may need more education to learn what is right and what is wrong, that they don’t understand what they’re doing or they had a bad start in life or had a bad childhood. As human beings we are one of the highest life forms of intelligence on the planet, everything we need to know is within us, we know what is right and we know when we have done wrong. When we attend our school or college all we do to retrieve the knowledge is to focus our mind and concentration on what we are being taught, we pay attention and we listen, we repeat it and repeat it until it is stored in our subconscious mind. Our minds are equipped with the information to lead to our success. Our only obstacles in doing right is our self control, our habits our temptations. It’s never lack of knowledge its lack of self control, willpower, our ability to make the right decision and carry it through, these are our challenges in achieving a fruitful life.

However your habitual ways can be influenced and changed, you see your habitual ways were formed through repetition, some habits originally formed during childhood, by doing the same things over and over again, they become habits and can be difficult for some to change. A lot of people will be aware that what they are doing is wrong or incorrect but they do it anyway. They see the results in their lives going from bad to worse but they can’t shake the routine behaviour, because they’re being controlled by their habits, they want to do right and they know better but they just can’t do it, they can’t get past that routine, that circle of doing the same thing day in day out. It is like hypnosis.

Our habits are developed from when we are young, this is through repetition, for most of us it can be very difficult to change them, our habits control our lives, they control the things

However habits can be changed, they can be changed by replacing them with new habits,


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we do and the things we say, our behaviour our reactions to other people situations and circumstances, these behaviour patterns will determine our success and achievements in life, it will affect our relationships and the level of success at work and school or college, all of this is determined by our behaviour and actions.

and take control of our lives, instead of reacting to every situation that may arise. Although in life, we sometimes fall down, we have the power and greatness to rise up and recover from our challenges; we have the ability to recover and come back more stronger than ever. It’s all in the power of our minds. Use this power and build the life you want; you have your life, your opportunities to achieve what you want, it’s all there for you, the rest is up to you. Erase your negative thoughts and actions and win the life you want.

If you are not getting the results that you want in life, isn’t now the time to take action and make a change? make an adjustment in your behaviour and change your attitude, change the way you react to negative situations and challenging circumstances, take a good look at what you are doing and think of what you could do differently in order to improve your life, sometimes just a little change can make a big difference to your life, start responding to what you know is right, rather than responding to negative habits and unwanted temptation that may destroy your life. Develop positive habits that will bring happiness love and joy into your life. You want an abundance of happiness in all areas of your life, this includes your job, your relationships and your health, your overall well being and understand that joy and happiness is a natural way to live and is worth achieving.

Habitual habits and self image – weight loss (seek medical advice before following any physical activity mentioned) Are your habitual habits getting you down? Do you desire a healthier body? So many of us have a poor self image, that the idea of having the body we want is inconceivable to say the least. But just like anything else, if you put good effort into your health and well being, you must get results. If you desire a healthier body and are having problems with weight loss, your current lifestyle may be a contributing factor. You may have fallen into the pattern of bad eating habits. Some people may say I only have one large meal a day and feel that should equal a small waistline. In actual fact one large meal a day will most likely increase weight, because your body is registering famine, so it will store the food you eat. Snacking can be another habit to increase weight gain. I have detailed below, some of the habits that can contribute to weight gain: • Snacking (eating high calorie snacks throughout the day) • Comfort eating (eating comfort foods for happiness to replace low self-esteem) • Late night eating (consuming more calories than you are burning) • Non active life style (lack of fitness activity) • Poor diet (non constructive eating habits)

Recovering from adversity As human beings we make mistakes in life. We give into our emotions, our feelings of temptation, we give into our anger and frustrations, we react, we mess up, we lose control and we make mistakes. When the damage is done we sometimes sit down and blame our self or we blame others, not understanding that it is sometimes natural to give into our constant challenges of ourselves. When we are born we develop negative behaviour, due to our environment or it can be genetic, negative self destructive behaviour can be inherited or developed by the environment we live in. The good news is, human beings are very resilient and can recover from our adversities - in most cases we actually grow as individuals and become better people. Adversity can be seen as a challenge, we learn to control ourselves and not give in to our inherited negative feelings; this self control avoids us from taking negative action, it allows us to think

If you seriously want to lose weight and get in shape you can. But you must first look at your own individual habits. Most people represent their lifestyle: if you’re a social drinker and smoker you will have the appearance of a drinker and a smoker. If you live on fast food or have a high calorie diet, it will show in your appearance and the same applies to if your life style consist of playing golf or tennis on the weekend or visiting the gym twice a week or swimming all the active healthy lifestyle will affect your physical appearance for the better. We wear our lifestyles on our sleeves.


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Whatever lifestyle you have, it will affect your physical wellbeing in one way or another. In order to lose weight and have the body you desire you have to first make a definite decision to lose weight and start planning. You need to look at your current lifestyle. What is it that you eat regularly? How often do you eat? Your diet and your genetics is a contributing factor regarding your physical appearance and well being.

If you are sure, then sure a low fat balanced diet will be OK. Whatever your efforts in obtaining the physical appearance you desire it will be the result of your lifestyle. How we live shows in our physical appearance. You only have to look at someone who has had a late night and didn’t get enough rest. If someone who is not looking after their health and wellbeing it will show in their physical appearance. So many of us want the body of our dreams but fail to achieve it. Because of our self doubt, we don’t believe it is possible. At first it may seem like a milestone, but once you make a decision and start planning it will become a reality. Get confirmation from your doctor that you are fit enough to take on physical activity and start living an active and healthy life and watch your physical body change. Give yourself a 12 month start - after 12 months of a healthier lifestyle, it should become a habit. Once it becomes a way of life you won’t have to work so hard at being motivated. You will surprise yourself and others!

The challenges for most people who want to lose weight are their habits. Other factors can be low self esteem and comfort eating. They get into a routine of eating for certain reason or at a certain time of the day. Whatever the reason the fact is this lifestyle isn’t getting them the results they want and now it’s become a habitual way of life. A person may decide to start join the Gym or go on a diet and try to change their lifestyle. Once a habit takes root and becomes a way of life, it can become a task to remove it. We’ve lived this way for so long that it becomes painful to change it. However it can be changed. The change starts with the individual. They have to make a decision that they want to lose weight and have the body they desire. You could start today, enquire about local fitness classes/gyms in your area and Start a new diet.

Build habits that give you the life you want. When a person has made up their mind that they are going to have the life they want, no one can stop them. They have made a decision from within and it must be carried out. They are like a missile heading towards its target. This individual will use all resources available to succeed in achieving success of their goal. Once you have achieved total control of your habits, through repetitions of your chosen behaviour patterns, your result will look something like this: You will be able to naturally give 100% at work/career, you now give 100% in your relationship, families and friends, you now give 100% towards your health and fitness. Success in abundance in all areas of life. You are now happy at work, you are now happy in your home with your partner, you are now happy with family and friends, your health and well being is looked after, you are now fit and well to be more active in life. All of this is achieved by a strong will and commitment to achieve more. It requires repetition of productive behaviour in all areas of life. This level of achievement isn’t for the faint-hearted as it requires a high level of dedication and commitment in order to achieve it. Only a very few do this naturally. But with good practice and commitment it can be achieved by any individual. How far we go in life is determined largely by our behaviour patterns as this determines what action we take. If your habits are holding you back, from the life you want, Make the change and achieve the

• Lifestyle (increase the physical activities in your life e.g. walk more) • Gym (have your gym put together a fitness plan for you – with recommendation from your doctor) • Diet (put together a healthy balance diet from a nutritionist or get advice at your gym or Dr) • Take up sports and leisurely activities that you enjoy and love Through repetition the above activities will form as habits and you will find it easy to incorporate them as a way of life. Those who do not desire visiting a gym on a regular basis, will need to incorporate activities in their daily life. They will need to be more active and eat less and have a healthier low fat diet. Incorporate walking more; eat at least three small meals per day. Eliminate the habits of having one large meal per day, snacking and replace comfort eating for a more active pass time. Another way of becoming more active is to walk more, take the stairs instead of the lift, get off the bus a few stops before your stop. I have detailed some suggestions. However before you take any physical action you should always seek medical advice from your doctor. Make sure you are fit and well enough to take on a more physical life style.

life you want.


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