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Daily Updates
Dr Susanna's guide to MJoTA sites
Oct 24, 2012
Picture above, son of Kenya Macharia Waruingi at a rally to listen to Barack Obama speak in Oct 2008 in West Philadelphia.

2008 now seems so long ago: Macharia was a guest in my house for 6 months, and together, at my expense, we tried to bring funding for a hospital in Kenya. And during that time, a son of Kenya and America was running for president. And 4 years previously, in 2004, a daughter of Kenya had won a Nobel Prize for peace for loving the earth.

Four years later I remember the huge hope and delight that finally America was becoming color-blind, non-racist. Four years later, I know that the attacks on President Obama which started the day of his inauguration show that we have a long way to go, and I must fight harder every day against media apartheid.

News from Kenya click here. Nobel Laureate Professor Dr Hon Wangari Muta Maathi click here.


Today is United Nations Day and I remember walking through the capital city of Finland, Helsinki, on this day in 1993, wondering why the blue and white flag of the United Nations was on flag poles, and asking myself why I had eaten chocolate every day for the past 14.

I got the answer to the flags as soon as I arrived in the laboratory at the University of Helsinki where I was doing a 2-week experiment on the effect of topiramate on the activity of neuronal cells from the hippocampus of rat brains.

Finland is a staunchly independent country next to Russia, and was the only little country that was not swallowed into the Soviet Union. Because of the bloody revolution in 1917 in which the Bolsheviks won in Russia but lost in Finland; and the even bloodier winter war in 1939-1940 which catapulted Finland firmly into an alliance against Russia and with Germany. (I hope I got my facts straight, I will return and edit this essay until I do.)

Finland has always known it needs powerful friends, and the United Nations is one.

News from Sweden click here. News from Bangladesh click here.

I got the answer to my daily chocolate-eating a week later, when I returned to Sweden where I was attempting to work on cows that were bred to make the maximum volume of milk, and became diabetic. When I was there, none of the cows that were slaughtered were diabetic, but I was given a massive liver from a cow and set about isolating mitochondria. 

My host Dr Yvonne Ridderstrale obligingly took most of the liver fr her dog and other dogs to eat, which left me still with about 5lbs of liver to grind and spin.

The smell of the blood made me nauseous, so during the centrifugal spins, I ran to the toilet and threw up. That was when I knew I was pregnant, and in July 1994, I gave birth to a scientist I named Miss Patience, whose first experiment was observational, staring at me and nodding that the voice she had been listening to had a face, and my face looked like hers. Miss Patience was named after my mother Dr Patience.

Darling Patience click here.

Oct 23, 2012
Picture above, me with my 2 little boys in a zoo somewhere in Sydney in 1985. The little one was about to turn 3; now he is about to turn 30 and he is still as curious. The older one is 31, and still as serious as he was when he was 4.

My younger children came later, after a trip to Germany to learn how to keep livers alive when removed from the body in 1986 which resulted in a chance encounter in a pub in Freiburg with a former president of a student organization at Heidelberg University. I do not make up anything, but it sounds like I do.

Roses for Ruth click here May Day click here.

Another gold and red and green and brown and blue beautiful fall day in the north east of these United States. Reminders of how fast things change, and how beautiful is prosperity and peace.

Last night, in the printing office on 5th Avenue in Manhattan, I watched and listened to the president and his challenger give conflicting views of how to maintain our American prosperity and our peace.

Half way through I realized something: these 2 men really like each other. President Obama and Governor Romney have differing views on how to keep the economy expanding, but they both believe they can do it, and they enjoy the company of the other. No slingers or slime-throwing in these 2 quintessential American gentlemen. I like that. I felt safe. I felt that I had done the right thing giving birth to 4 American citizens, 4 American voters for President Obama.

And how different is their plan for expanding the economy? Simply put: President Obama starts with less children in each class; Governor Romney wants to stop funding public education in particular Big Bird and public television. President Obama wants to give the military the tools they need to keep America secure and safe by consulting with the military leaders; Governor Romney wants to go out and buy boats and expand the navy without consulting the military leaders.

Back in 1985, we were a year into the 2nd term of President Reagan. I had planned to become a citizen in 1984, but decided not to after Reagan was elected to a second term. I did not want to be a citizen of a nation of stupid people. I could not believe that anyone swallowed any of Reagan's nonsense. I still cannot.

I became a citizen in 2008 because the laws on green cards changed: they used to give you a green card and forget about you, which I loved. My first vote was for President Obama, and I was so proud of America for listening to him and understanding how much we needed him to be our president.

Four years later, we are better off, he has steered us away from total financial collapse, and he speaks for me. Make me proud again. Go out and vote and vote for President Obama.

Oct 22, 2012
Today is a lovely day in New York City, the air is warm and cool at the same time, maple trees as high as 60 feet are full of leaves that are golden and getting ready to fall. And we are getting ready to listen the final presidential debate between President Obama and the Republican challenger for his job, Mr Romney.

This is a calm end to 3 days of driving, witnessing successes and having car breakdowns.

Saturday I drove early to the Bronx, and witnessed the start of a remarkable and laudatory experiment. The health insurance company Healthfirst and Bronx-Lebanon Hospital want American citizens to be healthy, they want New Yorkers to be healthy, and they have zoomed in on a population in the Bronx that are 60,000 residents of Gouveneur public housing.

I was in my take-no-prisoners mode, and I showed up in my favorite wool German Army shirt, complete with German flags on the arms. I walked into a breakfast that was ending with speeches and talks about and by officials and community leaders from the Bronx and all over New York City, who all said they are greatly in support of the targeted population becoming healthy and eating food that is good for them. Amen.

Son of Belize and Healthfirst Vice President George Hulse told me about this huge experiment in August during the annual baseball game for Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry. I will be stopping by the housing development, calling George and finding out how things are going. Keep tuned.

CACCI click here. Belize click here. Dance diabetes into hell click here.

After my 250 mile road-trip from my house to the Bronx and back, I drove to Philadelphia to the large and new auto shop of High Chief Malachy Orji which was being officially opened.

As I told High Chief's son Kingsley, who works full time managing the autoshop: there is nothing in this world like chasing after 3 men in white robes running around sprinkling Holy Water. Indeed.

Interview with High Chief click here. The Iroko autoshop click here. Father Kieran click here.

Oct 21, 2012
Above, La Perouse in Sydney, Australia. A popular weekend destination for Sydneysiders, including my parents and brothers.

My mother died in Prince Henry Hospital which was close to La Perouse. As a PhD student I once chased around a flock of sheep for their blood at Prince Henry Hospital. And selected some. And the work I did with their blood is included in my PhD thesis. You can check! The summary is online. SJ Dodgson 1978 UNSW.

Every day for as long as I remember, the minute I see the date my brain clicks to who was born on that day, who died on that day, what I was doing on that day.

October is a heavy month for memories, because of the births of my brother Patrick, my father Dr MCH Dodgson and me; my running for election to the New South Wales state parliament (I lost); my leaving school; announcement of Nobel prizes; my arriving in Sweden; my discovering I was pregnant with my daughter in Finland; my leaving Australia and arriving in America, and the birthdays of my first husband Dr Gavan T Schneider and also a middle son of a lawyer-educated-grazier in the Australian southern state of Victoria.

The middle son was born 10 days after me, and we met at a Christian conference in Canberra when we were 19. Our relationship was as fabulous as it was innocent: after my first migration from England to Ireland at 5, I learned writing letters was the only way to have any connection to relatives in far off places.

And so write we did, and after a year of writing, Bill came to stay at my house in Sydney with my 3 brothers and my mother. We spent a delightful 10 days being tourists, and somehow we even took in a transvestite cabaret act and an Elvis Presley movie in the red light district.

I remember we crashed an extremely elegant cocktail party in the most elegant part of Sydney, and somehow that ended up in us being invited to tea on the northern beaches of Sydney with the daughter of someone  important and dead.

At the end of the summer, I took a train to the countryside at the bottom tip of mainland Australia, and spent 10 days being hosted by Bill's parents and his 2 brothers. We swam in water holes and old quarries, ran to the top of mountains, swam on beaches, put antibiotic drops in cows eyes, listened to music, discussed the concepts of wealth and entitlement and saw the musical Hair in Melbourne. We never touched or talked about love; somehow that would have ruined everything.

The older brother Lockie had diabetes, and a huge lust for life. He was the prettiest of the 3, with curly blond hair and pale blue eyes, and he thought I was far too stiff when the daughter of a dead premier of Tasmania came for Sunday lunch. He gave me something to drink that looked and smelled innocent, but after drinking it I realized I was incapable of coherent speech, or even walking, so I sat and nodded and smiled until I had sobered enough to get up.

Diabetes click here.

By the time I was 35, both Lockie and Bill were dead. Lockie from uncontrolled diabetes; Bill from cancer. Ah. The remaining son David has been mayor of his town on and off; a good citizen and the only one to remember Lockie's grins and Bill's penchant for using words no-one else did, like "mufti."

Bill trained as a chemical engineer: if he had not died at 34 I know he would have been up to his neck in developing and building alternative energy sources. Why do some of us die so young?

Solar energy click here.

Cancer therapies click here.
Oct 20, 2012
Beautiful Saturday morning to witness a Herculean effort to prevent illness in a population in the Bronx, New York. Above, picture of seagulls looking for breakfast off Canarsie Pier, Brooklyn New York.

In August, son of Belize George Hulse sat with me during the Caribbean Heritage Mets game at the huge stadium in Queens New York and explained what his company is doing. His company is Health First, and I see their banners at every CACCI event, and last Saturday, when I drove supplies to my son at Richard Stockton College on the New Jersey shore, I saw 2 huge billboards for Health First. Health First is in New York, and now it is also in New Jersey, and they are extremely excited about President Obama getting healthcare to us all.

More about the Bronx event tomorrow. For today CACCI click here. Videos and news feeds from Belize click here. Richard Stockton College click here.

MJoTA has started a New Jersey page: New Jersey is the home of MJoTA and also the home to millions of sons and daughters of Africa, and was the home of the late Congressman Donald Payne who loved Africa. Keep coming back. New Jersey click here.

In Feb 1986 I stayed late after work at the University of Pennsylvania campus. This was unusual: I was married with 2 tiny boys at home, and I always wanted to be with them when I was not writing papers or grant proposals or coaxing activity out of my beloved gas mass spectrometer or clean proteins out of my ion exchange columns. The reason was Desmond Tutu. He was known as an ardent and vocal opponent of apartheid, and he spoke on campus.

Archbishop Tutu thrilled us all with his passionate claims that we are all the children of God, God holds us all in the palm of His Hand. I am today asking myself if that talk was what put me on my path to fighting media apartheid, which is what I do now.

Page of videos of Archbishop Tutu click here. Page on South Africa click here.

Oct 19, 2012
Above, picture I took at Philadelphia's Enterprise Center during a 3-day visit from a delegation from Cote D'Ivoire in Feb 2009.

At the far right is son of Cote D'Ivoire, historian and political scientist Dr Eric Edi whose doctorate in history is from Temple University. Dr Eric Edi is chairman of the board of directors of Africom Philly.

The Enterprise Center is well known to sons and daughters of America of a certain age who loved to dance to a television show known as Dick Clark's American Bandstand. The studios were abandoned by Bandstand in 1964, and the television station moved elsewhere; in the past 10 years, they have been renovated and converted into the Enterprise Center. I swear, I can feel the rhythm of the music and the energy from the dancing. A happy place.

Videos and stories from Cote D'Ivoire click here. Africom Philly click here. Story of the impact of local universities on the independence movements on Africa click here.

Tonight is Friday night and MJoTA Friday Night Movies is a double feature! Two very different movies about young sons of Jamaica looking to get out of financial holes. Plenty more movies on previous Friday nights that can be accessed through MJoTA Frida Night Movie click here..

MJoTA Friday Night Movie click here.

Videos, great music, news feeds from Jamaica and stories about Jamaica and sons and daughters of Jamaica click here.

Oct 18, 2012
Above, October afternoon in South Jersey.

October is busy in South Jersey; students are back in school; politicians are in their final push for election. And South Jersey is all dressed up in bright colors before cold sucks away the life from the fields and streets and gardens.

Houses in my street are filled with signs urging the readers of the signs to 2 presidential re-elect President Obama in the elections of Nov 6.

After listening to 2 presidential elections, one vice-presidential election, one governor's town hall talk, I can ask only one question: do you want the rich, old man who lies and doesnt care about 47% of us or the best-behaved president in American history who cares for all of us?


Updated page on Trinidad & Tobago. I added a lovely song from the Andrews Sisters called "Rum and Coca Cola", as well as another video from Trinidad and pictures of daughter of Trinidad Collette Cyrus-Burnette  and her business in Brooklyn.

Trinidad & Tobago click here.

Oct 17, 2012
Last night I received a phone call from Sylvanie in Haiti. Sylvanie is a young woman who cares for orphans for a church in Haiti, but mostly, she is an angel, and she wants to run for the senate in Haiti.

I met Sylvanie when I was waiting at the bus stop in Port au Prince, for the bus to the Dominican Republic. The woman that Bed Stuy Vollies sent to smooth the way of the 2 nurses and me was not up to the task, and she believed her job was to appear at the hospital handing out things to mothers who were so traumatized they barely could remember their names, and budgeting was not her strong suit.

The 2 nurses were extremely traumatized by the conditions at the General Hospital, picture above, and they started accusing me and told me that they fired me from Bed Stuy Vollies because I was there to show that the international aid community did not know what they were doing, and I needed to expose that. Which is not what I saw. I saw an enormous amount of good will and donations to a country with a collapsed infrastructure and not enough trucks to cart away from the airport the donations.

We were all traumatized. So I just kept on taking pictures. I have been jailed,  hit, locked out, called a spy, even in papers filed in US Federal court. People can say what they like about me. I do not do what I do to make people like me. I do it because I must bear witness to good people in African communities all over the world.

Bed Stuy Vollies click here.

Haiti click here.

Gateway to news feeds from the Caribbean and to country pages and Caribbean organizations click here.

The bus was horribly late, and the 2 nurses and I discovered that together we did not have the cash for the exit visa and the bus ticket.

That was where Sylvanie stepped in. She handed over 20 dollars in cash, and sat with us the whole way to Santo Domingo. When we arrived in Santo Domingo, her cousin not only collected her but the 2 nurses and myself, too us back to a house in an alley where children were playing and Spanish music was playing. They gave us a lovely meal, allowed us to wash, and then took s back to the airport.

You can bet I am supporting Sylvanie in her bid for elections. Would others in the line waiting for the bus helped us too? Very possibly: but so many were so poor they did not have a spare few cents, and certainly not 20 dollars.

But Sylvanie decided that once she had helped us, we belonged to her and were under her care. That understanding and decency is why MJoTA is welcoming her as an honored guest in December.

And if anyone reading this would like to welcome her into their homes during that time anywhere from Washington to Connecticut and west to Lancaster and Hershey, let me know.
On Facebook (Wanjiru Susanna J Dodgson) or email (publisher@mjota.org) or text message (1-609-792-1571).

God bless us all.

Oct 16, 2012
Picture above, Drexel University, which is between  the main Philadelphia railway station and the University of Pennsylvania, where I worked as an academic scientist (post-doc through associate professor of physiology) with Dr Robert E Forster II for 16 happy years.

Today I have been focusing on chocolate, because the weather is cold and the stores are filled with small wrapped chocolate bars for happy adults in affluent neighborhoods to hand out to small children who are allowed to knock on doors without supervision, and wearing costumes.

And I am also thinking, humph, usually my children give me chocolate on my birthday, but not this year.

When Allister was 6 and Patience a few months past birth, I taught a nutrition class at Drexel University. I always loved to make up mind plays for my students: I asked them to explain why Allister was thriving when he lived entirely on chocolate.

My smart students - and you have to be smart to go to Drexel, Patience is now a freshman there - told me that as long as he ate fruit-and-nut milk chocolate, and had a daily swallow or 2 of orange juice, he would get his fiber and all his vitamins and proteins. Sounded good to me. Still sounds good to me! Some day, I must test that for a month or so.

Chocolate click here.

Cote D'Ivoire which Reuters News Agency calls Ivory Coast, is the world's biggest producer of cacao, the raw material for chocolate.

Cote D'Ivoire click here.

I knew this 3 years ago, beca
use a large contingent came to Philadelphia from Cote D'Ivoire, and they talked about how cacao ends up in the ports of Philadelphia from where it is transported to Hershey to make chocolate.

Chocolate click here.
Oct 15, 2012
Above, picture of health screening room for the Uganda Fellowship, which meets once a month in the gorgeous campus of New Covenant Church in Germantown Pennsylvania.

We were celebrating Uganda at 50 with a church service downstairs, a shared meal, and upstairs, health screens for blood pressure, blood sugar and HIV infection.

My friend came downstairs from the screening, saying that she needed to call her physician immediately: her blood sugar was way elevated and she needed to know if she had clinical diabetes, and if she needed to start treating it. Wow. A direct hit for the good people who set it up.

I asked the nurse, daughter of Kenya Mary Ngugo BSN, to tell me who arranged the screenings. She told me they have them once a month, every time the Uganda Fellowship meets, and Dr Helen Kwakwa is the driving force.

I hear the name of Dr Helen Kwakwa a lot. I am not sure that I have ever met her, but I know she plays a big role in our annual Africom Philly Health Fair. She is a daughter of Ghana and she works quietly and effectively behind the scenes. She has lived in the United States many years: she is graduate of Bryn Mawr College and her medical degree is from Yale University.

Dance diabetes into hell: don't eat white bread, white rice and dance, dance, dance. During the monthly health clinic at the Ugandan Monthly Fellowship, if you don't slip out of church to go upstairs for your measurements of blood pressure, blood sugar, HIV: you can bet that the nurse Mary who is Kikuyu, will come after you!

White bread click here. Ghana click here. Kenya click here. Uganda click here.


I am been thinking about global warming all day. A few months ago, I prepared a page on the calamitous effects global warming is having on the countries of the Caribbean particularly, and also Africa. The news feeds are active: on the page you can read about issues in global warming as they are published across the world.

I discovered that the country worst affected by global warming is not an island, but a coastal country in Asia, Bangladesh. Bangladesh is threatened by ethnic violence, 57 rivers and the ocean. Farmland has been vanishing between seasons.

Global warming in Africa and the Caribbean click here. Bangladesh click here.

Oct 14, 2012
Above, picture of son of Uganda, Black Star newspaper publisher, Mr Milton Allimadi, addressing the audience of New York University's Center for Human Rights and Global Justice. Mr Allimadi spoke last Tuesday, which was Oct 9, 2012, and the 50th anniversary of Uganda being its own nation. Today I am celebrating Uganda at 50 in Philadelphia with cool Ugandans.

According to Mr Allimadi, a lot of Ugandans are not cool; and he is particularly incensed by a video called KONY2012. He sees this video as perpetrating a lie and blaming murders, rapes, disfigurements on a man called Joseph Kony.

He says publicly, and I have heard him twice, that the atrocities are committed by the current government of Uganda and Joseph Kony is a convenient scapegoat. I am hoping to get a written statement from him to publish, or republish.

MJoTA does not take sides, but welcomes discussion and openness. As MJoTA publisher, I am constantly, daily, upset by the ongoing exploitation of African countries and the ongoing bad press about the magnificent sons and daughters of Africa and the Caribbean.

Uganda videos and links click here.


When I was a tiny girl, my mother plucked me and Patrick out of kindergarten in Manchester, plopped us in separate schools in Belfast, and after 6 months ushered us onto a boat for a 7-week voyage to New Zealand. We had an older brother, Robert, who was there too, but I remember little about him, except that he was always finding new ways to torture me.

We had the trip of a lifetime, and we visited Curacao.

Today, cold in South Jersey, I am looking for warm places to go to, or at least dream about, and I published a page on Curacao. Lovely, click here.
Oct 13, 2012
Above, picture I took last night of books of American law stacked to look like DNA at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia, across 2 lawns from Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed on Jul 4, 1776.

I love science and I love laws, and I love when the 2 are acknowledged to be intertwined, because they are. Laws run science, we breath because our bodies obey sets of laws that make us grow lungs and blood vessels and process food. The laws of the country are supposed to work in the same way, but often do not.


What a week. The first chill in the air and the citizens start moving around frantically, as if to get everything done before the last leaf falls and we have Christmas to cheer us up when the earth is in the icy lock of winter.

The second week in October is definitely Fall, after the first week in October, which is definitely Summer. I always notice this because Patrick's birthday is Oct 3, and mine in Oct 10, and I am always astonished at how different the seasons are between our birthdays. As I have for 6 decades been astonished at how different he and I are, born less than a year apart to the same parents.

Dr Patience Uprichard Dodgson MBBCh (Belfast) click here. Dr MCH Dodgson MD BS (Uni Lond), MRCPath click here.

Differences between humans coming from identical backgrounds. That is what the MJoTA sites celebrate best. How some humans can transcend the cards they are dealt and achieve marvelous things.

This month I started a page on Sojourner Truth; a female born to parents who lived with an American citizen whose country decided he had total rights to profit from their bodies and the fruits of their bodies in any way he saw fit. Sojourner Truth somehow had the strength and the faith to believe in herself and her children and others whose ancestors were proud sons and daughters of Africa captured in an illegal war. She was the first American child of Africa to take an American child of Europe to court, and win.

Sojourner Truth click here.

Laws, when they are good, when they are upheld, condemn the evil doer.

Yesterday I read that here in the United States of America, a young woman of 23 who is mother of 5 children, was sentenced to 99 years in prison with 30 years before she could even talk to a board that had the power to release her. She had a history of beating up her children, no-one died, but the malicious act that put her away for her natural life was super-gluing her 2-year-old's hand to a wall because the little girl was not understanding the need to be potty-trained.

The American jury was so outraged that they made sure that young woman would never be alone with a child again: that image was with me as I walked into the Constitution Center for an evening of multicultural festivities.

After hanging out with my friends the ever-cool fellow New Jerseyans: son of Africa Brother Saleem and Rowan African History faculty daughter of Trinidad Dr Chanelle Nyree Rose, and discussing the performance of the Governor of New Jersey in his 96th Town Hall meeting that I witnessed, I went in search of king-maker and Imhotep School Board Chairman son of Ghana and Philadelphia foot doctor Dr Quartey.

Ghana click here.

After hanging out with Dr Quartey and enjoying a spirited discussion on the bad performance of Republican Veep candidate in the Veep debate, I walked back upstairs to walk through the room that was filled with bronze statues of the writers and signers and abstainers of the Constitution of the United States of America.

I was watching Old Philadelphia and Independence Hall through the huge glass windows at the front of the Constitution Center when a young Ugandan woman spoke to me. She recognized me from African events, and we quickly engaged in conversation.

Her fire for Uganda is hot, and I will not name her on these pages just yet. She wants to change the laws in Uganda, starting with the constitution, so we went back to the hall of constitution signers and worked our way through the process, helped by docent Jay, who knew the answers to all our questions.

Uganda click here.

My Ugandan friend told me of a recent case in Uganda, when a man raped a 3-month-old girl. I have heard repeatedly about this supposed cure for AIDS, if a man has sex with a virgin, his HIV infection will vanish.

I suspect it is results from limited understanding of stem cell science, for which 2 scientists were awarded Nobel prizes in Chemistry this week. But it is also dead wrong, and has resulted in the deaths and HIV infections of a lot of girl victims. My friend told me the man was given probation: so he was free to destroy the lives of as many young girls as he could. She wants to change the laws that permit rape and violent assault.

Nobel prize click here. HIV/AIDS resources click here.
Oct 12, 2012
Picture above, beautiful building that is part of an estate that once belonged to a single family. That gorgeous building was the stables, for the horses, so you can only imagine how beautiful was the rest of the estate and the main house.

The house is in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, which is the biggest city in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is the state west of New Jersey and, along with New Jersey, is the closest state south of Ne York.

I took the picture the Friday of the first weekend of summer 2012, when I had been invited by Aces Museum to witness the celebration of Black soldiers, in particular Buffalo soldiers, who were the sons and daughters of Africa who fought for America during American apartheid. The military apartheid ended in 1949, but persisted all throughout the first and second world war, from when I have heard stories of captured prisoners being given more privileges by the American Army than its own Black soldiers.

Aces Museum click here.

I have been asked several times recently where I would live if I could live anywhere. My answer is always: where I do live. In southern New Jersey, immediately across the Delaware Valley from Philadelphia and Pennsylvania.

African businesses in Philadelphia click here.

My first reason is location: that South Jersey is next to Philadelphia, without being in Pennsylvania: I live 4 miles from Philadelphia City Hall. And I am 90 to 120 minutes drive from New York City in the north; and about 2 to 3 hours drive from Washington in the south.

And my second reason: location. Nothing finds us. I was struck in 9/11 that South Jersey was south of the World Trade disasters, east of the Pennsylvania crash, north of the Washington plane crash. Terrorists do not target New Jersey: they do not know we exist. Neither do hurricanes, earthquakes or any extreme weather. New Jersey is a good place to live, a great place to live, I raised 4 healthy well-educated children here.

Richard Stockton College click here.

I live in a town similar to the one American Vice President Joe Biden lives in. Lots of trees, very clean, plenty of parking, everything works, everyone is polite. A sharp contrast to where I go with my ears and cameras and report about.

I listened to the vice presidential debate last night with friends who were listening and on Facebook, and we all posted lively comments. What struck me, and others, was that Paul Ryan did not answer questions, he gave answers to questions he wanted asked. He could not defend his platform, his policies, or his record. And told us within the first few minutes that he wants to bomb Iran as soon as possible.

The matter of taxation: he only talked about small business owners, who he identified as the rich people. He does not appear to understand the concepts of wealth and taxation. He likes the trick designed to get in poor people: throw them a crumb while he is stealing the bakery. Somehow removing healthcare from poor people and not taxing rich people is going to make us all richer.

One thing I know absolutely is that conservatives and liberals of sound mind want to help citizens. Maybe even poor citizens. But I know that they have fundamentally different ways of going about this: and some ways work and some ways make us poorer.

All we as voters can do is guess which will work.

Oct 11, 2012
Above, picture of me and my Nigerian Igbo sister Dr Ada Okika immediately before the Nigerian Independence Day Parade down 2nd Avenue in Manhattan on Saturday Oct 6, 2012.

Last night, Wednesday Oct 10, 2012, I attended the monthly meeting of the Mayor's Commission on African and Caribbean Immigrant Affairs.

It was my birthday, and I celebrated it with my eldest son Angus in my kitchen on Sunday morning, complete with 2! British flags and cupcakes from the Japanese mall across the main road from his apartment across the Hudson river from Harlem

And yesterday I received birthday greetings from my brothers Patrick and Charles in Australia, my children Allister and Patience (not a word from Miles: he is a robotics engineer and he sees birth and celebrating birthdays as unnecessary, especially mine). I received warm greetings from Kenya from Kenya veterinarian extraordinaire Dr Ken, and from friends all over the word. Lovely. Thank you.

Kenya click here.

The Mayor's meeting always has an agenda filled with guests that come from everywhere: last night we heard from the Philadelphia School District's office that focuses on making sure children are taught college English, and from Fox Chase Cancer Center microbiologist Dr Camille Ragin whose work in the lab spills into community awareness of cancer prevention and treatment.

Cancer therapies click here. Cancer resources click here.

We also heard from Barbara Simmons, who is a social worker and a lawyer, and whose faculty appointment at Cheyney University is about to be followed by a 2-year stint as Dean of a faculty at Tubman University in Liberia. God speed Barbara!

Historically black university Lincoln University click here.

We also were told of the changing of the guard at the Coalition of African Communities in Philadelphia, Africom. Daughter of Liberia Dr Vera Tolbert stood down as  president after a successful 2-year term and son of Nigeria and Biafra Vincent Ngado was elected in her place.

Mr Ngado joins 4 new elected officials who all are sons and daughters of countries of Africa: Nigeria click here; Liberia click here; Ghana click here and Mali click here.

Guests were introduced by the Chairman of the Commission, Stanley L Straughter click here and by Philadelphia Councilwoman Jannie L Blackwell click here.


This afternoon I went to a town hall meeting given by the Governor of New Jersey. I had the great fortune to be standing next to a distinguished-looking gentleman, who introduced himself as a former superintendent of schools in South Jersey.

The YMWA basketball court was packed, jammed. I looked around to see who was there; not too many sons and daughters of Africa, but certainly some were there. And sons and daughters of India, China... diverse crowd, which always makes me happy.

The superintendent told me that when the governor was in grade 3, about 9, he wrote that he was going to be president of the United States. His name was batted around last year, and he decided not to run. And his name was certainly in the short-list of presidential candidates for the Republican party: and he adores Mitt Romney, he told us he had just spent a week traveling through Ohio on the bus with Governor Romney. So we know where he is coming from: Republican, corporate welfare, give a few crumbs back to struggling people so they vote for him to make the rich as rich as they can be.

Not that the Democrats have behaved themselves in New Jersey. Which all makes Governor Christie's job so much easier.

What upset me, what really upset me, was that he told us he wants to consolidate libraries in small towns. He said books are the same in each library, so instead of having 3 towns with 3 libraries, he wants one town with a library.

This is the sort of nonsense we heard from Romney in the presidential debate last week. Romney wants to stop funding public radio and public television. He wants to stop the enormous help to educating poor people that has come from the daily and consistently good program Sesame Street. More than one educator has told me that since Sesame Street, children have started school knowing their numbers, their letters, and some can even read. That is not an argument that can move Romney.

Governor Christie is a corpulent man, a big man, and man surprisingly nimble for his roundness, but looking at him, we know he never walks and never liked to walk. It has never occurred to him that the reason that libraries are needed in small towns is that children walk to the libraries. After school, on holidays, on Saturday mornings.

When I was a little girl in New Zealand, my Friday night treat was my parents taking my brothers and myself to the library in downtown Gisborne. When I was 9, and moved to Australia, the municipal library was next door to school, which opened up the world to me and Patrick, my brother who was always with me.

I had children in school in Haddonfield, New Jersey for 26 years. The library is a short walk from our house, and short walk from school. And my children all spent a great many hours there: they all love to read, and they are all successful in what they are doing.

Libraries and Big Bird! Shame on Republican supporters of corporate welfare. Shame on you.

Oct 10, 2012
On this day, Fridjoff Nansen was born, Harold Pinter was born, and a knight of the British Empire delivered me to an Irish physician and an English physician who had met in the heart of the British Empire when the bombs from Germany were falling on buildings, people, dreams and hopes.

Fridjoff Nansen was a polar explorer and Harold Pinter an English play right. That is what being born on 10.10 does to us; makes us want to conquer unknown worlds, write about life and love in order to translate what is going on to ourselves and to others.

Picture above, in the University of Nairobi in the Faculty of Pharmacy. I was with a friend, Mwai, and I was among friends.

The nature of friendship has been in my thoughts all day. I was given a card in New York which has a printed poem explaining how a friend is more precious than rubies. The giver does not match up. But Mwai does. And so do others.

Kenya click here. Florence Nightingale click here. The power of positive thinking click here.
Oct 9, 2012
Happy birthday Uganda! Picture above from the Mayor's reception for government officials and Ugandans living in Philadelphia the day before a 3-day convention of sons and daughters of Uganda in the Philadelphia Convention Center.

Uganda in Philadelphia click here.

At the annual conference of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York in Sep 2012, 2 Ugandans were honored along with 4 others.

Clinton Global Initiative click here.

Uganda became an independent nation 50 years ago today. News feeds and videos and information about Uganda click here.

In June I gave a talk at a conference at Rutgers University organized by CMPI, at which I listened to and photographed 2 Ugandan journalists click here.

One Ugandan journalist has started an organization for African journalists click here.

And because this is a birthday celebration for Uganda, we must have music!

Joyful singing by Uganda orphans. MJoTA.org published this story in 2007; it never gets old. Perfect for today, remembering Uganda at 50, what a turbulent 50 years. Videos of the children singing and dancing, story by Joan Scherz click here.

Celebrating today Uganda at 50 with, who else, Bob Marley, click here. Scroll down past the picture of New York State Deputy Health Commissioner Yvonne Graham to Bob Marley album, over 60 minutes of great music.

Oct 8, 2012
No secret that I love New York, and Nigeria, and put the 2 together and wow! I am in Heaven.

I was listening to the representative of the Nigerian president tell us in the Nigerian Diaspora (I am an honorary member, loving Nigeria did that to me) that prosperity has returned to Nigeria and that the new Nigeria is a safe healthy Nigeria. I wrote about that on Oct 7.

So there I was surrounded by cheerful young Nigerians, who were shaking their heads and saying he is lying! I argued with them, and said that nothing will change until you believe it can change, and they can be part of the solution.

And I found myself staring over the head of the Nigerian presidential representative, at a huge statue of St George slaying a dragon, within the United Nations compound.

In my opinion, St George and Britain have slayed too many dragons: but it is an apt metaphor. If the Nigerian government can really fix itself, and the country, we will all rejoice. Because Nigeria is the most populous Black country in the world, and should be the engine of sub-Saharan Africa. The other countries will greatly benefit from Nigeria righting itself.

Nothing in this world like making a movie in Surulere with electricity from a generator, when gasoline can be bought. Making a movie in Lagos click here

They made signs when I took their picture. Not until I returned to Philadelphia did I realized that they signed "I love you". Did tears stream down my face? Yep. And every time I read this story. Ah, the human spirit, the most beautiful creation of all. Thank you God. Deaf children in Lagos click here

Everything you want to know about white bread made and sold every day in Lagos. And links to what you need to do if you get diabetes from eating too much of it, and too much white rice. Move baby move! Bread in Lagos click here.

News from Gabon a little spotty, sometimes the news feeds work and sometimes they do not; however, Gabon is always cool and you can enjoy the videos. Gabon click here.


"A British High Court ruling that colonial atrocities in Kenya are not bound by a time limit has a legal precedent." Wow. Round up the criminals and throw them in jail. Start with Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Captain Cook. Personally, I have never landed in a country I did not know existed and claimed it for Spain, Portugal, England, anywhere. Scroll down on red news feed, which is from VOA click here.

Oct 7, 2012
I do not keep quiet about my love for Nigeria. I love all things Nigerian: the good people (most of them), the crooks (and the crooks are really crooked), the food, the music, the prayers, the ebullience and the fervent knowledge that all may be crashing around them, but praise the Lord! All will be well!

Above is a picture I took from an airplane on Mar 1, 2012, when I flew into Enogu. Dana Air. They lost a plane in a fiery crash in the summer, and the world mourned.

The huge poignancy was the loss of life of young, hardworking Americans who had immigrated to America for a life with constant electricity, schools where children could learn to speak English without a Nigerian accent, and hospitals where men and women can be helped to survive cardiovascular disease and cancer brought on by inactivity and bad diet.

In the Dana Air crash, many lost their lives, one was the husband of a government minister.

In Jan 2012, the government minister had traveled to New York with an entourage to talk to the diaspora, and my friends at Sahara Reporters and Nigerian Democratic Liberty Forum protested her presence. They saw a clear connection between a Dana plane falling out of the sky and corruption. But were engineers paid off to report the plane air-worthy? I cannot imagine that ever happening, because an engineer signing off a plane that crashed because of preventable mechanical failure can be charged with murder. I just do not know.

Yesterday I was in Manhattan for the annual Nigerian Independence Day parade. I am always overwhelmed by the willingness of the New York Police Department to erect barriers and close off 2nd Avenue from 54th Street to 42nd Street for 4 hours for Nigeria each October. God bless them.

And how wonderful was the parade. We had a mix of churches, civic organizations, money movers, dancers. And Nigerian Democratic Liberty Forum, demonstrating against what they perceive as the hostile environment in Nigeria that makes so many flee to America.

Simply, many Nigerians want to go home. They want to live home in Nigeria, breathe Nigerian air, walk on Nigerian soil, have their children go to excellent schools and hospitals.

We were addressed by the Minister of Information, who came to represent the President of Nigeria. He told us that Nigeria has sub-Sahara's fastest growing economy, and that a railway is being built between Abuja and Kanu. He told us that this is a new Nigeria, a united Nigeria, and we should all consider moving back to Nigeria.

I could not imagine anything better. I will keep you posted.

Nigeria news feeds, links, videos click here.

Oct 6, 2012
Above, picture of a copy of the Philadelphia Tribune, which is Philadelphia's oldest  newspaper published by and for sons and daughters of Africa.

According to its own website, and Wikipedia, it is the oldest continually running African-American newspaper anywhere, created in 1884.

And from the picture, you know they like having Barack Obama as president.

I took the picture in June, on the way back to the train after the huge street party that is Odunde. A picture of the Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble was taken during Odunde click here.

Today I was in New York City celebrating Nigerian independence, which happened on Oct 1, 1960. Afterwards, I wandered into a falafel restaurant, and I asked the owner if he was Lebanese. He said Egyptian, so I told him I had listened to his president speak and he is a good man. That made him happy, I hope it makes everyone happy. Having a good president in Egypt is good for Africa, is good for us all.

Oct 5, 2012
Above, picture of the President of Egypt addressing the Clinton Global Initiative conference in Sep 2012.

The President of Egypt was given the honor of making the conference's final keynote speech and answering questions. In the room for the press we discussed his presentation afterwards; I heard one journalist say she would have dropped his class if she had been one of his students. He is not a dynamic speaker: he repeats his points several ways until he thinks you got it.

The phrase "mind numbingly boring" was my thought. Which is great. This is a man who will be slow to condemn, slow to anger, slow to destroy. God bless Egypt, they have a good president, may he survive politically and physically for many years.

Today MJoTA focuses on Egypt. On the MJoTA Friday Night Movie we have a movie about how the Great Pyramid was made. Usual patronizing nonsense about how Africans could not possibly have done it; it had to be made by aliens from outer space. Interesting to watch; if you see it as entertainment and a wonderful window into what was made, you will enjoy it as I did. Just don't believe the conclusions, they are clearly nonsense and based on shaky logic and appalling science. God bless Egypt and Africa for being so far ahead of everyone else!

MJoTA Friday Night Movie click here.

And to get the point home, the page on Zimbabwe has been updated. Amazing ruins in Zimbabwe, built millennia ago.

And then some idiot from Britain got there and had the country named after him as Rhodesia. The only good thing about him was the establishment of the Rhodes Scholarship, which gave President Clinton a great education in Oxford. Rhodesia became Zimbabwe around 1980.

Zimbabwe click here.

And in honor of the focus on Egypt, a page on Egypt has been started. For news feeds, videos, link click here.
Oct 4, 2012
Picture above, I was interviewed in City People magazine in Lagos in Mar 2012. The interview was supposed to be about health and MJoTA, but rapidly morphed into a discussion about making the movie adaptation of the book written about the airwar over Nigeria, "The Last Flight".

The man in the picture is an editor at City People; the lady is the former Miss Museum Tourism, she was runner-up to Miss Museum in 2010. She is very enthusiastic about the museum, I have written about this previously, scroll down on Aug updates to Aug 22, click here.

The movie project seems to have been stalled by jealousy and corruption. We shall see. But meanwhile, you can read here about the book and the heroic efforts of Swedish and Biafran pilots in the Biafran War.

Ganymede Movies LLP and Biafra links click here. Swedish Count Carl von Rosen click here. The Last Flight click here.


Today, Oct 4 2012, is the day after my brother's birthday, the day after the first presidential debate.

The day after has a gray feel: President Obama should have done a better job knocking Mitt Romney's absurd lies out of the ballpark; I should have been in Canberra yesterday to celebrate with my brother; but the day after is also the day for new triumphs.

This day is the anniversary of me and my 3 brothers and my parents landing on Australian soil. We sailed by boat from Auckland to the Sydney Overseas Terminal, which is now a fancy tourist place. No more bedraggled immigrants from the cold after effects of World War II. That ended decades ago, and yet the results remain. My parents both died in Australia, far away from their families.

That is the price the migrant pays: life, and death in a far away land. And so far away from my brother on his birthday.
Oct 3, 2012
I met a woman at the Congressional Black Caucus who tugged at my heart. She is Manuelita Brown, a mathematician and sculptor, and she makes the most beautiful sculptures. She has built a small sculpture of Sojourner Truth, which you can see above, and she wants to build a huge one. She needs $65K for the bronze and all the processes involved (none of this money will go into her pocket). I live in Philadelphia, where we can feast on Rodin sculptures daily: hers are more beautiful, more celebratory of the human spirit which can soar over adversity. Donate $5, anything, so she can reach her goal.

Sojourner Truth click here.


"Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti for an additional 18 months. Napolitano is also extending the suspension of certain requirements for F-1 nonimmigrant Haitian students.

The extension of TPS for Haiti will begin Jan 23, 2013, and end Jul 22, 2014.

Secretary Napolitano first designated Haiti for TPS on Jan 21, 2010, after major earthquakes devastated the country.

Current Haitian TPS beneficiaries, who have continuously resided in the United States since Jan. 12, 2011, and seek to extend their TPS status, must re-register during the 60-day re-registration period that runs through Nov 30, 2012, if they wish to maintain their TPS. US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) encourages beneficiaries to re-register as soon as possible within the 60-day period. USCIS will accept applications starting today through Nov 30, 2012. Individuals who have not continuously resided in the United States since Jan 12, 2011, will not be eligible. 

USCIS invites interested individuals to participate in a teleconference regarding the extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti on Wednesday, Oct 3, 2012 from 3:00 to 4:00pm (Eastern).  During this engagement USCIS will provide background information on TPS and explain who is eligible to re-register for this benefit. Information on a 6-month auto-extension of current employment authorization documents (EADs) will also be provided. USCIS subject matter experts will be available to answer stakeholder questions.
Toll Free Call-In Number: 1-800-779-9654 Passcode:  Haiti. For additional information, go to 
Temporary Protected Status Extended for Haitians

Haiti click here.
Oct 2, 2012
Above, how beautiful is the island of Hispaniola, which holds Haiti on the eastern 1-3rd and the Dominican Republic on the western 2-3rds. This picture I took from the bus from the Feb 2012 trip from Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, to Port au Prince Haiti.

News feeds, videos maps: Dominica click here, Dominican Republic click here, Haiti click here.


Happy birthday to my favorite Australian lawyer, Patrick William Dodgson BSc (Mathematics), LLB! Actually tomorrow in America, but Oct 3 has already landed in the east coast of Australia.

Australia is always a day ahead of us who live in the north eastern United States, but Patrick was always light years ahead of most of us anyway.

Patrick, keep on writing laws that empower, rather than disenfranchise, the weakest of us; keep on playing with words, keep on chuckling at absurdities that no-one else sees, keep on making apple cider.

I always adored you, even when I made you play baby Jesus in England and dropped you down the stairs, and when I suggested you try out the hot coals on the hospital slag heap in New Zealand. Ah, and in Australia, I threw a knife at you and cut a slice out of your head, and begged you not to tell our Mother. You did not.

What a wonderful brother. You deserved a better sister than me. You still do.

I don't know when you stopped letting me boss you around, but I thank God you did. I hope I have done some things for you that have been more helpful in the decades since.

Have a wonderful birthday, and many more years of propping up the Australian legal system.

I was blessed on the day you were born, and I have always known that.

Dr Patience Uprichard Dodgson click here. Dr Michael Dodgson click here. Mr Tony Dodgson paralyzed for England click here. Toby and Guy Dodgson died for England click here.
Oct 1, 2012
Above, dancers from the Universal African Drum and Dance Ensemble on stage during the 2012 Odunde celebration in June in Philadelphia. The concert was on 2 stages and on the streets, and on the main stage the audience was addressed by Philadelphia Councilwoman Hon Mrs Jannie Blackwell and by the Chair of the Mayor's Commission Mr Stanley L Straughter.

Universal African Drum and Dance Ensemble click here. Councilmember Jannie Blackwell click here. Mr Stanley L Straughter click here.


Welcome to October, which is the 10th month, but is named as if it was the 8th month. The month for octopi and octagons, and for several national and family birthdays.

Oct 1 1960 was momentous for a small British family of 6: my parents herded my brothers and I onto a plane in Gisborne New Zealand, and we flew to Auckland to catch a boat to Sydney Australia. In Nigeria, the representatives of the Queen of England lowered the Union Jack and raised the green and white flag of Nigeria. In Cyprus, government was similarly relinquished by Britain.

Watch a video on the life of the first president of Nigeria click here.

Fifty years later, Oct 1 2010, I had expected to spend the day celebrating Nigeria but instead spent the day and a good part of the early morning hours of the next day trying to get criminal charges dropped against Lookman Sulaimon Arounfale after he had been arrested on one count of stealing a car and 2 counts of harassing and threatening women. Ah dear. He was released and finally all charges against him were dropped. But that was my celebration of Nigeria at 50.

Last year, 2011, was calmer and more pleasant: I put on my finest white lace Nigerian clothes and celebrated at the Nigerian Embassy in Washington DC with my good friend who is a brother of the late Nigerian superstar musician, Rex Lawson. There I saw the former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Robin Renee Sanders.

Robin Renee Sanders click here.
The mission of Medical Journal of Therapeutics Africa is to celebrate African professionals, and create health in African communities.
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Daily Updates all 2011 click here.
Read the constantly updated news on health from the CDC, FDA and NIH, click here.
MJoTA Friday Night Movie Click here.
Biafra was the eastern third of Nigeria that tried to become its own nation on May 30, 1967 because other Nigerians were murdering them, on Jan 15, 1970 the rest of Nigeria stopped murdering them and they became again part of Nigeria. At the end, 3 million were dead from a population of 12 million. Do not forget Biafra.
Declaration of independence of the nation of Biafra  click here
Ganymede Movies LLP click here

Swedish pilots in Biafra click here
Nigerian Civil War Remembrance click here
The Red Baron click here
Count Carl von Rosen click here

General Ojukwu interview
click here

Major General Madiebo click here
Who is Captain Okpe? click here

The Last Flight  click here
Bombing for Biafra, plane movies and background information  click here

Biafra audio. Listen to speeches by General Ojukwu and the Biafran national anthem. Click here.