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THE BO-BE-NKA’A PROCESS IN FUTRU PARISH

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A TESTIMONY AND RECAPITULATION ON HOW THE BO-BE-NKA’A PROCESS BEGAN, PROGRESSED, AND THEN CAME TO A HALT IN FUTRU PARISH

                The restructuring of the BO-BE-NKA’A (BBN) (Children of the Light) process in Futru Parish was a renovation that took place in the year 2004. This was after the BNN process had undergone a series of changes with different measures taken to rescue it from the many difficulties it faced at the time. This only came about 14 years after the foundation of the Process in the early 1990s. All the measures to rescue the movement did not hold grounds until the early 2000s that its progress was halted.

     The founder Rev. Father Juan Izuel was one of the pioneers of Calasanzian Fathers who came to Futru in Bamenda Cameroon from Spain and took over the pastoral care of the Christian Community of Futru Parish that was before then a Mission Station under Bayelle Parish. The first move by this founder, Father Juan Izuel, was to give intense training to a group of leaders that he chose among the Christians of this community when I happened to be one of them. It was such a beautiful experience that placed an indelible mark in my life, which up till this date still influences my life mightily. Going through the LEADERSHIP TRAINING of the Beli (leaders), the Process was a wonderful way of empowering them as they were trained to live the life themselves before passing it unto the young ones. This training was then followed by the formation of different groups of Awunka’a (Aspirants) made up of children between the ages of 11 and 16. The trained leaders were then assigned to these groups. This was the beginning of a process that these children were then supposed to follow throughout their lives in stages. This beautiful experience did not see the light of day as in the long run; 14 years after, due to difficulties coming especially on the line of leadership, it had to undergo some restructuring which later on led to the standstill of the movement in the Parish, a thing that disturbed and disappointed many who had the Process at heart. The parents, youths involved with the few active Beli (leaders) at the time, felt bad about this.

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Due to the situation of the Movement by 2004, the then Parish Priest Father Mariano Grassa who became the Head of the BO-BE-NKA’A movement, together with the few leaders at the time, thought wisely it was proper to restructure the Movement to involve all the other mission station youth groups (St. Michael’s Youth groups). They said the format of formation used in the BBN Process was good and should be adopted into the new arrangement for all the Parish youths to benefit from. It should be noted here that as the BO-BE-NKA’A (BBN) Process was going on there were also youths in groups found in the different mission Stations who were under the Catholic Youth Federation of the Diocese. At this point, youth leadership in the Parish was made up of the Youth Apostolate Commission (YAC) and the Parish Youth Council (PYC) while the Bo-Be-Nka’a (children of the light) were being coordinated by the group of Belis. This is the report I wrote after the Youth Leadership Seminar that took place from the 10th to the 12th of Sept. 2004, where Father Mariano Grassa presented the new plan.

          REPORT ABOUT NEW MEASURES IN THE BO-BE-NKA’A PROCESS

After the departure of Rev Father Domingo Saez, the second Parish Priest, in July 1999, the BBN process had continued moving well. Father Domingo the Priest who took over from Fr Juan Izuel, had served in this Process since 1993 as Ndi (coordinator) and other Beli, namely:

These people made up the first Beli group called and trained by Rev Father Juan Izuel, the founder of the BBN Process, who was then named the Atie Beli (Head of the coordinators or President of the coordinators.) Father Juan had initiated this dream early in the 1990s when he started a group of Adulescent boys and girls called St Joseph Calasanz Youth Movement. As he progressed with this Movement, he gathered ideas in the Nkwen Language/culture and later on change the name to the BO-BE-NKA’A (CHILDREN OF THE LIGHT) PROCESS.

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            Rev Father Juan Izuel continued as the Atie Beli of the Process until about 1996 when he was transferred to his home country Spain. This seemed to be a significant loss for the Movement, but however, since he started building the Process on a strong foundation, it did not collapse but kept progressing. At this time, Rev Father Domingo took over as the Head (Atie Beli) until he was flown back to Spain in July 1999 because of ill health. This was another tear to the progress of the BBN process. By this time also, many of the Beli had left the group. The remaining ones were: Ndi Eularia, Ndi Janet Nkwenti, Ndi Stella Bitong, Ndi Gladys Nde, and myself Ndi Theresia Taminang, with Rev. Sister Gusti. 

           As the Beli were doubting how the Process’s situation will look like, fortunately, and thanks to God, Rev. Father Mariano Grassa, who took after Father Domingo as the Parish Priest stepped into the Process with new zeal and enthusiasm. During my first meeting with him, he said he has a dream that the BBN process will continue as it was from the beginning. This new trend made me so happy.

THE FIRST BELI MEETING WITH REF. FATHER MARIANO GRASSA

The first Beli meeting was then scheduled to be held on Thursday, Sept 2nd, 1999. The agenda of this meeting was as follows;

This meeting was held with five Beli Present and came out with the following results:

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FIRST MEETING WITH NEW BELI 16th Sept 1999

            This meeting was held as planned by a team of five. More than twenty new people responded and accepted to work with the children, some full time and some part-time; that is, only on holiday periods. The list was as follows:

  1. Terrence Ndifor
  2. Nwufor Geraldine
  3. Julius Tanwie
  4. Joseph Ngangmi
  5. Rosina Abe
  6. Pamela Ngegha
  7. Jude Ngwa
  8. Emilia Ngenjang
  9. Gilbert Tanwie
  10. Joseph Nformbong
  11. Roland Afoungang
  12. Emmaculate Nde
  13. Pascal Nkwamsi
  14. Marie Stella
  15. Paulinus Ngwatung
  16. Delphine Ngelah
  17. Bernadette Ndifor
  18. Claudette Ngangte
  19. Linda Ngelo
  20. Hilda Nchang
  21. Yvonne Messeh

All that was planned for this meeting was presented, shared, and accepted by the new Belis. They received the message with joy and eagerly asked when to start. The next meeting with the group was then scheduled for Saturday 25th September 1999 for further planning.

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2ND MEETING WITH NEW BELIS ON SAT. THE 25TH OF JULY 1999.

Before this meeting day, the planning team had met on Thursday 24th to plan the day’s activities. The following was the scheduled agenda of the day.

9:00 am – Opening Prayer (Theresia Taminang)

9:30 am – First Talk: Why am I here and for what? (Sr Gusti)

10:30 am- Information about the Bo-Be-Nka’a (Theresia Taminang)

12 noon:  Organization (Father Mariano)

1 pm: Meals (Theresia)

2:00 pm: Celebration: (Sr Gusti)

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FORMATION IN THIS MEETING

            On the topic MOTIVATION, Sr Gusti prepared a page with the following questions to be answered by each Ndi.

  1. Why are you here?
  2. Who needs you?
  3. What will you offer to them?
  4. Where do you want to aim your arrows?
  5. What do you ask of the group of Beli?

Summarily, the answers to these questions as were written by the new Beli were as follows;

  1. Why are you here?
  2. I want to answer Gods Call.
  3. To mould myself towards this service with love and good faith.
  4. To have ideas about how to help the children.
  5. To commit myself with devotedness to the call to help young people.
  6. To learn the activities of the Beli, increase my faith and do lead young people on the way to salvation.
  7. I want to serve God through my juniors or friends.
  8. To teach and to be taught by my fellow young people.
  9. Who needs you?

Information was also given to the new Beli about the stages, symbols used, and the additional stage in the BBN Process by Mme Theresia Taminang. The following proposals were offered to the Beli to share ideas about.

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The new Beli confirmed these steps. They also agreed that different symbols could be used at the various stages in addition to the general “Alense” for all with Beli inclusive. They said since the first Basic Promise summarizes the whole process, it should be maintained and renewed at each stage, but different activities or

Under Organization, the New Beli were assigned to different groups as follows:

  1. Stage i:  Pre-Awunka’a
  2. Classes 6 and 7 Mbelem: Nwufor Geraldine, Emilia, Paulinus
  3. Classes 6 and 7 Futru: Sr Gusti, Paschal, Delphine, Bernadette, Joseph Ngangmi, Postulants.
  4. Classes 6 and 7 Menteh: Pamela, Hilda, Jude, Roland, Marie.

The leader of this stage was Sr. Gusti.

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THE COORDINATION was as follows

After this distribution or assignments, the various Beli then met in their different groups to start planning activities for their groups.

This meeting ended successfully with a prayer celebration led by Rev. Sr. Gusti which was quite touching. It was a joyful day as one could hear the Beli exclaiming.”

Sign: Taminang Theresia Ngeche

Ndi – Nikong Stage

President of the BBN Process

            This is how the Atmosphere was when Father Mariano just arrived at Futru Parish. As time went on, the Movement started facing leadership problems due to the fact that there were many groups but Still, the number of committed Beli kept on reducing as many left the Parish for further education and other reasons. This is the reason why in 2004, Rev. Father Mariano Grassa and the Piarist Fathers decided to merge the group with the Parish youth groups, which were under the Catholic Youth Federation of the Arch Diocese. This was done in a leadership Seminar that was held from the 10th to the 12th of September in the year 2004. In this three-day seminar, Father presented the new plan to all the youth leaders at the time. It should be noted that before this seminar took place, the Youth Apostolate Commission in their meeting of 13th January 2004, when they evaluated the Youth Camp of Dec. 2003, had as a new item on their agenda “Bo-Be-Nka’a Reformation.” After Deliberating on this point, the YAC saw that truly there were problems managing the BBN and also the other Youth groups of the Parish separately. Some of these difficulties were:

BO-BE-NKA’A:

YOUTH GROUPS:

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PROPOSED TREND

Thus, on this, the YAC resolved that new structures to help all the groups be set up. This was to be discussed with the youth chaplain and also by youth leaders during their next formation morning/recreational meeting of 14th February 2004. (formation morning refers to the monthly formation sessions given to the BBN Beli while Recreational meetings were joint meetings of YAC and PYC where they contributed 500frs each then come together for recreation) this was to take place at once for the YAC to pass on this new idea. The team that met beforehand on 27th January 2004 to plan for this joint meeting was made up of Fr Mariano, Brother Wilfred Djam, Mme Therese. The problem was then exposed to the youth leaders in this meeting briefly, and proper planning was to take place in the youth leadership training of the 10th – 12th September 2004. The following is a summary of the new plan, as was presented by Father Mariano and Brother Djam at this seminar.

TIME TABLE FOR THE YEAR

STAGES OF FORMATION DEVELOPMENT

Code:  can be a drawing, picture, sample, visit a place, etc

De-code: asking questions about the code.

These stages can be developed from one Theme: Eg:

Personal Commitment and Responsibility

SEE: Meet responsible people and share with them. Invite responsible people to talk within the group. Evaluate each one responsibility in the group.

UNDERSTAND: code and de-code

JUDGE: read a Bible text or other stories and discourse. E.g. Rom12: 1-2, 1 cor 11:21-24, Rom 8:8-10, Mt. 5:13-16,  texts on Commitment

ACT: Plan to do something in the line of the formation topic.

CELEBRATION: a weekend of recollection on the theme. A mass.

Futru –    Theresia

Menteh – Willi broad

Mbelem/Mboung – Mr Julius

Nebung/Mbelewa – Kingsly

Manda – Gladys

            Unfortunately, this new arrangement did not see the light of day as father Mariano left Futru soon after. Father Justine tried in vain to get leaders of the different Mission Station Youth groups to draw up formation following the style of the BBN. After struggling for a short time, things did not move well, and this was how the BO-BE-NKA’A PROCESS came to a HALT in Futru Parish.

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            MEANING OF BO-BE-NKA’A PROCESS

At the initial stage of his dream, the founder, Father Juan Izuel, gave formation on the meaning of the BO-BE-NkA’A Process to the leaders (Beli) as first thing amongst many other topics such as: who is a Christian, Discipleship/Catechumenate, Leadership in BBN, Conversion, Definition of a Ndi, qualities of a Ndi, etc. On defining the process, he said, as the name implies, a process is a gradual change, undertaking, or development of a project, or a person who grows gradually from stage to stage. EG: Life is a process of growth through stages of development.

Physically we stop growing at the age of 20 but spiritually we never stop growing.

He stated that Education, conversion are all processes so do the BO-BE-NKA’A PROCESS.

Living things follow a process. So too BO-BE-NkA’A is a Process where children from their Adolescence age are guided through different stages until they are fully matured. The stages in the BBN process are calved out to cater to the needs of children between the ages of 11 to 25 years. These stages are named after some symbols and words derived from the culture of the Nkwen People in Bamenda Cameroon as follows: AWUNKA, NGWE, NSANG, NEKONG, ABI.

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Stage 1: AWUNKA (Apprentice, Aspirant, Candidate)

Stage 2: NGWE (seed)

Stage 3: NSANG (Arrow)

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Stage 4: NEKONG (Spear)

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Stage 5: ABI – compound, House

(insert summary page)

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AWUNKA

DEFINITION

Awunka in Nkwen means  “Candidate,” “Apprentice,” or “Aspirant.” It is the first step of the BO-BE-NkA’A Process through which the candidate or Awunkas are initiated in the BBN spirituality and lifestyle. At this stage, the children prepare themselves to make the Basic Promise and to become full members of the BO-BE-NKA’A (BBN) Process.

The Candidate: CHILD/PRE-ADOLESCENT

At this stage, the ideal candidates are boys and girls between 11 and 13 years old (Primary 6 – 7) though they may be older. They should have received baptism and First Holy Communion. Where there is a custom to receive confirmation during the upper years of primary school, confirmation should also be a pre-requisite for acceptance or at least to be enrolled in the confirmation classes.

Targets of this Stage

  1. To help the child know him/herself, to accept him/herself and to discovered that LIFE is a wonderful adventure in which God invites us to participate actively and personally. (Self)
  2. To discover the value of living in a GROUP and to develop the necessary attitudes of respect, friendship, sharing and listening.
  3. To develop a personal relationship with JESUS the awareness of the gifts we have received from him (the sacraments) and the child’s commitment to participate in the various Christian disciplines and duties: Sunday Mass, daily prayer, frequent confessions, charity and service, etc (DISCIPLESHIP)
  4. To foster attitudes of CHANGE, GROWTH and CONVERSION, as they approach adolescence and various cross roads in their lives.
  5. To prepare them for initiation into the BO-BE-NKA’A Process through the Basic Promise.
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THE AWUNKA JOURNEY

THE WEEKLY MEETING – Regular Agenda about 1hr 20mins.

  1. Welcome, greet, song practice (15 mins)
  2. Roll call and opening prayer (our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be, Awunka’a Prayer, Prayer to St. Joseph Calasanz)
  3. Games (20 mins)
  4. Formation (15 minutes)
  5. Evaluation, planning, correction, announcements, (15 mins)
  6. Final prayer (10 mins)

IMPORTANCE OF PLAY AT THIS STAGE

            In this stage of development, a child learns through activities more than indoctrination. Playing together gives us a chance to see his/her true self and value. Playful activities and games can help us develop moral values, group attitudes: respect, participation, order, obedience, etc.), and personal gifts. The games must be well prepared by the Ndi, well explained and played, and well evaluated. After all the games, the group has to evaluate negative attitudes, problems of behaviors, lessons learned, etc., so that playful periods may be at the service of our education goal and not pure pass-time.

Some formation topics handled at this stage

The following were some of the formation topics treated at this stage.

  1. Who am I
  2. Stages of life: How we grow
  3. Discipleship
  4. Communication
  5. The Sociograms
  6. Commitment
  7. Jesus is my Friend sessions 1 – 13 sessions
  8. Prayer and sacraments in the Calasanzian Pedagogy
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BO-BE-NKA’A Memories
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(Get more on these links)

ABI Stage of the Bo-Be-NKA’A Process. A Review on the Awunka’a Stage

ABI Stage of the BO-BE-NKA’A Process. A Review on Stage 2: NGWE

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