The United Kingdom struggles with FGM, but we in the USA are immune, numb, for now. One day, those brave readers here in the US who find it startling that FGM exists, anywhere, after reading Jabonkah’s story in DRIVING THE BIRDS, will be ahead of the understanding curve when FGM comes of age in the US.
Hilary is a champion in the UK, as Paula Ferrari is in Australia. Paula has read DTB but not sure about Hilary. Both are friends.
Anyway, just wanted to thank those who have read DTB, understand how horrible FGM is, and agree FGM needs to end, everywhere. How is the million-dollar question. Education of young girls and women who are effected and are at risk is my best answer. This is why Jeanette/Jabonkah and her church are working with Pastor Brown in Monrovia, Liberia, West Africa to build a school, lost deep on the bush, to educate Liberian girls and women. See the pictures….
Great job, Hilary! Oh, and Jeanette!!!
How To Write a Book Review on Amazon
DRIVING THE BIRDS
When I wrote my first review on Amazon, I was stressed. Therefore, I understand why some people, who have told me they loved DRIVING THE BIRDS, have never written a review.
Amazon reviews influence DRIVING THE BIRD sales.
Around 20-25 reviews, Amazon includes the book in “also bought” and “you might like” lists. Around 50-70 reviews, Amazon spotlights it. This is huge!
But, I’m no good at writing a review. What do I say?
The great thing about an Amazon review is that you can click a star rating and then write a couple of sentences (at least 20 words) about the book. Reviews may be simple or long and expressive. Here are some ideas about what you might put in a review: (You can include the name of the book and the author’s then you’re down to 15 words!)
- Adjectives that describe the book: Great, Good, Awful, Sad, Happy, Inspiring, Uplifting, Amazing, Emotional, Well Written (my personal favorite), A Must Read, etc.
- Say something you liked about it: the overall story, a particular scene or person, a moment that really impacted you.
- Don’t be afraid to be honest. Do be helpful. You’re not being graded.
Creating Your Review.
- Visit DRIVING THE BIRDS on Amazon.com.
- At the end of the Customer Review Section, click “Write a customer review.”
- Login to your Amazon.com account if prompted.
- Before you may post a review, you’re required to have an Amazon.com account. You don’t need to have bought DRIVING THE BIRDS from Amazon, but you must have had purchased something from Amazon in the past.
Russell Traughber, Author, Driving the Birds
Greetings in Jesus name!
By the grace of God, we had two beautiful, eventful days already this week. We were in the village of Gbokolleh, about 15 miles northeast of Monrovia, where visiting Jeanette Mills aka Jabonkah Sackey spoke to about 32 women who graduated from our small-skills training program yesterday.
It was a program attended by a representative of the Minister of Gender and Development and local chiefs, church people, press and villagers. There was z procession, great singing in English and Kpelle, speeches, drama, presentation of certificates, distribution of 65 packets of rice, exhibition of materials – soap, tye-dye cloths, etc produced by the girls in this community. [Photos soon]..
The community appealed to government and Church Aid to help with water and sanitation, a school, connection of their feeder road from village to other villages [about 17 villages in this chain], empowerment of girls, etc.
They were appreciative of the training and other assistance from CAI and partners to this village. You know this includes US Embassy, CWS, New Water in the Desert Assembly, etc who have assisted CAI in the past in the work in Gbokolleh. An Assistant Minister of Gender and Development pledged $500 for the women to continue their training activities.
We pledge to work with all the partners to establish The Gbokolleh Girls Mission that will help empower youths in this neglected part of rural Montserrado, a few miles away from University of Liberia Fendell Campus.
When the girls complete 6th grade in this community, they get stuck in the village because there’s no junior or senior high school here. As a consequence, teen pregnancy is on the rise. The village is on the road to the neglected and shrub-covered town of slain 19th President of Liberia, William R. Tolbert.
On our return to town, we swung through the old Soul Clinic mission in the eastern Paynesville suburb of Monrovia where Sister Mills was a ‘mission girl’ between 1962 and 1966
Thanks, God bless
PS. A brief about CAI and Gbokolleh is attached
CHURCH AID INCORPORATED
2ND CYCLE WOMEN EMPOWERMENT SMALL-SKILLS TRAINING PROGRAM
SPONSORED BY THE UNITED STATES EMBASSY PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE
About Church Aid and Gbokolleh Village
A little over 5 years ago, Gbokolleh Village, about 15 miles northeast of Monrovia, the Capital of Liberia was randomly designated by an assessment team from the parent body of Church Aid, The New Water in the Desert Assembly (NWIDA) as an outreach community. The church has just launched her “Mobile Missions” initiative to reach “neglected” and hurting rural and semi-urban communities. Just a few years away from the civil war that ravaged the country, people still require help in many ways.
The first mission was fielded to Gohnzipo Village in western Liberia. It was highly successful. The teams took along both physical [food, clothes, medicine, building materials, school materials donated by CWS, etc.] and spiritual [counseling, etc.] help to reach a whole village. During the subsequent review and planning meetings, the road between UL Fendell Campus and Bensonville City was selected for our second mission.
That’s how Gbokolleh village was “invaded” by a big Mobile Mission convoy with assistance from Church Aid and other departments of the church to the utter surprise of the villagers. The elders welcomed us and asked us to stay with them to help in whatever way. Patients were treated; material relief items distributed including school materials for the kids, hygiene and baby kits from CWS in New York; adult literacy learners, and houses with leaks, repaired, vegetable seeds for farmers, amongst others.
Then the first training was launched with a small grant from US Embassy Public Affairs Office (PAO) to include two other areas, Golodee in Bomi County and the Girls Career Club (GCC) in Brewerville, Montserrado County. So here we are celebrating the development of a healthy partnership between this village and Church Aid and partners. We look forward to strengthening this partnership in many ways including empowering the girls of this community, encouraging food production activities, etc. in collaboration with existing and new partners to include Christ Cornerstone Christian Church based in California, USA, [bold added] whose representative is here with us today; Ministry of Gender and Development, etc.
Congratulations to the graduates. And thank you to the Governor, Chiefs and Citizens of Gbokolleh for their warmth welcome. God bless.
After recording Jabonkah’s interview: Freedom: From the Secrets of my Liberian Childhood in May of 2013, Freedom premiered tonight on LVTV-3 community television, in fact I’m watching it now!
It will air every Thursday night at 7:00 and 7:30 p.m. for the rest of the summer.
Now if you would like to help Jabonkah-Jeanette tell her important story and if you don’t live in La Verne, CA, then please contact your local community TV channel and suggest they consider airing Freedom. They can inquire at LVTV-3 1950 3rd Street, La Verne, CA 91750 909-392-2731, 909-392-2706 fax firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes Jeanette and I want to sell copies of Driving the Birds, but we donate half of our royalties from online sales of DTB to the Church of the Brethren, and we have designated that these funds go to Church Aid Inc., of Monrovia, Liberia, West Africa. Jeanette told her story to help prevent more Liberian girls from suffering FGM.
CAI educates girls and women about many issues that challenged them, and CAI also teaches job skills to young women. Some of you, like me, had already given to CAI through COB. Here is how you can too.
CAI is on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChurchAidIncMonroviaLiberia
Jeanette and I are grateful for Pastor Susan Boyer of the La Verne Church of the Brethren for volunteering to interview Jeanette and to the University of La Verne Professors Don Pollock and George Keeler and, of course, ULV’s President, Devorah Lieberman, for producing Freedom. Many thanks!!! We are also very appreciative of Jay Wittmeyer, Director of COB’s Global Missions for referring Jeanette and me to Rev. Kortu Brown of CAI and for seeing that our funds get to CAI. Thank you, Jay.
My best regards to all…
Russell Traughber, Author, Driving The Birds
Jeanette-Jabonkah and I support the educational efforts of Church Aid Inc., Monrovia, Liberia that focuses on a host of women’s health issues. Jabonkah and I donate nearly 50% of what we receive in royalties from the on-line sales of Driving the Birds to Church Aid Inc. through the Church of the Brethren.
We invite your interest in stopping FGM in Liberia. If you would to help educate and empower the girls and women of Liberia, then please donate to the Church of the Brethren at this LINK BUT please designate your tax-deductible gift in Honor of Liberia.
Tonight, July 25, 2013, on LVTV 3, the cities of La Verne and San Dimas, California, on their community television stations, are premiering Jabonkah Sackey and Pastor Susan Boyer’s interview: Freedom: From the Secrets of my Liberian Childhood at 7:00 p.m.. Freedom will run every Thursday night, also at 7:00 p.m., during the summer, plus it is available online at the link above.
After some 50 years of keeping her painful childhood secret, exclusive, to herself, Jabonkah finally decided to expose the horrible practice of the Sande’s secret society of Liberia, West Africa. Jabonkah was born in Liberia in 1948. FGM, female genital mutilation, is huge topic in the UK, on a commonwealth scale, as it also is also an major issue in Australia, Indonesia, Somali, Mali, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, and Egypt, just to name a few other nations.
Most people here in the USA are just now learning about FGM and the worldwide effect it has on girls and women. This is why Jabonkah’s story is important to you. Jabonkah, now age sixty-five, asked me to write her childhood memoir Driving the Birds, which was released in October 2012. She wants the life-long pain and suffering of FGM that she has experienced to stop and not happen to anymore girls. She was eight-years old when she was mutilated.
However, Jabonkah feels a great sense of freedom, now that she has purged herself of her long-held childhood secret, additionally, she is very excited to be a part of the rapidly-growing educational movement about the barbaric practice of FGM.
For you in the USA, please consider contacting your local community television station and let them know that this important show is available to your community and that you would like them to consider scheduling it into their lineup, because Freedom tells of the horrible injustice that continues to plague the girls and women of our global community.
Russell Traughber, Author, Driving the Birds
July 24, 2013
Friends and Family,
I’m sharing several emails between Ms. Shell-Duncan and me. Ms. Shell-Duncan is a professor of anthology at the University of Washington. She was noted in a recent New York Times article regarding her FGM work in Kenya. So I contacted her.
It is so pleasing when I get positive responses like the one below. I’ll keep you posted if anything develops from this interaction, besides selling a copy of Driving the Birds. My goal, after my transplant, to make many contacts like this in university settings. I need an outreach assistant! Any volunteers?
Also note: Freedom: From the Secrets of my Liberian Childhood is premiering on LVTV 3 in La Verne and San Dimas tomorrow, Thursday, at 7:00 pm. It is available nationally, so those of you who are not in the La Verne area can contact your local community TV stations and request they show it.
Jeanette and I are very appreciative of the University of La Verne for producing this show! Thank you, ULV!
Have a great day!
—– Forwarded Message —–
From: Russell Traughber <email@example.com>
To: Bettina Shell-Duncan
Cc: Jeanette Mills
Sent: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 5:34 AM
Subject: Re: FGM
Good morning, Bettina,
Thank for your interest in Jabonkah’s story Driving the Birds. The TV show that ULV produced for me: Freedom: From the Secrets of my Liberian Childhood, will premiere tomorrow night, Thursday, on our local community channel, and it will also be available to the rest of the nation. Tomorrow will be a great day for Jabonkah-Jeanette because stopping the cutting of girls and women was her goal in digging deep into her painful past.
Please let me know how you find DTB and thank you again for your interest.
From: Bettina Shell-Duncan
To: ‘Russell Traughber’ <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 12:55 PM
Subject: RE: FGM
Thank you for reaching out, and letting me know about your work and activism. Important work, to be sure. I look forward to reading your book.
All the best,
Professor, Department of Anthropology and
Adjunct Professor of Global Health
University of Washington
Department of Anthropology
Seattle, WA 98195-3100
From: Russell Traughber [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, July 22, 2013 1:39 PM
July 22, 2013
Greetings, Ms. Shell-Duncan.
I just read Ms. Dugger’s article in today’s NYT about the gradual decline in FGM, as reported by the United Nations Children’s Fund, wherein you were mentioned as a source about FGM in Kenya. After writing Jabonkah Sackey’s Liberian childhood memoir, DRIVING THE BIRDS, I became an anti-FGM advocate.
If you would like to learn more about Jabonkah’s story, the University of La Verne, La Verne, CA, produced an interview with Jabonkah that is available on YouTube and linked to the home page of my website at Shadwell Publishing.
La Verne TV will be airing Jabonkah’s interview: Freedom: From the Secrets of my Liberian Childhood on our local community channel and will also be making it available nationwide. My goal in asking ULV for their assistance to produce this show was to raise awareness about FGM here in the USA. They graciously obliged me.
Many whom I know personally and who have read Jabonkah’s memoir were shocked that this practice continues. Thus, my current efforts are educational here in the USA and in Liberia. On my blog, which is also linked to my website, I detail what Jabonkah and I are doing in Liberia to help stop FGM.
Since Jabonkah’s interview, which was made several months ago, Jabonkah has learned that her mother is alive, and Jabonkah is leaving, soon, for Liberia. She may be in peril, because she exposed the Sande’s secrets in her memoir. Ironically in her interview, she says that she can never return to Liberia. But she said this before she knew that her mother was alive.
Jabonkah and I are giving fifty percent of our profit of our on-line book sales to Church Aid Inc. of Monrovia, Liberia, Facebook Page, as our way of being active in helping stop FGM. If Jabonkah and I can be of assistance to your work at the University of Washington, then that would please us.
My best regards,
Author, Driving The Birds