About the presenter: My name is Eric Ndosak and I am 32 years old. I am a person who stutters as well as some five members of my family. I have been a member of the Speak Clear Association of Cameroon since 2002. I studied Business Finance and Management and hold a National Higher Diploma in Insurance. I studied German language in the School of Foreign languages and at the GOETHE Institute in Yaounde, Cameroon and can speak and write English, French and Germany as well as five of the local dialects spoken in Cameroon.

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Self-Help Organizations Provide Knowledge and Understanding (as well as support)

by Eric Ndosak
from Cameroon, West Africa

I am from Mbesa village in a rural and remote part of the North West Region of Cameroon. My father who stutters has 9 children. Three of the boys and one girl stutters, a total of 5 members of my father's family. Living in a rural village I did not have any help for my stutter as a child or a teenager.

While in school, my stutter was a problem for me. My classmates and some of my teachers made fun the way I spoke. To make up for this, I studied hard in school and was one of the smartest pupils. This helped me a lot and I became a friend to many fellow classmates and my teachers too.

Though my stuttering was always noticeable, it did not hold me back from talking. I even went as far as being a member and main leader of the Journalism club in my Secondary school with the hope that I could one day become a journalist. When I was leading one session of the Journalism club in my school, one member who was a big bully openly made fun of my stutter and told me I must stop stuttering if I ever wanted to be a good journalist or public speaker. Though, I took this lightly when he made this remark, this went a long way to make me think my stutter could hinder me from choosing certain professions. I started thinking of what I could do to have help for my stutter. I did not know any traditional healers in my village that treated stuttering.

In 2002 when I was visiting Douala, one of my classmates in Secondary school told me there was an association for stutterers in Douala and that there were some Doctors there who could help me recover from stuttering. Knowing what stuttering was doing to me, I got in touch with the Speak Clear Association of Cameroon where I discovered there was much information on stuttering that I could learn. I learned there were many other people in Cameroon who stutter and who meet regularly to help themselves. It was the first time I learned that even white people or people from the western world stutter. That was a big relief to me and I made photocopies of some documents on stuttering and took with me back to my village.

Since then I have been in touch with members of the Speak Clear Association of Cameroon and I have been learning a lot from what is happening in the world of stuttering.

In 2005, I took part at the First African conference on stuttering in Douala, Cameroon. I was able to meet many people who stutter from many parts of Africa and from outside of Africa who attended the conference. I have not been 'cured' from stuttering but since I started meeting other people who stutter, this has helped me a lot. I have learned that even if I stutter, I am not alone and that my stuttering cannot or should not hinder me from doing many things.

At present I work as a sales person in an Insurance company and I also work part time as a German language teacher in a Secondary school. Both of these professions involve a lot of talking. My stuttering is no longer a big issue for me and I often inform my customers and students that I stutter. This has helped me a lot and all this I learned from my associating with other people who stutter. My humble advice to any person who stutters is to join a self help organization for people who stutter where one exists or to consider creating one if none exists in your locality.

SUBMITTED: July 5, 2009
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