“Akiba” (Thank You in the Bulu Language), Mrs Chantal Biya! The feast was grandiose and exceptional. These words best describe the 2019 Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Gynaecological Endoscopic Surgery and Human Reproductive Teaching Hospital (CHRACERH) on Saturday, December 21, 2019. The First Lady, Chantal Biya, matron of the hospital was at the hospital vicinity at Ngousso in Yaounde to light a special Christmas tree and to hand Christmas gifts to children at the hospital especially those conceived via IVF and delivered at the hospital. Special about the event was the surprise the happy new-found mothers had for the matron of the hospital.
Days before the arrival of “Mother Christmas”, the population of Ngousso and its environs understood something special was about to happen at the Gynaecological, Endoscopic Hospital. The usual serenity around the hospital was absent. The hospital buildings and surrounding were transformed into the colour of the season. That is red and white, with Christmas bells ringing from all angles. The D-Day came and the sounds of Christmas carols resonating from the hospital increased alongside melodies from different traditional dance groups and the hospital choir, this to the delight of guests and on-lookers. The different hall ways into the hospital were garlanded with festive Christmas decorations such as artificial Christmas trees on it attached ornaments, wreath and garland. Such decorations did not just create a charming festive spirit, but also the reason why the hospital community was particularly in a festive mood. The matron of the hospital was on her way for a special Christmas visit to the hospital staff, mothers and babies.
At exactly 1:45 p.m.; Mother Christmas elegantly made her way into the hospital in white and red attire that added more colour to the event. The long-awaited moment had come. At this point, the event took another twist. After being received by the hospital administrators and other dignitaries, the First Lady briefly waved the crowd and, instead of moving directly to the right-hand corner of the hospital where there was a collection of gifts to be distributed to children whose parents work at the hospital as well as those conceived via IVF, she took a sit at the grandstand. New-found mothers, who had never dreamt of bearing children, but who, thanks to expertise from CHRACERH, are today enjoying the gift of motherhood, had a word and gift for Mrs Chantal Biya. On behalf of all these women, Mrs Kana told the First Lady that through IVF, they are enjoying motherhood thanks to her good heart. “We are happy to see you today. To us, you are a gift. You have lifted our morale and we say “Akiba”, Mrs Kana told the First Lady. The women in all joy and gratitude handed the First Lady a gift of the statue of our Lady of Mont Carmel. Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as patroness of the Carmelite Order. Carmel is mentioned as a “holy mountain” in Egyptian records of the 16th Century BC.
This paved the way for gifts distribution by the First Lady to all the 170 babies delivered via IVF who had come to commune with her during this period of sharing and love. She was accompanied in this exercise by the Minister of Public Health, CERAC women and other dignitaries. Before visiting the different wards, Chantal Biya was welcomed at the hospital door with songs of gratitude from CHRACERH choir and also a homage song to the 170 babies. In the different wards, the women were overwhelmed to meet the Lady who is the brain behind the existence of the hospital. Besides being glad to present their babies to the First Lady, the women, in their own way, thanked the First Lady for the goodness she keeps spreading to everybody.
The colourful ceremony was graced by several local artists such as Katino, Afo Akom, Ama Pierrot, etc. Mrs. Chantal Biya rounded off her day at CHRACERH with a group picture with the administrative and medical staff of the hospital. It should be noted that within the three- year plan of the hospital to conceive 150 babies via IVF, with 170 IVF babies, the hospital has exceeded it goals.