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Thursday
Jul132006

Final weeks in Cameroon!

Hi Everyone,

 

This past Tuesday, July 11th, marked six months since my arrival in Cameroon in January.   I have less than three weeks left before I fly out of Douala and leave behind friends and communities that I will miss terribly.  Although it makes me sad to think about leaving behind friends, families, colleagues, students, and the town and village I have called home here, it is satisfying to know that I am leaving behind some concrete changes that won't be forgotten.   Thanks to the donations of over 70 individuals and families, I will be leaving behind a well, 6 cemented classrooms, a cement staircase and accompanying flagpole, a water faucet, repaired school buildings, several beautiful murals, and last but certainly not least, a brand new library stocked with wonderful, donated books.

 

To those of you who have helped with these projects, I cannot thank you enough for your efforts.   These last few weeks will be full of celebrating.  On July 22nd, the village elites and chiefs are throwing a formal ceremony to acknowledge the work that we have done.   On July 29th, just days before I fly to France, we are inaugurating the new library in the presence of several big-time government officials.

 

But despite being almost done with my time here, work is still in progress.   One month ago we "broke ground" on the construction of the new library, and the essential work will be finished by the end of this week.  The library looks great: sturdy, cemented walls, large spacious windows, and great working and storage space.   Unfortunately, however, there are many finishing touches that we lack the funds to complete.

 

At this point, the library construction has cost approximately 2,500,000 f CFA (less than $5000 dollars).   I am writing this email to see if we can pull together the funds necessary to complete a few final steps.  Here are our goals:

-           Right now, the library rooms have no ceiling.  Under the bare, aluminium roofing, the library has a feeling somewhat like a warehouse.   A ceiling is important not only because it gives the room as more comfortable feel, but also because it protects the books from moisture that is likely to seep in through the gaps in the aluminium roofing.   Though the library is still better constructed than many buildings here in Cameroon, an additional $300 to $600 would allow us to install a ceiling.   $300 would fund the installation of a bamboo ceiling while $600 would allow us to use sturdy plywood and beams.  To give you an idea of the specific costs, a piece of plywood costs about 3,000 f CFA (less than $6) when bought in gross and we would buy approximately 50 pieces, plus 50 lateral beams at about $2 each to support the plywood.

-           Similar to the work done in the classrooms across the street, the new library's walls have been cemented and look great.   By Thursday, the floor will have been cemented and the building will be structurally complete (besides the ceiling).  Dark cement walls, however, are not ideal in a library.   We would like to paint the walls with at least a coat of whitewash, but ideally a coat of oil paint.  Two tubs of whitewash (approximately $20 each) would probably do the trick, and three tubs of oil paint (approximately $80 each) would be incredible.   Add to that the cost of brushes and dilutant, and $350 would probably cover the cost of painting.

-           Finally, there are finishing touches such as sturdy tables and chairs, posters, blackboards, and maybe even a small carpet for a "kiddy korner."   I hardly expect to be able to leave the library with much more than the basic necessities, but it would be great to leave the community of Doumbouo with a library that is as complete and furnished as we could hope for.   Chairs and tables are relatively inexpensive and the more money we have, the better quality we can afford.

 

To those of you who have already donated, thank you so much.   All I ask of you is that you pass the word along!  For those of you who haven't contributed yet, please consider making a contribution now.  Just remember that even a donation of $10 can go a LONG way here.  By giving up something simple like a meal in a restaurant, a six-pack of beer, or an item of new clothing, you can help build something here in Cameroon that will benefit a whole community and last for decades.   Though I only have three weeks left, that is plenty of time to put a PayPal or even paper check contribution to good use.  If you do send a paper check by mail, please let me know via email so we can take into account your contribution before the check arrives.   If you have questions, PLEASE ask.  And spread the word!  All the success we have had thus far has been because of the generosity of people like you and the willingness of people to tell their friends and families.

 

I look forward to hearing from you.  Thank you for everything you have done so far!

 

Sincerely,

Lindsay

--
www.breakinggroundcameroon.org

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