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« Keuleng School Nears Completion | Main | Meet Paul François Zangue »

Letter from Lindsay, Chair of the Board of Directors

This past year, I had the opportunity to travel to Cameroon twice, both times with the generous financial assistance of the Obakki Foundation. My first trip (Nov. 28, 2009–Jan. 20, 2010) began with many long-overdue reunions with friends and “family,” who then quickly came to see that my visit was for work, not play: “Elle travaille trop!” they’d say.

In addition to overseeing the quickly advancing school construction in Keuleng and formalizing our new partnership with RIDEV, Paul Zangue and I began to forge the professional relationship that would lead to his hiring as our first fulltime employee in the spring. Alex Moore, who is now serving as Breaking Ground’s Interim Director, joined me for twoweeks to ring in the New Year with friends in Doumbouo and
to travel to Ngaoundéré for visits with our Women’s Entrepreneurial Program grant recipients. During my second trip (April 26–May 16, 2010), I worked with new board member Alden Blair and the WEP staff to establish partnerships with three local micro-finance banks.

The highlight of both trips, however, was my travel to the Southwest Region. Just moving around in the Lower Wabane Valley is work: trekking by foot between villages, in the scorching sun, is often more timely and practical that traveling by truck over the badly eroded road. But the effort was well worth it in the end. In the village of Folepi, I met siblings Mathias and Catherine as I watched traditional palm oil processing for the first time. I met dozens of women in Folepi, including the beautiful and exuberant Febe Mbai, who spoke enthusiastically about the ways in which our new program will help her with her agriculture.

Most satisfying of all was departing Cameroon in May knowing that the management of Breaking Ground’s programs lay in the able hands of Paul Zangue.

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