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« Alex's Trip to Cameroon: Women in N’gaoundéré | Main | Celebrating Cameroonian Mothers »
Monday
Jun062011

Alex's first week in Cameroon: Planting Palm in Folepi

After two days in the city of Dschang, meeting with our partner organizations and visiting the construction site at Keuleng, I woke up at 5am last Tuesday and hopped on a motorcycle to accompany Paul and his team into the heat of the Lebialem Valley.

Though I have visited Cameroon many times, this was my first trip into this remote and humid part of the country. I had heard horror stories about the quality of the roads and was prepared for a long, hard, muddy trek. Fortunately our moto drivers were experts and negotiated the road (which sometimes resembled a river) with expertise.

Not only is the road tough, but there is no cell phone reception, no electricity and very few improved water sources. The difficulty of accessing and staying in this part of the country makes our work there hard, but all the more important. The purpose of our trip was to conduct two day workshops in Nkong and Folepi, demonstrating the methods to properly peg and plant fields of improved palm and cocoa. If planted and cared for correctly these trees will greatly increase the income of these villages.

As I am not an agricultural expert, my role on this trip was to evaluate the women's business class, and to see how we can improve and expand it next year. This was a great way to start to get to know the women of Nkong, Folepi and Bangang as we discussed the class, their families and their hopes for the future.

The highlight of this week was probably our first night in Folepi, when the community gave me the title of MAFoLah Folepi, an honorary village chief, to show their appreciation for the work Breaking Ground is doing in their community. As with any moment of celebration in Cameroon, people gave impromptu speeches, the beer flowed and the community sang and danced the night away.

The rest of my schedule is as follows...

June 6th: Paul and I will visit the village of Balevang with our partner organization RIDEV to scope out the possibility of a future project there.

June 7th: I will be in Dschang, meeting with women who have taken the most recent WEP class and discussing the future class with the instructor.

June 8th: We leave for Yaoundé

June 9th: In Yaoundé to meet with COREDEC, the NGO with whom we have run the WEP in N'gaoundéré.

June 10th-15th: Paul and I will be in Ngaoundéré.  There we will meet with the women who received funding for their projects in the last six months.  I will also be enjoying the fabulous cooking of my good friend Miriamou!

June 16th-17th: We will travel to Buea to meet with potential partners CIC, Man and Nature and ERuDeF.

June 18th-19th: I will have a couple of days on the beach in Limbé. Taking the time to compile my notes and relax a little before my long flight home.

I hope the next two weeks are as inspiring and productive as this first week has been!

On est ensemble,

Alex Moore

 

 

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