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Headed back to Cameroon

After more than three months of pouring myself, full-time, into my work with Breaking Ground, I am finally headed back to Cameroon. These past months have been full of administrative work: correspondence, fundraising, grant writing, and other paper work. The big news is that we received a grant from the Obakki Foundation to build the Keuleng Preschool and Community Center. Work is already underway, and in just over a week's time, enormous progress has been made. You can check out updates on the project on our website.

In addition to hearing about our projects, I've vowed to keep this blog updated while I'm traveling in Cameroon throughout the months of December and January. There's a lot of exciting work going on as I work to further establish Breaking Ground's capacity as an organization in Cameroon. I'll be reporting on my progress here, along with the various other anecdotes that inevitably come with travel.

Be well, and be in touch!

On est ensemble,


Work is underway in Keuleng!

Check out these photos of the astounding progress made this past week. Having already invested almost two decades of savings into the project, the community had already laid the building's stone foundation and built its cement columns. In just a week since the funds were transferred to Keuleng to begin construction, cinder blocks have already been made and the walls are being erected under the guidance of a local civil engineer.

The Chief of Keuleng (left) in front of the quickly rising walls.

A sand delivery (left) and drying cinder blocks (right).

Cinder blocks being laid on the already-built foundation.


Obakki Foundation makes grant to build Keuleng Center

On behalf of the community of Keuleng and all those involved with our work in Cameroon, Breaking Ground would like to thank the Obakki Foundation for their generous support of the Keuleng Preschool and Community Center. Obakki's grant of $30,000 will ensure that the bulk of the Keuleng project is completed before the onset of the rainy season in March. Breaking Ground is proud to be partnering with Obakki to enable the villagers of Keuleng to realize their dream of constructing a school for their youngest children. Thank you!


A new chapter for Breaking Ground, and for me.

In August 2006, I returned from my work in Doumbouo, Cameroon and moved to Portland, Maine. Within weeks of my arrival in Portland, I was welcomed into the community of Waynflete School. For the past two years, I've taught middle school History (Cultural Geography) and French, and advised in the 7th grade. I've never truly known Portland outside of the context of my work at Waynflete.

Today, however, marks a new chapter in my life, and in the development of Breaking Ground. In acknowledgment of the time investment that Breaking Ground deserves for it to flourish, I've set out to work full-time as our Executive Director. I have several leads on possible funding to make this possible, but there's still a lot of uncertainty there.

To my colleagues and students at Waynflete: Thank you for all your laughter, enthusiasm, and support. I'll miss you!

On est ensemble (Together),


And... we're back!

Hello to all!
This blog update, almost a year since my last, is clearly long overdue.  I have now been back in Cameroon for three weeks, but things are just now slowing down.  I arrived on July 13th, almost comforted by the familiarity of the muggy Douala weather.  I traveled with my friend, Nathan Boon, a fellow Wes alum, and was greated with enthusiasm by Maman Jeanne and her husband, my homestay family from when I was a student in the southern village of Campo in 2004.  After two days with the Abe'eles in their new home in Limbe, I traveled with Boon to Dschang where I spent a crazed week visiting almost everyone I'd known during my time here in 2006.  After one week of non-stop visits and activity, I hit the road again, this time to pick up my own family in Douala. My mom, dad, and brother all flew over together to visit Cameroon for the first time.  I greeted them in Douala, and we spent one night in Douala before heading back up to Dschang.  My parents flew home two days ago, and Matt (my brother) is here through the duration of my stay, until August 5 when he and I, along with Sarah Oxford (our hugely successful Ground Coordinator) will all fly home to the States together.
The events of my parents visit went as follows:
June 21: Arrival in Douala; spent night in Catholic Mission hotel.
June 22: Travel to Dschang; reception at the old Camp SIT in Fongo Tongo, dinner of Poulet DG and beers with close friends
June 23: Day in Fongo Tongo, including a trip to the bat-filled caves, hiking over the hills, and a bumpy ride in the pick-up across Fongo Tongo in th rain to see the Chutes de Mami Wata, the famed water falls.
June 24: Celebration in Doumbouo to welcome my family and show them the library they helped build and the school they helped renovate.  Participated in the mourning ceremonies of the late Chef Boghonto, an old friend of mine.  Dinner chez Madame Noel. Spent the night chez M. Nkengsa in Doumbouo.
June 25: Visit to the Menouet River Bridge Project site and the Chefferie Fossong Wecheung. Night in Dschang.
June 26: Rest day in Dschang, visit to Keleng to see the beginnings of their Community Center.
June 27: Travel to Yaoundé by car, and took train to Ngaoundéré.
June 28: Got off train at 6am in Ngaoundal to participate in the inauguration of Madame Becham's Glory Bilingual Nursury and Primary School.  Rest!
June 29: Took the train in the AM to Ngaoundéré. Visit to Madame Grace's to lunch and to see her poultry project.  Dinner at Miriamou's.
June 30: Tour of the COREDEC with Taguem in the AM and watched a Breaking Ground Football match in the PM, followed by the Coaches vs. Delegates match in which Sarah played!
July 1: Visit to the Petit Marché to meet Sarah's students; pagne shopping, etc. Dinner at "The Coffee Shop" - mmmm! Evening out with friends of Sarah.
July 2: Visit to Edwige's peanut farm and to Quartier Joli Soir to see the blacksmiths and potters of the Dii.  Rest, and then train to Yaoundé.
July 3: Travel to Yaoundé to Limbe with 7 people crammed in the pickup. Late afternoon at the beach, with a clear view of Malabo, and then an evening at the Abe'eles before turning in for the night.
July 4: Sarah's birthday!  Spent the morning at the Limbe wildlife rehab center seeing chimps, gorillas, baboons, drills, and more.  Spent the afternoon at the beach with the Abe'eles swimming, trying to learn to surf, and just having fun.
July 5: Rainy morning, followed by late lunch of shrimp, calamari, and fish at Down Beach in Limbe.  Travel to Douala to drop the parents at the airport!
July 6: Morning at the beach, and then travel to Dschang!  Spent the evening in Bafou with Sarah's friend Etienne.
And that brings us to today!
I apologize for not having more to say right now, but I will do my best to update this again soon!  I hope everyone is enjoying their summers!
On est ensemble,

Grassroots, Sustainability, Community