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US Ambassador to Cameroon visits Heifer

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The excitement in the close knit mountain village of Vekovi was total, as farmer groups, civil and traditional authorities in the sunset of April 12th 2011 overwhelmingly turned out to welcome the US ambassador to Cameroon Robert P Jackson on a visit to Heifer Cameroon sponsored Projects in the area. The US Diplomat who was accompanied by his wife, the political and economic adviser to the US embassy in Cameroon Mikael Cleverley was taking his first trip through Heifer sponsored projects in Cameroon’s North West Region since taking office in October of 2010.

The Diplomat started his day visiting individual farm families and was brought face to face with the new opportunities that Heifer sponsored projects were carving for these families. These farm families in the company of their close relatives and friends authoritatively scooped through their success stories, as they confidently talked about Heifer donated animals, improved nutrition, available income from the marketing of animals and food crops and lost gender stereotypes in their midst and the values of Heifer corner stones. “I have surplus to feed my family to day as a result of the project” Ngong Lazarus told the Diplomat brandishing one of his seedlings who recovered from ill health as a result of improved nutrition like a wining card. Another farmer Sahwai Philip had a phenomenal movie like display with his bull in prove of the endless relationships these families had forged with their animals. The diplomat exalted the farm families for putting their abilities to test and remained them, that by continuously working together they could achieve lasting goals for their families and community.

There was no limit to the open excitement at the village community hall under construction where the Diplomat and his entourage were later received by a cross section of the population. In a welcome address to the diplomat, the three farmer common initiative groups (Dzekwa Multipurpose, Hill to Gardening and Integrated Farming Common Initiative Groups in the area recalled that their friendship with Heifer Cameroon started in 1993 when the Dzekwa multi purpose Initiative group which started with two initial farm families and later metamorphorised to a dairy cooperative over the years was identified for assistance. From the adventure these initial farm families benefited from Heifer Cameroon’s knowledge of animal rearing, and donation. A daring need for change saw these farm families immerging in to dairy farming and food crop production. Their result was not only full bellies and cash for extra spending but the formation of two other common initiative groups over the years. As a fitting tribute to their dedication these two groups have a total membership of twenty five farm families with sixty five animals in their keeping after having sold twenty five animals for extra cash and had since respected the Pass on the Gift commandment with two animals. The speaker talked to the ambassador about their extraordinary achievements like the education of their children, the construction of a community hall, modern houses, environmental protection and self employment for the youths within the community. “These groups were indebted to Dan West, the Heifer Project International Founder” the speaker said, a man immortalized in their hearts like a generous friend with a wonderful spirit for having planted a seed of love to make poverty and misery a dream in the world of theirs.

From the outburst of individual testimonies that followed, almost every farmer had the liberty to send a word of thank you back to Heifer International donors in the United States of America through the Diplomat “We will continue to pray your own families’ good luck and peace”, Ngoran Emmanuel said. The manner in which these men and women who labored on their farm fields, the best they could spoke of Heifer Cameroon’s love story could melt even a stony eerie heart. To most Americans, these people have nothing but their wealth and inner joy is more than any one can ever imagine.

Responding to the plethora of best wishes to the American people, HE Robert Jackson P traced the deep commitment of his family in contributing to the work of Heifer International around the world to many years past. The Ambassador said he was grateful to see “farm families making the best of a great idea”. The Diplomat thanked the people of Vekovi and their leaders for the compelling social networking that brought about a stronger and healthy community. HE Robert Jackson while pledging to make more Americans aware of Heifer Cameroon’s work, called on the farm families to stay undefeated in their quest for a better world. “I pray that the animals will be a blessing to the community not only now but for the great future to come” he concluded.

The Vekovi community is some 85KM from the hustle and bustling of Bamenda, the North West Regional capital in Cameroon. It is in these fertile slopes that some fifteen thousand subsistent farmers made of Mbororo’s, Muslims and indigenous people live and toil side by side. Their continuous hopes for a better world depend on their benefactors, millions of miles across the Atlantic Ocean.

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