Handicrafts and Appropriate Technology

Cameroon Blog

Francoise Mbango of Cameroon

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Defending Olympic champion Francoise Mbango of Cameroon broke the Olympic record of the women's triple jump at the Beijing Olympics here on Sunday and retained the title.

In her second attempt, Mbango landed 15.39 meters. The previous record was held by Inessa Kravets of Ukraine in 15.33 meters.

Tatyana Lebedeva of Russia, took her second Olympic silver after Sydney games with a jump of 15.32 meters. She was also the bronze medalist in Athens games.

The bronze went to Hrysopiyi Devetzi of Greece, who cleared 15.23 meters, who jumped 15.33 meters in the qualification at the Athens games, the best Olympic effort so far.

The reigning champion created the new Olympic record in her second jump, and then posted lackluster performance in her next four trials which were all below 15 meters.

The runner-up secured her place in the third jump, and posted two foul attempts in her last two trials. The bronze medalist failed in her last four jumps after she cleared the 15.23 meters in her second trials.

Cameroon Francoise Mbango Etone competes during the women's triple jump final at the National stadium as part of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on August 17, 2008. Francoise Mbango of Cameroon defended her triple jump gold medal at the Olympics on Sunday.


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 11:45 AM, ,

Where the queen of Bafut wants biscuits

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Scott MacMillan

'Good afternoon. We'd like to meet the fon." Rob limps up to the gate of the royal palace and presents our request for an audience with the local king to a woman wearing a patterned frock and flip-flops. This, it turns out, is Ma Marie, Her Majesty the Queen herself - or one of them, anyway, for the fon of Bafut has over 40 wives.

We're near the heart of Cameroon's Ring Road country, also known as the Grassfields, where a line of barely navigable dirt track traces a rough circuit through mountainous pastures and forests that brush the Nigerian border. For those who can bear the driving conditions, layers of sharply undulating hills stretch into a hazy horizon, covering a land dotted by volcanic crater lakes, waterfalls and grass-thatched palaces inhabited by local chieftains and kings, or fons. The fon of Bafut is a paramount lord of the area.

The young queen regards us, a ragtag bunch, with a measure of scepticism. Following a spill on his motorcycle, Rob is hobbling along on a swollen ankle, which he later learns is actually fractured, while Luke, Roger and I have caked ourselves with red dust by circuiting most of the Ring Road at a breakneck pace of two days.

The route to Bafut involves a collection of different drivers, the oddest of whom, a local road engineer named Peter, speaks only in a high-pitched falsetto voice. We find him through the owner of a restaurant where we've broken the journey. For about US$40 (Dh147), Peter gives us three spaces in the back of the cab of his pickup for the 110 kilometres from Nkambe to Wum, the northernmost and worst segment of the ring road.

"I am not a transport company!" Peter squeals disconcertingly when the restaurant owner demanded a tip for his referral. "Don't disturb my mind!" The mood turns sour, and the altercation nearly gets us booted from the back of the cab.

We finally set off, the pickup crawling along for hours, pitching itself into the track's deep ditches and then crawling out again. "You come to see us suffer!" Peter says, his voice as high as a Puccini aria. "Now do you see how we suffer?" The condition of the road is bad enough, but the driver's voice is downright disturbing.

We eventually reach Wum, and the following day, Bafut, but with so much hard travel, we barely have time to enjoy the scenery. This explains the state we're in when we finally approach the royal palace.

Alas, it turns out one can't just walk up to the fon and shake his hand. "Meeting the fon," Ma Marie explains softly, "is very expensive."

First, one must request a special dance performance, which will cost about $30 (Dh110); next, one must invest in a suitable gift, the fon's preference being a case of Amstel. The fon will then make his appearance.

"I'm happy not to meet the fon and just take the tour," says Rob.

"Seems a bit dear," Luke agrees.

After high-tailing it around the Ring Road in an effort to make the most of our time, I'm realising the value of things left unplanned. A journey needs space to breathe, for too much scheduling can suffocate the unexpected, the strange serendipity that make travel so rewarding. This meeting with the fon seems too staged. We decline.

Instead, we tour the palace grounds with the queen as our guide, ending outside the Achum, a holy inner sanctum covered by a pyramidal thatched roof where the fon communicates with his ancestors. We sit in silence, savouring the quiet atmosphere of the walled compound.

"So the tour is over now," Ma Marie says. She pauses a few beats. "Don't you have something for me?" she asks me directly. "After all your inquisitiveness? Some biscuits, perhaps?"

I'm taken aback. We did ask her a lot of questions, particularly about her marriage to the fon. But we've already paid the entrance, guide and camera fees. I cover the awkward moment with a smile and the bare truth, which is that I'm bearing no biscuits - nor any gifts worthy of a queen, for although a monetary tip may have sufficed, a few coins hardly seem right for royalty.

I've been solicited for gifts endless times in Africa, usually by children who ask for cadeaux, and I've had some strange and unexpected encounters in my travels. But having a queen ask me for biscuits - well, that's something I really hadn't planned for.

"Normally I'd invite you out for a drink," I finally say to Ma Marie. "But I don't think the fon would be too pleased with that. Would he?"

"No," the queen replies, gently as ever. "He wouldn't." Strange serendipity has its limits.

Scott MacMillan is blogging about his journey on his website, www.wanderingsavage.com

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 2:11 PM, ,

Is Cameroon Next?

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Benjy Sarlin

Anti-government uprisings have spread from an initial revolution in Tunisia to countries across the region, including Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, and Yemen. Could the revolutionary fervor be migrating outside of the Arab world as well?

In Cameroon, activists used the recent Mideast turmoil to rally protestors this week against President Paul Biya, who was ruled the African nation with total authority for the last 28 years. Opposition groups charge that he has rigged elections to keep himself in power and human rights groups, including Amnesty International, accuse authorities of stifling political dissent with extreme violence.

"We want to take charge of our destiny like the people in Egypt and Tunisia did," Kah Walla, an opposition candidate for president in Cameroon working to organize demonstrations, told CNN on Wednesday.

Whether any movement has the ability to gain traction is an open question. The Biya regime appears intent on shutting down any hint of demonstrations before they begin. On Wednesday, reports surfaced that security forces had assaulted protestors demanding fair elections in Cameroon's largest city, Douala, including Walla, who had timed their demonstration to commemorate food riots in 2008 that left as many as 100 civilians dead . Unconfirmed footage on Youtube appears to show Walla being sprayed with a high-powered water hosewhile another video depicts protestors under attack in a separate demonstration on Monday.

Political observers say that Cameroon exhibits many similar traits to the countries that
have seen major protests recently and could be affected as a result. Lyombe Eko, a professor of journalism at the University of Iowa who has researched Cameroon, noted that like Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia, economic concerns, especially lack of jobs and rising prices on essential goods, have been key to the unrest.

"There's high unemployment, lots of university graduates who have no jobs just roaming the streets doing nothing, there's real hopelessness," Eko said. "There's a huge population in the country that I think is ready to take to the streets, that's why the government is very scared."

Joseph Takougang, an associate professor of African studies at the University of Cincinatti, told TPM that the latest protests "definitely have to be taken seriously."

"There's no doubt in my mind that the current situation in the Middle East that this has sort of spurred in recent days opposition members to speak out," he said. "There's always an appearance of stability when there's no serious opposition... but you only need something like what happened in Egypt or Libya or Tunisia or Bahrain to see that atmosphere of contentedness and happiness on the surface doesn't go deep."

Cameroon's demographic makeup is different than the other countries facing recent mass protests -- it's largest religious group is Christian, with Muslims making up about a fifth of the population. Its primary divisions are regional and cultural and not religious -- most notable are tensions between its English-speaking and French-speaking communities.


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 2:09 PM, ,

CAT Involves Children in Fight Against Climate Change

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The Centre for Appropriate Technology, CAT, based in Bamenda, Cameroon, has involved children in the fight against climate change. In Conjunction with Senior Expert Service, SES, based in Germany, CAT invited some 30 children ranging from the ages of six to ten years to the centre on Friday February 12, 2010. According to Njini Victor, Coordinator of CAT, the children were invited to see the devastating effects of climate change thus building their minds towards the long terms effects of the scorch. Njini said CAT and SES wanted to build the young minds of the children by showing them how to take advantage of the effects of climate change in harnessing solar energy to do most of the things that are done otherwise which further aggravate the effects of climate change. The children learned through play, games and songs in an interactive and participatory method with three volunteers from SES, Mr. Lutz Fluegge and Renate Perner of DGFK who are artists and Prof. Norbert Pintsch. This through sustainable and affordable products developed by CAT like indirect solar agriculture driers, small biogas units and solar water heaters, the children and the three volunteers savored cakes an tea prepared through them.

It is worth noting that CAT has been collaborated with SES for the past nine years and benefits from technological transfer and capacity building from SES.

The Senior Experts Service, SES is based in Germany and is composed of retired professionals. CAT has greatly impacted on the lives of rural Cameroonians by developing solar products that are affordable and sustainable. Presently CAT is developing a traffic data and pollution project which could be of help Bamenda city development planners.

This appeared in Tribune February 15-21, 2010

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 9:36 AM, ,

Cameroonian food

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Staple foods eaten in the north are corn, millet, and peanuts. In the south, people eat more root vegetables, such as yams and cassava, as well as plantains (similar to bananas). In both north and south regions, the starchy foods are cooked, then pounded with a pestle (a hand-held tool, usually wooden) until they form a sticky mass called fufu (or foofoo), which is then formed into balls and dipped into tasty sauces. The sauces are made of ingredients such as cassava leaves, okra, and tomatoes. The food most typical in the southern region of Cameroon is ndole , which is made of boiled, shredded bitterleaf (a type of green), peanuts, and melon seeds. It is seasoned with spices and hot oil, and can be cooked with fish or meat. Bobolo , made of fermented cassava shaped in a loaf, is popular in both the south and central regions.

Fresh fruit is plentiful in Cameroon. The native mangoes are especially enjoyed. Other fruits grown locally and sold in village marketplaces include oranges, papayas, bananas, pineapples, coconuts, grapefruit, and limes.

Read more: Food in Cameroon - Cameroonian Food, Cameroonian Cuisine - traditional, popular, dishes, recipe, diet, history, common, meals, staple, rice, people, favorite, make, customs, fruits, country, bread, vegetables, bread, drink.

Related: Pakistan Food

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 8:24 PM, ,

Cameroon’s finest contribution to world cuisine

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Scott MacMillan

I’m about to leave Cameroon, heading into the woolly yonder: Gabon briefly, then the Congos. But first, I need to let the world know about the greatness of the spaghetti omelet, an amazing culinary innovation I came across in Cameroon.

It’s startling in its simplicity. You cook some spaghetti. You make an omelet, but before you throw the egg into the frying pan, you add the spaghetti to the egg. Voila! A spaghetti omelet. Oh, I get hungry just writing about it.

Cameroon’s other foodie highlight is its avocado salads. Beyond superb. In the Anglophone city of Bafoussam, we found a chop shop (that is, a little roadside shack, found all over Africa usually selling variations of the same: gristly meat served, greasy gravy, starchy mush) that specializes in avocado salads. Wonderful, cheap avocado salads, made fresh, on the spot, with crisp greens, purple cabbage and grated carrots. And they do spaghetti too.

Photos to come, at some point, but my connection speed is now debilitating.

NO EQUATORIAL GUINEA FOR YOU. I’ve had a mildly taxing few days of travel. Roger and I parted ways in Kribi, Cameroon, a beautiful Atlantic beach town where’d had a few days of R&R, with plans to meet up in a few days in a place called Lambarene, Albert Schweitzer’s favorite little place in Gabon.

My plan was to head through Equatorial Guinea, taking advantage of the strange fact that US citizens, unique among all nationalities, do not require a visa.

Equatorial Guinea sounds like a fairly wretched place, described by Simon Winchester as “The worst country in the world.” Just my kind of place. He visited back in the ’70s or ’80s, but since then, the country has come into absurd amounts of oil — which perhaps just makes it wretched and expensive. I don’t really know.

And I won’t know soon, because the entry point at Campo, south of Kribi, was completely closed. All local intelligence suggested this was not the case, including Cameroonian immigration control and the boatman who took me across the river estuary that separates the two countries.

I stood on Equatorial Guinean soil for a total of about four minutes until they threw me out and sent me back across the river. There seemed to be no recourse, not even bribery — though I didn’t offer anything.

So back to Kribi, resulting in a lost day of travel. I’m now trying to catch up with Roger, wherever he is. The only transport to the city of Ebolowa, near the crossing into Gabon, didn’t leave Kribi until 4:30pm. I waited for it to leave starting at 7am.

It was a good journey, though, on a dirt road through some of the densest rain forest I’ve yet seen. Sometime long after nightfall, I got out of a minibus in the town of Akom II (“Akom Deux”) and switched to a pick-up, finally finding myself at a hotel in Ebolowa, a pretty developed place by most African standards, at 2:30am. It would have been faster to go all the way back north to Yaounde, the capital, get a bus going south to Ebolowa. So it goes. The trip at least yielded some decent anecdotes for the column.

WHAT COMES NEXT. The next few days will see me rushing full speed ahead through Gabon (Oyem, Lambarene, Ndende), probably sleeping at a remote border crossing with Congo called Doussala. This is deep in logging territory, and the road south from Doussala to Dolisie has been known to get so mucked up during the rainy season (which is right now) that transport, provided you can find it, can be held up for weeks. Luckily we do have our two feet, and hopefully we’ll get a ride in a logging truck. Fun.

From Dolisie we head to Pointe Noire, on the Republic of Congo coast, thereby avoiding the madness of the twin cities of Brazzaville and Kinshasa; from there south into the Angolan enclave of Cabinda; from there, briefly, into Democratic Republic of Congo, at a place called Muanda. We’ll overlook the mouth of the Congo at a point called Banana, if the military lets us. If they do, we’ll have a banana at Banana and then get a boat to Soyo, Angola, and then high-tail it through Angola, for we only have a five-day transit visa — barely enough time to cross the country.

Once we cross into Namibia — the forecast now says early March — we’re basically back in the civilized world and the hairiest part of the journey will be behind us.

Goodbye for now.


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 2:15 PM, ,

African Art - Its Style And Cultural Importance

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The traditional art of Africa plays a major part in the African society. Most ceremonies and activities (such as singing, dancing, storytelling, ect.) can not function without visual art. It can also be used as an implement and insignia of rank or prestige, or have a religious significance.African art consists mainly of sculptures, paintings, fetishes, masks, figures, and decorative objects.

Sculptures are considered to be the greatest achievement for African art. A majority of the sculptures are done in wood but are also made of metal, stone, terra-cotta, mud, beadwork, ivory, and other materials. It is found in many parts of Africa but mainly in western and central Africa. Many ancient rock paintings have been
found in Southern and Eastern Africa. These paintings are believed to be attributed to the SAN (Bushman) people. Masks and fetishes are often used to scare off bad things such as evil spirits, witches or ghosts. They are also used to bring about a desired end-break a bad habit, improve ones love life, or kill a natural or  upernatural enemy.

There are three basic themes of African art. The first is the dualism between bush and village. African tribes wear masks and headresses: the male is represented by the elephant, the most powerful of bush creatures and the female is delicately coiffed to express refinement and civilization. The second theme of African art is the
problematic relationships between the sexes.African tribes use art as a therapeutic device to deal with the problems and issues dealing with the relations between the sexes. The third theme is the struggle to
control natural or supernatural forces to achieve a desired end. African tribes often use masks in ceremonies (called Gelede) to please and honor the forces.

For each region in Africa,there is a different style of art. The western Sudanic Region have masks and figures representing.. Join For Free

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 11:04 PM, ,

Baptist School

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Workshop and entertainment Cooking and Lighting
With Mr Victor, Mr Manasse, Mr Lutz and Mrs Renate

posted by S A J Shirazi @ 11:01 AM, ,

Cornerstone Ceremony for RHC and RHDRC

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Cornerstone Ceremony for RHC and RHDRC
And Project Presentation / IPC-team
With provincial delegate (Minister for Culture of the NW-Region of Cameroon)
Fon Dr Simon
Mr Victor / CAT
Prof Pintsch / SES
In connection with YouthDay 2011:
Mr Lutz, Mrs Renate / DGFK-team
Workshop for Lighting & Cooking
With Mr Victor / CAT

posted by S A J Shirazi @ 11:00 AM, ,

Cameroon Online

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Cameroon info - News, sports, people profiles and more.

Cameroon newspaper

Cameroon search

Cameroon on Wikipedia

Top Universities in Cameroon

Cameroon ref articles

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 11:50 AM, ,

Sustaining Animal Health with Plants

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Aaron Kah

Mamma Bitang, is a Heifer International Cameroon resourceful farmer at the Noubou village in Moutourwa sub-division in Mayo Kani Division of the Far North Region of Cameroon. Mamma, mother of ten (6 boys and 4 girls) received relevant knowledge on treating animals with herbs through her Groupe d’Initiative Commune Wudmezle in 2009 during a Heifer International Cameroon sponsored training workshop on livestock rearing and donation. Mamma like other women in her group was offered a series of lessons on animal husbandry, gender equity, sanitation and hygiene and ethno veterinary medicine. To strengthen the trainings each farm family was given 4 animals a ram and 3 sheep each in compensation of their loyalty to the teachings and prescriptions. Mamma had her share.

Before Heifer International Cameroon’s gift of knowledge and animals to Mamma and her group, they kept a few animals locally and depended on veterinarian doctors for treatment. This was costly for the poor peasant farmers, whose only source of income was their farm out. Mamma retained the ethno veterinary sensitization campaign as a best option of remembering her roots “When I was growing up, I saw my father using herbs to treat animals and the method was very effective” she said.

With little or no vet doctors present in those days Young Girls like Mamma saw herbal treatment of animals as a cultural practice but it soon died off with the passage of time. Heifer International Cameroon’s drilling ignited the passion in the woman. “I do treat bloat in sheep with groundnut oil by giving the animal small quantity of the oil and in about six hours the stomach releases all the gas” Mamma said. Mamma treats diarrhea in sheep by giving the animal Cassia occidentalis (Kenkeliba) plants mixed in their feed. To sustain her treatment process the farmer has planted these plants around her family house for easy accessibility.

Mamma has passed on this gift of treatment with other community members. “Mamma’s knowledge of animal treatment is very effective” Djouma Boukoi president of Groupe d’Initiative Commune des Djinandra, explained after applying the treatment procedures from Mamma to treat her animals of diarrhea. Mamma has been on hand for trainings within and beyond her community for the training of farmers on building animals health with plants and herbs. “I am happy to know that other farmers have learnt from me” she said. After receiving her animal from Heifer international Cameroon, the farmers has recorded only one death in a community where animals die on a daily bases. “I now have six sheep after selling one during the feast of the ram,” Mamma said elatedly.

This woman knows when and what to give to a particular animal when it’s sick. This experience has attracted other farmers to her and she is making a steady income from the treatment of animals. Mamma has also passed on the knowledge of treatment to her children and her animals have received proper care and management. She has used income for this venture to afford basic food crops for her family and her children school needs and medical bills. As Mamma’s project continued to flourish she had extended a word of thank you to Heifer International Cameroon for stabilizing her animal welfare.

Caption: Mamma in front of her barn with her sheep

posted by S A J Shirazi @ 2:31 PM, ,

Two hands make work lighter

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Aaron Kah

Wangbé is a Heifer International Cameroon farmer who wanted her family to become closer. Wangbe was schooled by Heifer International Cameroon through GIC Boyare of Goudjouing. She has been married to Watey Joseph for 15 years and they have three children.

Wangbe and her family live in where farming is in a precipitous decline due to drought. Her spending income was seriously compromised. “It is true we did not have enough money to meet our needs, I was managing by selling gravel that I gather around the village; with the money I bought salt and soap for the family,” she said. Limited resources and poor communication between Wangbe and her husband led to a series of hostilities. “It started with my husband’s excessive consumption of alcohol that brought division in the family,” she said crying. The woman, too, retaliated by drinking but her financial situation only deteriorated, leaving her and the children malnourished. “I could not stay for more than three months without abandoning matrimonial home in search of solace anywhere,” said Wangbe. The Heifer International Cameroon training on integrated agriculture, gender equity, HIV and AIDS, composting, pen construction broadened her mind. The donation of pigs and donkeys to her as a Heifer International Cameron helped her put the ideas she learned in the trainings into practice.

Hopeful, Wangbe reduced her alcoholic intake and concentrated on her farming. She used techniques she learned Heifer International Cameroon. Her hard work attracted her husband to join in the farming activities. “As time passed on my husband also started to change,” she said. The husband and wife now took care of their animals together. Two sets of hands made the work lighter and their children began also helping to care for the animals. They began using compost on their fields and used donkeys to till the fields. Their efforts tripled the food crop yields.

The husband became more conscious of his duties and gave off alcohol. “Last month, we decided to sell some of our harvest {cowpea} in order to compile documents for our child to seat for the entrance examination to secondary school. I am surprised that we now live in peace in our house” Wangbe said. With available food crops and a steady source of spending income the couple is a happy one in their locality and their children are healthy. “For me it is a miracle that we are living in peace,” Wangbe said.

The couple is thankful to Heifer International Cameroon for assisting them to find love and happiness. Their plans are to help others in their community find it, too.


posted by S A J Shirazi @ 9:24 AM, ,

Heifer International Cameroon’s gift of education is a gift of hope

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Aaron Kah

When her husband died eight years ago, Agnes Behoumié, 41, was left all alone in a mud house, with a thatched roof with her five children. Agnes grappled with the daily challenges to feed and send her children to school. She had a farm, though, left to her by her late husband. This was her primary source of income. But the farm wasn’t doing so well. Over time, the land became less fertile. The widow depended upon cassava byproducts like gari and kukum for an income. She also sold fruit and groundnuts to complement her family income. Her monthly income stood at 30,000 FCFA ($60).

Agnes registered her membership with Groupe d’Initiative Commune des l’Elites Agricole de Yambassa (GICOMELY), in search of hope and comfort. The group applied for Heifer International Cameroon’s assistance. Heifer International Cameroon came to their rescue. The first step was a workshop on the just and sustainable development, improved sheep husbandry, report writing, record keeping and filing, gender equity and HIV and AIDS. The group members were later given seeds, farm materials and cash to help them interested in coming to the trainings. Agnes received 30.000 FCFA ($ 60) to supplement the construction of her sheep pen to start a sheep project. The gifts helped Agnes make ends meet. In her community men mostly did the sheep rearing, but Agnes shunned this stereotype. “At first I saw the keeping of sheep to be a man’s job but from knowledge gained from Heifer International Cameroon I have made up my mind to come over this,” the widow said. With income from the sale of food crops she bought timber and made a good pen. Her hopes and aspirations were high. “The animals will provide me income, with which to send my children to school and pay their hospital bills. I will use its manure to fertilize my farm, and the food crops and meat will aid us to feed well and to source money for any extra spending,” She said.

Agnes said that the trainings enabled her to keep good records of all her farm produce. “The trainings received have enabled me to start recording all that I harvest from my farms and what I have invested in the sheep house,” she said. According to Agnes this alone helped her sense of belonging and community participation. “My brother in law who wanted to inherit me now gives me respect and has shunned the idea, I am sure that before the end of the project, my live will change positively,” she continued. Agnes works every day for success. “I will ever remain grateful to Heifer International Cameroon, for her support to under privileged persons like me. I pray that the organization should live forever,” she concluded.

posted by S A J Shirazi @ 11:04 AM, ,

Motivated by Support

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Aaron Kah

Eyebe Marguerite 52 is a Heifer International Cameroon motivated farmer who received a gift of goats through her groupe des Femme Agricultrice et Eleveuse D’Efok in July 2008 in Obala Sub division some 48 km on the Yaounde – Bafia high way in Cameroon.
Marguerite is married to Eyebe Jean, 60 and they have nine children (3 girls and 6 boys).

Marguerite ended her primary education at her teens, because her parents were not interested in girl-child education. At the age of 17, in a bid to escape the tortures of poverty she got married to Eyebe Jean a secondary school teacher from another tribe in her sub division. Her husband’s meager salaries could not give them any better living. “Our main meal was cassava and starch” the woman recalled in distress at the time. Marguerite was not from the same tribe as her husband and that deprived her of social inclusion in the village. “I felt very inferior in the presence of other women as I hardly attended any meetings or gathering. I couldn’t express myself in public to tell anyone my situation” she lamented at the time. “In 1997 life became increasingly difficult” marguerite said.

Marguerite’s joined four Christian women to form a self help group as a best way of making ends meet. “We contributed 100FCFA (£ 0.14) from which members borrowed to purchase kerosene for lighting. We started farming maize on a 500 meter squares piece of land provided by the village head” the farmer said. The first harvest was 15Kg of maize. The group members shared the proceeds. “Because I ran the family alone this was not enough for our feeding” she believed. By April 2007, Marguerite’s group had increased to 20members (1man 19 women). “The same year, we met Groupe d’intiative Commune des Producteurs Vivrieres (PROV) that had benefited from (SACHIC) Send A Cow and Heifer International Cameroon assistance in 2006 and they gave us directives on how to get help. We applied and were lucky to receive assistance from SACHIC in July 2008” the farmer recounted.

Heifer International Cameroon brought Marguerite and her group member’s capacity building lessons on leadership and group dynamics, goat husbandry techniques, community animal health care, ethno veterinary practice, gender equity, construction and use of bio-sand filters, and non violent conflict management. Marguerite and other 19 members each received four goats, agricultural seeds and farm tools as an encouragement to put the knowledge in to practice. “My husband out of curiosity attended the training on gender equity” she said. The teachings inspired the man to support his wife in all their farming activities. Their children emulated this example and were supporting their parents in every way. In severely cultivating and composting their farm--- the couple harvested 1.5tons of maize as against 850kg, one ton of cassava as against 4500kg and 1750kg of vegetables as against 360kg. “Our nutrition had greatly improved in quality, quantity and variety” Marguerite said. Marguerite went to the market with the food crops and made income beyond her wildest dreams for their children school fee, hospital bills and emergency spending.

By dialoguing with her husband, Marguerite gained her freedom of social inclusion in the community.” I was able to attend several workshops, trainings on Bio-sand water purification and exhibitions organized by SACHIC within and out of Efok community” the farmer said. These trainings brought the woman a wealth of experience. She was the lone resource person in her community who spear headed the installation of the Bio sand water filters. The couple is also skillful in the processing of cassava by products. Their fame has gone beyond their community. Marguerite from her experiences had resumed many responsibilities in her community, she is secretary in Groupe d’innitiative commune des Femme Agricultrice et Eleveuse D’Efok and president of a conglomeration of 11 common initiative groups, and a social network under the National Participatory Development Programme in charge of family welfare. “My husband bought me a cell phone to facilitate communicate with all my association members” she boasted.

Marguerite and her husband have daring plans to pass on the gift when time comes but have evidently shown their willingness to do so by sharing their food crops with the poor and needy.

“I wish to thank SACHIC so much for having made us come out of hunger, poverty and misery. My family will live to ever remember SACHIC”. Marguerite concluded.

Caption: Eyebe facilitating bio-sand filter training and installation in Abono Community member happily collecting pure water from installed filter

posted by S A J Shirazi @ 10:45 AM, ,

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