Rural Village School Classroom AidCamp

Cameroon - November 2011

The following is a write-up on our recent Group AidCamp project in Cameroon. The project took place during November 2011 and what follows was written by one of our volunteers. The feedback is in her own words and hopefully it will give you a real flavour of what our projects are like and how it might feel to participate in one yourself:

"I decided to take part in an AidCamp after hearing about my daughters' experiences in Tsenke, Cameroon in 2007. This being my 50th year seemed an appropriate time to take the plunge! So on the 6 November Laura and I arrived in Douala where we met the other members of the group all who had taken part in an AidCamp previously so I was the rooky!!!!!

Having heard Laura's stories and seen the photos I had prepared myself for very basic accommodation and conditions, however on arrival in Bambui we were all pleasantly surprised!! Our accommodation was a newly completed bungalow in the centre of the village. However I say completed in the broadest sense as there was still finishing off such as wiring etc. and despite having showers and flushing toilets these obviously depended on running water which was frequently off as was the electricity-however it all added to the fun!!!

Our first day was taken up by an amazing welcome ceremony in the village church. We had already been welcomed the previous day by the children singing welcome songs outside our accommodation but the ceremony was very touching and humbling and set us up for the first week of work.

I had heard about the infamous clusters (for the windows) but I don't think I was quite prepared for them. Three hundred to make was the target but then they needed fitting, polishing and painting (twice), they certainly occupied most of my time and Janet and Laura's for the first two weeks!!!!!! However when completed we all agreed that they were splendid!

Throughout the working weeks we were joined by the local villagers and school children who joined in the work interspersing the day with songs. The children were particularly helpful fetching water when the supply to the tap stopped, however I was amazed when I accompanied them at how far they had to carry the buckets and uphill!!! Without this steady supply of water it would have been difficult to carry out most of the jobs.

The first weekend was spent at the Biofarm near Kumbo,an amazing place and worth the hair raising drive to it although there were a couple of moments when we thought that we were stuck, however our driver Martin never seemed concerned so we sat back and enjoyed the ride!!! It was on this journey that we saw our first Ju Ju men-scary but fascinating! At the Biofarm most of us rose early to see a wonderful sunrise.

Our second weekend was spent at Bamenda in the Pastoral centre which was a beautiful peaceful place. Before going to this we all did some shopping and were very excited when we found a supermarket selling crisps, chocolate and cheese. We had fantasised about cheese on toast so as a treat Laura cooked up a cross between cheese on toast and Croque Monsieur for everyone on the Monday morning-delicious.

In addition to all of this during the three weeks we visited an inspiring womens project and tried our hand at dancing, a water project which would change the villagers lives, previous school projects and were treated to a meal by the local Fon at his palace.

The three weeks went very quickly and watching the school take shape was amazing and very fulfilling to think that we had contributed to it. By the time that we got to the handing over ceremony we all felt like we were part of the village and it was a very emotional day and satisfying. As a group we were dressed in our African costumes and were then decorated further by the Fon and said our thankyous in Pidgin which caused great amusement.

For me the experience lived up to all my expectations and more-I definitely left a little part of me in Cameroon and will definitely be going back


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