June 11 was our last full day in Yaounde. We left to return to Oku early in the morning for an 8AM bus back towards Bamenda.
June 12 (Wed) was a day for travels – heading from Yaounde back to home base. We arrived back in Oku in the evening and started preparing for our next part of the project.
June 13 (Thurs) we went around a few parts of Oku to check on the gardens we began in the first week. At this point, we found out that Simonkoh’s garden was doing the best. I don’t have any good pictures of the seedlings right now, but hopefully I can add some later once I get them. The rest of the day was spent doing individual errands. Some went to buy souvenirs and others went to the market to say hello to friends. Then, we left for Batibo, our next project site. That night, we met the 1st deputy mayor and had dinner at his house.
On June 14 (Friday)- Batibo is also a city in the Northwest, but it is farther west than Oku. We stayed in Hotel Arena by the newly constructed paved road leading from Bamenda, and we took most of our meals from St. Stephen’s Restaurant. Our accommodations were relatively comfortable. Our pluming was reliable and the decor was fun (there was a night club attached), but the odd thing was that we didn’t have sinks in our bathrooms. We spent some time planning our route with the officials at the Batibo Municipal Council and starting on the demonstration gardens. We also met a Peace Corps volunteer who lived in the area and did a little garden by the council as well as some farther away. We had a relatively long way to travel, but the farthest village, Ashong-Batibo, was also my favorite. The people were very welcoming and the garden was on the side of a mountain, so the view was great when we arrived and it was foggy.
That night, we met up with some of CAMAAY’s other volunteers (from Germany). We went to a fundraiser held by local youths for an orphanage. They sold drinks and had a dance competition, so it was fun to support them.
(Fundraiser, photo cred = Aubrey)
June 15 (Sat), we held a discussion for sports animators in the same community hall as the fundraiser was held. It was also within walking distance of our hotel. Maxie agreed to do some more stretching demonstrations for the local groups the next morning. When we did go out to the garden spots around Batibo, we took another truck borrowed from the Council and went with our development guide, Naomi. We also did a few needs assessments and talked with groups around town. With the upcoming local elections, we went to an SDF rally to talk to people. That evening, we went to the mayor’s house for dinner.
June 16 (Sun) was a busy day. Maxie started earlier than all of us, heading to meet the sports group for their weekly meeting. We started the day with some more presentations. This time, we covered our main three- Violence Against Women, Group Dynamics, and Menstruation. At the final presentation, we were able to pass out some more of the reusable feminine hygiene kits to the heads of the “Girls’ Corners” (discussion and meeting groups for women and young girls in the area). Naomi cooked us a delicious lunch from the food we received from the people in Ashong – plantains and a chicken. We took the rest of the evening to see Batibo. One group went to check out a local tree nursery (riding 4 to a motorcycle!) and the rest of us went to the Guzong Market.
(Warm Up Demo by Maxie)
June 17 (Mon) we left Batibo with 8 gardens completed. We passed through Bamenda, but the goal was to head back to Oku and pack our bags and say our goodbyes to friends and officials before we took our last inspection through the city. We went to the radio station and Aubrey went to get photos for the school partnership project.
June 18 (Tues) we went back to Mbam-Oku to see the progress on the community center and do some last minute work at the tree nursery. It was great to see new paint and the bathrooms being built, but of course – there work was not all complete.
June 19 (Wed) I don’t think we did too much of anything. We also said our last goodbye in person to the mayor and people who helped us at the municipal council, and then took a bus to Bamenda. We were planning on stopping in Limbe, a coastal city with black sand beaches, on our way back to the Douala Airport. However, the bus we needed to take was overnight… so we had a lot of time to spare in Bamenda. Most used the internet, some made copies, and others needed the ATM. We even had a chance to say goodbye to some of CAMAAY’s German volunteers that were That evening, we were invited for dinner at the house of a local director of an NGO – one of our coordinator’s friends. It was nice seeing the inside of another home. After that, we took our bus to Oku.
June 20 (Thurs) we left our spot in Oku in the morning to travel to Bamenda. We spent most of the day in Bamenda, just chilling. Most used the internet, some made copies, and others needed the ATM. We went to a fair trade store for souvenirs and just ended up at the cafe next door. It was great. That evening, we were invited for dinner at the house of a local director of an NGO – one of our coordinator’s friends. It was nice seeing the inside of another home. After that, we took our night bus to Limbe. Just getting there was an experience… but not the most comfortable xD…
June 21 (Fri) we arrived in Limbe. It was a bit rainy, but we still trekked around. We stored our luggage at the bus station, and then hit the market, a local lava flow, the beach, and then the primate reserve with a good cafe inside. We were happy about the final stop. They even had vegetarian burgers… a great start to returning to the US. But we did have to say goodbye to everyone. After we took a bus from Limbe to Doaula, we went straight to the Airport… and then were on our way before we knew it!
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