The village is long with a paved road down the middle—not very wide on either side. From north to south, the major landmarks are the health center, the mosque, my house, the primary school, the market, and the high school. My house has three main rooms—an indoor area for a bucket shower, an indoor latrine, and a detached room for everything else. I have all I need—even a water pump right next to my house.
I initially had reservations about serving as a Black Volunteer, especially after reading stories from Returned and current Black Volunteers. The stories were not necessarily negative, but they forewarned that Black Volunteers would be presented with distinct challenges, unlike their white counterparts.
Through our project, “Once Upon a Time in Cameroon” (“Il était une fois au Cameroun“), my students are adapting classic fairy tales using the regional flora and fauna of Cameroon. It is also a technical challenge: print a book that can not only stand up to the rainy season but can also be read in low light conditions.
The people in my village survive mainly on subsistence farming. With the low income they make, they have to choose between eating, sending their children to school, or getting proper medical care. One way to help better their situation is to improve and increase their farm production.
At my former site, schools were unexpectedly closed for a time. Because adolescents were not attending school, the local hospital noticed an increase of early pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.