Monday, April 26, 2010

More photos...

Photos of the International Day of Women in Banyo, my cat Sophie (still a kitten), almost-ripe mangoes, a private car loaded to the max with goods between Mayo-Darle and Banyo, nurses teaching an health education class with me at the District Hospital in Banyo and a Youth Club member teaching about sanitation and health for Earth Day at the elementary school.

Easter 2010 in Banyo

Easter egg hunt with the neighborhood girls' group.

Earth Day Photos, 2010

April 22, 2010 Earth Day: Neighborhood cleanup with about 30 kids. This was the amount of trash we cleaned up in only 25 minutes. Imagine a day long cleanup?!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Photos April 25, 2010

Photos of my two next door neighbor children wearing the tee shirts I brought back from the US, young boys from my neighborhood after our weekend soccer camp and the girls' club with their banner.

April 25, 2010

Bonjour à tous! I hope spring and warm weather have come your way by now. I was excited last month when it looked like the rains (and cooler weather) were finally here. Alas, they have been teasing us ever since. We had a week when it seemed like they were here to stay then we had nothing for about 2 weeks and now we are back to the once every three days or so. So, it is still HOT! Not as hot as it is up north but enough to make sun block essential every time I go outside. My vacation plans to climb Mt. Cameroon this weekend were unfortunately delayed again due to my climbing partner being stuck in the US because the volcano in Iceland (it is a small, very interconnected world isn’t?). So I am heading to the nearest (9 hours away) big town with a bank this weekend to have a little repose and recharge my batteries.

Since I wrote, we had our International Day of the Woman festivities here. I marched in the parade again which was fun and then “fêted” with a few women I know here the rest of the day. There was also a cultural afternoon at the “Center for the Promotion of the Woman” with dancing and singing representing groups from all over Cameroon. The girls’ soccer games unfortunately did not go as well as planned. Our first game on Friday evening was almost ousted because of an elementary school boy’s game and then the girls ended up playing in the women’s game on Sunday because there were not enough women to play and half my team was sent to the bench because they were not “big enough” to play (even though they are the best players!). In the end, the girls’ team beat the women 3-0 and they received two envelopes of money so they were happy. We are really hoping that they might get to a play a real, 90 minute, non-harassed game for May 20th, which is National Day here in Cameroon to celebrate their independence. But, do not hold your breathe! You think starting a girls’ soccer team in rural, Cheboygan, Michigan in the late 1990’s was hard!? Geesh!

Speaking of women, Banyo was recently honored by the First Lady of Cameroon’s charity foundation. There was quite the pomp and circumstance as the delegation of the Ministry
of the Woman and the Family was here and they gave about 20 women’s groups about 50 wheelbarrows and small carts along with many other farming equipment. I am really hoping that I got on CRTV that day but I never found out when they were doing the story to watch! While other work has been pretty slow lately, I have been really happy with the youth group I that I have been working with since last year. In anticipation of Earth Day, they did trainings with two neighborhoods about trash disposal and the river along with an elementary school class last week. Yesterday, April 22nd, I ended up doing what I did last year in my own neighborhood and it went really well. About 30 girls and boys came over to my house, along with two members of the youth club, and we watched a bit of Planet Earth and then did an environmental training followed up by a trash clean-up. I am not sure what exactly was said to them but man did they work! I was fairly impressed! One of the boys who won last year won this year again so I think I need to talk to him about keeping this up on a daily basis or something!

I did end up doing an Easter egg hunt with my girls’ group in my recently fixed backyard (fences up, septic tank fixed, all pipes flowing!) which turned out well and the girls keep asking me for eggs now when I am outside?! We have recently changed our health topic in the health centers from water treatment and diarrhea to malaria for the next month and a half. I had some problems with the health centers recently to find people who really wanted to work with me and help with translation into Fulfulde which was really taxing. It felt like every time I go it is a crab shoot whether or not we will actually do the training (even though we have done it there every week for a year?!) but I think I am finding some solutions to at least get us through July when the health project will be complete and we can reevaluate it hopefully. There are other topics like tuberculosis that we have never talked about, along with topics like nutrition and vaccinations that should probably be revisited again. Tracking and evaluating any change in behavior is going to be really hard though which is discouraging but one just has to hope for the best I guess and keep working.

My cat, Sophie, is still doing well. I promise pictures of her, Earth Day and Easter as soon as technology wants to work with me! I hope all is well in your part of the world. Hello, Mrs. Fornes’s students at Cheboygan Area High school if you are following my blog. I was happy to hear that you received all the letters ok and your pen pals are eagerly awaiting your letters here.

Take Care and my best to all,

Friday, April 2, 2010

Recent Photos

Neighborhood girl in my girls' group enjoying the jump ropes Anna got for Christmas. Youth Day parade with primary girl students. Climbing Mt. Djoumbal with the Youth Club (Club Reglo) for Youth Week. And Girls' Football team (with offical jersies) for International Women's Day. Enjoy!