I waited for my luggage until May 20th but then I had to travel to Bamenda for our first prize giving ceremony at G.B.H.S. Atiela. Mr. Kevin brought the good news about my suitcases on May 22nd. I traveled overnight to Yaounde to pick them up at the airport and traveled again overnight back to Bamenda on May 23rd.
On May 25th Mr. Kevin, Thomas Maika, one of our former students who assisted us this year, and I visited G.H.S. Tabenken for the first time. There is no electricity and no tap water and the school is located in a beautiful but remote area in the Northwest Region.
Basic school supplies for the 69 best students from G.B.H.S. Atiela, G.B.H.S. Tatum, G.S.S. Nseh and G.H.S. Ntumbaw were purchased and given during prize giving ceremonies on May 21st, 27th and 28th. Donated toothbrushes, toothpaste and other donations were distributed to 62 students. 23 students received financial assistance for their immediate needs such as school fees, G.C.E. registration fees, rent, kerosene, food, school uniforms, shoes and transport to their villages. About 100 students received pens and pencils. About 220 staff members from G.B.H.S. Atiela , G.B.H.S. Tatum, G.S.S. Nseh and G.H.S. Ntumbaw received pens for encouragement. Each school also received four boxes of chalk. Two new microscopes for G.H.S. Ntumbaw and some new essential textbooks were also purchased for the students from G.S.S. Mbu-Warr. Funds for students on our priority list and other students were set aside to pay school fees directly to the schools in September. Two Wellesley College Book Awards were given to the best female science students from G.H.S. Ntumbaw and G.B.H.S. Ndu.
On Saturday, May 29th, we met with our students at G.B.H.S. Kumbo. On June 12th we met with our students from Bamenda and Bambili, and on July4th with university students in Yaounde. In Tatum, we met and discussed with students and parents on June 21st, 22nd, 24th, and 25th. On June 20th I presented two Wellesley Book Awards to the best female science students from G.B.H.S. Ndu and G.H.S. Ntumbaw. During my trip we chose 83 students to assist. We will continue to look for more outstanding female students for the next academic year.
On June 26th we had our annual board meeting in our head office in Bamenda. Partnership between Educare-Africa U.S.A. and Educare-Africa Cameroon was discussed and a plan of action for the next academic year was made.
Three short wave radios donated by a non-profit group in North Carolina called the Ears to Our World were handed over to staff members at G.H.S. Tabenken, G.S.S. Nseh and G.H.S. Ntumbaw which are located in remote parts of the Northwest Region of Cameroon.
For the first time, one of our former students, Ndzeidze Thomas Maika, assisted us during my annual trip. Thomas defended in February his master’s degree in microbiology from University of Buea. Following is his account of his experiences:
“It was an exciting experience assisting in the distribution of donations to the deserving schools and students. The registration process for 2010-2011 and the partnership agreements with the parents also went through successfully.
However, we met with a handful of challenges which are hampering the smooth functioning of this gesture. Some of the schools visited are running without basic science laboratories making it difficult for science students to continue there after their ordinary level GCE exams. In addition, career counseling, sex education especially that of girl children, moral and environmental education, Aids/HIV prevention education amongst others also need a greater push.
Finally, the roads were too rough for our rented cars. As we will be looking forward to putting in place these aspects, we plead for more funds as well as for a car to facilitate their realization.”
On June 7th, Mr. Kevin, Thomas, five students and I visited Kitiwum, Thomas’s village, where we took a part in a graduation and prize giving ceremony at their Primary school. We presented the staff with some pens and a few boxes of chalk.
As a side project, Justin Tagne from the Cameroon Baptist Center in Bamenda and I organized the handing over of donations from the Reid Veterinary Hospital, Albany Animal Hospital, Periwinkle Pet Clinic in Albany and Hopes Haven Rescue group in Salem. About 15 dog owners, breeders and veterinarians participated. Justin will continue to work with veterinarian, Dr.Munki Julius Nfor, who is a coordinator for a non-profit group SPALE, P.O. BOX 5170 NKWEN BAMENDA, CAMEROON; TEL(237)75 14 92 85, which also assists stray dogs and other animals in need. Dog Whisperer DVDs have been shown to many dog owners and lovers in Bamenda and Tatum.
UPCOMING ASSISTANCE: We hope to assist about 125 secondary/high school students and about 25 university students. Approximately $10,000 by mid September 2010 would take care of these students’ essential educational needs. Since the deadline for payment of school fees is in mid September, it would be desirable to have the funds available before September 15th. When the school fees and the GCE exam registration fees are not paid in time, students are often sent home from school, which has a detrimental effect on their exam results.
You can view a speech of Mr. Kevin Mbile, our field coordinator, in Tatum during our discussions with parents and students on a video clip below: