Saturday, August 20, 2005

Hello to all. I've been in Africa, more specifically Cameroon, for two months living with a host family in Bandjoun. Training wraps up in a few days, and then I will swear in as a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV). For the next 24 months, I'll be working in the town of Kumba, in the South-West Province of Cameroon, with a banking oversight institution known as CamCCUL. In addition, to working with CamCCUL, providing training and auditing their banks, I'll have the opportunity to work with the community in any capacity I see fit (PCV Secondary Projects). For these projects to be successful the community must 1) Want it, 2) Need it, and 3) It must be sustainable.

So far, in two months, I've seen some beautiful and equally disturbing images. The people of this country are, for the most part, extremely friendly. They will go out of their way to help and do so eagerly. The country has been described as Africa in one country. It doesn't have the best of anything, but it has everything in Africa in a country of about 15 million. From the deserts and animal parks of the Extreme North to the black sand beaches of Limbe to the enormous Mount Cameroon. By the same token, a few years ago, Cameroon was listed as the number one most corrupt country in the world. Mob justice is the code of the law and transpareny is lacking. But that's why we are here.

As a volunteer in the SED (Small Business Development) program) I am hopeful that things will change. It is my desire that the impact we have on this country will be significant enough to create positive change. Ultimately, it is up to the people of Cameroon to blaze their own trail and create change for themselves. I hope only to act as an advisor and catalyst. Truth be told, I'm sure their impact on me will be far greater than mine on them.


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