Ah di manage is a Pidgin term used in virtually every conversation in Anglophone Cameroon that sums up the overall situation of the Cameroonian people - economically, physically and emotionally. It means "We are just keeping our heads above water...but we are managing."
A little background information
I am going to work with BERUDA, an organization created in response to the poverty situation of women, youths and the disabled. It is a grassroots charity with the objective to increase livelihoods in Boyo Division (the land of Kom) in North West Cameroon, by raising family incomes, standards of living and independence. It does this by training and empowering rural farmers and vulnerable groups to increase access to income and thus improve the local economy in a sustainable way.
I will be the Resource Mobilization Advisor at BERUDA - in other words, I will transfer skills to local staff in the areas of marketing and fundraising. I will also very likely be learning an awful lot about rural Cameroon, including:
Livestock & Agriculture
Bee-keeping & Honey Production
Natural Medicinal Plants
Disability Rehabilitation (social services, including the Sponsor An Orphan project)
HIV/AIDS and other health-related issues
Very interesting - I can't wait!
A bit on CUSO International
CUSO International is a not-for-profit international development agency that works through volunteers. Each year, it sends hundreds of volunteers to collaborate on development projects in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa,
My next steps
So, in preparation for life in rural Cameroon, I have been buying flashlights, solar chargers, water purification tablets, toothpaste and other personal hygiene products...all I have to do next is get a bunch more needles (can you believe I haven't had them all yet?!) and a motorcycle helmet!
Oh, and maybe do some research on marketing techniques and business planning in rural developing countries...any advice is more than welcome!
Stay tuned for more (hopefully interesting) info when I arrive in Cameroon (mid-January) and wish me luck on the eight-hour journey from the Capital into the countryside (mostly paved roads I hope)!