spent six weeks in Cameroon in December and January. I was there helping
Mr. and Mrs. Victor Chamberlin who have been missionaries there since
Cameroon is on
the west side of Africa. It is a "tall" country. It touches the Atlanta
Ocean and then goes far into the interior where the Pygmies live.
Cameroon is called the "hinge of Africa".
About 16 million
people live in Cameroon. It is a very poor country. The average salary
in the area where I visited is about $2 U.S. per day. Their money is
called the "franc''. For $1 U.S. you get about 500 francs. So, a bill of
money with 10,000 makes you feel rich until you realize that it is worth
only $20 U.S.
located very, very near the equator and so it is hot and humid all the
lime. There are no seasons there, except for dry and rainy. During the
six week I we there, almost no rain fell. It was the time of year called
the "homitan|'' when winds in the north of Africa shift and blow sand
down the continent-tons of sand-it mixes with the humid air and it is
like living in a fog.
people very poor and seldom have enough to eat. The children are hungry
most of the time and usually go to bed hungry. They have very little
variety in food. They eat ground corn meal that is mixed with water and
then steamed in a banana leaf. This is called "corn foo foo". Along with
this is usually served a dish called "ndole'' which is made of green
vines cut very fine with some onions and ground peanuts
mixed in. This makes a sauce to eat with the corn foo foo. They also eat
sweat potatoes or yams, dried beans and rice, and they fry plantains
(like a banana) which they call "doe-doe''.
many nice fruits but most of the people can afford to eat only bananas
which are about 10 cents U.S. per pound. Huge, beautiful, sweet
pineapples could be bought for $1 U.S. But that would be half a day's
wage for the people.
I did not see
any fat children and all of them had the most beautiful teeth...they do
not have sweets to eat.
went there to help in a school that has about 250 students. I taught
both the teacher and the students. They have so little. I saw only one
ball for all those children to play with. Children do not have toys. The
school had 20 pairs of scissors, but they have no materials for art.
They have no library. The classrooms are very primitive...no fans or
overhead lights. Still, the children are very smart and very
eager to learn and they are very happy. Because they have almost
nothing, anything and everything is special and appreciated.
They love to sing in the classroom and the school has a choir.
Most of the
children come to school hungry or they may have eaten something if any
was left from the night before. They call this "eating food that has
slept". Almost none have a refrigerator and so, in that heat, the food
is sometimes spoiled and the children get sick. Therefore, the
missionaries there give the children one meal a day, M-F, and a glass of
powered milk three days a week. The food is cooked out of doors or under
a shed in huge pots. The children come to get a plateful and take it
back to their classroom to eat it. One day, I saw them putting something
on top of the corn foo foo. It was one-half of a chicken gizzard. Since
the children almost never get meat, this was a special treat for them.
These meals cost about 20 cents U.S. per child per day. They are paid
for by people in the United States who want the children to have food.
It is always a struggle to keep on feeding the children, but Mr. and
Mrs. Chamberlin will continue to do so as long as they can.
house in which I lived was very near the Atlantic Ocean. I could see the
fishermen going out in their dug-outs to catch fish. They sell their
fish fresh or smoke it, since they do not have refrigeration. They take
the long eels and wrap them around some kind of post (metal or stone)
and smoke them until they are quite black. When they take them off the
post they are curled like a corkscrew! Thank you for letting me share a
little bit about the far away country of Cameroon, West Africa. If you
have questions and would like to write them to me, l would be very happy
Hobe Sound, FL