*Disclaimer: some of this information and the images below are graphic and feature violence*
Hello friends and family!
So this week has been really enlightening and informative for me. It has opened my eyes to cultural differences and situations which I probably would not have been aware of without coming here. This being said, I see it as my obligation to share it with you all here. This week, we had a group of NGOs (non-governmental organization) present us with information about their work in various communities.
The first presentation was done by a humanitarian foundation run by a woman who helps women and children living in poverty to create sustainable development goals in their lives, specifically in the Northwestern region of Cameroon. The next presentation was done by RENATA. It is run by a group of ladies who help victims of breast ironing, sexual assault, and unwanted pregnancy, which they are also survivors of. They give out pamphlets to students at local schools informing them about sexual health, body positivity, incest, and educating them about their rights to protect themselves from these dangers. Students who experience these traumatic situations are able to express their feelings through art, and they have a therapeutic painting class for them to share their experiences. They each bravely shared their stories with us, and their strength and resilience truly amazed me. Some of them have been completely separated and ostracized from their families for speaking their truth, but they still choose to stand together to try to bring an end to the traumas that they experienced.
The next presentation was done by a group known as MUFFA. This is run by an older woman who educates younger women about money investment and self-reliance. This organization faces a lot of backlash from society because Cameroon has a very patriarchal-centered culture, and the men are looked at as the sole providers for families. However, this organization believes that women can also be self-reliant and successful in their lives and careers, and is working to change the status of women in society.
The last organization presented to us is known as RELUFA, and they work with locals as their representatives to the government concerning agriculture and farming. It is an organization that is doing a lot of good for those in the community who feel underrepresented. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed each NGO presentation, and I learned so much from each group.
Next, we went to the University of Yaounde 1 for our french classes, and we were able to mingle and connect with Cameroonian students who are a part of an association known as C.P.P.S.A. It was created for students who major in anthropology, sociology, psychology, and other related majors. It was a fun experience, and I do believe that my French might have improved because of it, which made it a success. Also, I took a tour of the campus with the student assigned to me, and I was able to see their version of my school at Hampton (shout out to Scripps Howard!), which I took a picture in front of.
Lastly, I went exploring with my friends during our free time and I found my new favorite spot, a little bakery which is less than a block away from my school. I had some of their beignets, and I instantly fell in love with the place. We also decided to do a quick photo shoot because the area we were in was pretty, so enjoy the photos below! Please continue to check back here for more adventure updates, because this is just the beginning!