Hello everyone, thanks for joining me!
So last week, I visited a place called Kribi with my SIT group. It is a place that I visited the last time I came to Cameroon, so it was exciting to see it again. We stayed at a monastery with the view of the beach only a few feet away from our rooms. We had a chef during our time there, and our meals were full of delicious seafood. We took our classes by the beach, and we were free to wander to the water at our leisure. As you can see below, I took advantage of this opportunity on multiple occasions, and I even had a favorite study area all to myself.
So while we were in Kribi, we learned about the Bagyeli (or pygmie) people of Cameroon, and they are a part of an indigenous community in Cameroon who live within the forest, traditionally as hunter-gatherers. We were able to go and visit two of their villages, known as Nkolo’ong and Boumnapenda, and one community had a school for young children. The school director named Kouague Gregoire and the chief, known as Zie Paul, spoke with us about the community and the needs within the community. The second village chief was called Zambia Pascal, and he spoke to us about the history and needs within their community.
While there, I learned about the issues that the Bagyeli people face with the government authorities, the Bantus, and rubber tree companies. These issues are impacting their abilities to live freely within the forest. Recently, they have begun to modernize and progress in the areas of agriculture and farming, which has been a bit of a struggle for them to adapt to. However, they are still keeping a lot of the traditions of their ancestors, including the tribal languages and customs.
As seen in the videos below (per the request of a family member), we were pleasantly surprised by a performance known as maquilla in the first community we visited, and in the second community we were able to participate in a dance ritual known as mballa with those in the community, which I thoroughly enjoyed doing. Overall, what I learned most from spending time in the Bagyeli communities is that all of the diverse people, tribes, and languages spoken within this country make one Cameroon. As the cliche states, out of many, we are one.
We also were able to visit the Lobe Waterfall, and the view of it was breathtakingly beautiful. While there, I even learned a new dance from some of the local children, and I bargained in French successfully for some jewelry and pieces of clothing. Overall, the entire time I was in Kribi I felt at home, and I enjoyed every moment.
During this past week in Yaoundé, I began a project with another student focusing on refugee children in Cameroon’s education system. I was able to meet and connect with local students at a school in an area known as Omnisport. The children were very entertaining and fun, and I enjoyed spending time with them. Also, I had a really funny encounter with one of the directors of the school. When I mentioned that I was Cameroonian and that my family tribe was Bassa, one lady called me her daughter, and instantly grabbed me and gave me a hug! I look forward to my future experiences there. Also, I was able to try a food truck called FoodSquare, and it’s basically a mixture of KFC, Taco Bell, and McDonald’s all in one, and they had some great food. We also worked with a local NGO known as Respect Cameroun and we successfully conducted an interview in French!
Last, but certainly not least, I would like to give a shout out to my lovely director with a beautiful spirit, Mrs. Christiane Magnido, who just celebrated her birthday this past Friday! Bonne anniversaire à vous Madame! (Her beautiful photo is featured below)
Thanks again for partaking in these experiences with me, and for letting me share them with you! Keep checking back here for more posts!