Cameroon Task Force

2010 Trip: Part 2 of 2

Walt Dinkins is a former CTF supporter who came along during the 2010 mission trip. Dinkins wrote a special journal sharing the daily activities and events he experienced during his three-week stay with the Cameroon Task Force team. Enjoy!

A Busy Day

(Trip 2010)

Mosque Visit

Group toured the local mosque where Pauline’s husband had relationship with Moslem leaders. Tour was very nicely done and translated by Phil. Afterwards, all youth but Laura Knapp opted out of “seeing poverty up close” tour of side streets. Damali was not feeling well so could be coming down with same stomach bug.

Morning church bell went off again a few minutes before 6am. Damali felt better though still a bit nauseous. Claims she is drinking plenty of water; we forgot to bring flavor packets (vitamin C) to add to water. We are without water at hotel faucets since yesterday afternoon. They put water buckets at each door for flushing. Last night Pauline and some of her kids (20 something age) joined us for dinner. Afterwards we broke into upstairs group watching Cameroon vs Portugal warm-up soccer game.

A Visit to The School

Damali did attempt to start day at work site but about 10 headed back to hotel for more recovery time. We helped move drying concrete blocks from the “Creation” to “Use” areas and prepared a next round of blocks. I also did some minor repairs of PETs after the initial “road tests”. All but one of the PETs were painted Cameroon red, blue, grey and green. Before lunch we visited the high school where Pauline is librarian. Ben gave a laptop to the Principal. We did not give a donated library laptop which was inside one of eight missing bags.

The Palm Oil Plantation

Lunch included woodchuck and barracuda both of which were very good. Afterwards we took a bus out to CocoPalm-Kienke palm oil farm and factory. The plantation has its own city-like structure along with several open air churches. The palm “bunch” is harvested about twice per year with a long cutting rod and taken to the factory site. These are pressure cooked, pressed and dehydrated. Oil is sent to storage tanks and then trucked to market. Nuts are used for fertilizer and fuel. One of the church leaders was the head person there who gave the tour and then invited us for snacks at his work home.

World Cup Soccer

(Trip 2010)

FIFA - Soccer

We arrived back at the hotel late afternoon and watched the end of a World Cup soccer preparation match. After dinner Jo Ann asked everyone to share our work experience. The eight missing bags arrived finally.
 
Image below:  2010 World Cup Soccer team from Cameroon.

Seraphim took me to the post office where he woke up agent who showed us several post cards available at $1 each. I shared some with Jody and Nancy then mailed a couple to my family. There was no “mystery” meat at Pauline’s today, just chicken and fish.

Painting of the World Map:

We glued the plaque onto the well honoring Janet Hines instead of using concrete screws because we were afraid they might damage the water tower. We decided to glue PET license plates with the same stuff. Sara and Mikayla had outlined a huge wall-size world map and directed the painting of it. Now dry, we used permanent markers for country names in English and French. We painted doors and windows light grey over the original brown color. There were lots of spider webs to clear first. Many in our group were beginning to tire so Jo Ann had to push some folks to help paint. I took a turn mixing cement with the foreman. We filled buckets with cement and poured them into the foundation blocks.

Painting More PETs

(Trip 2010)

Marilyn's Hosptial Training

It started to rain so Jay, Frank and I went back to the Wellness Center and put the PETs on the porch out of the rain. The group had free time at the hotel, beach or shopping before our hospital tour.

The only hospital in Kribi, it was established in 1935, serves a population of about 150,000 and has lots of construction in progress. Marylyn had a busy day discussing emergency procedures with the staff. Two buildings were financed with pipeline oil revenue but without good thought are not being used – what a waste.

We asked for breakfast 6:30 so we could head to center early 7am for PET distribution. We set up 4 fitting stations with 2 people at each. Jay suggested two stations inside in a big room, one in an adjacent room and one outside in the shade of a tree. A few PETs were still tacky from extra paint though most were dry. Lots of folks gathered under two tents set up with chairs. About 9:30 Pauline gave the recipient list to one of her helpers so we could start adjusting. Nancy was in adjacent room helping with the Lion’s Club reading glass distribution.

We borrowed extra kid PET tools and some parts to help the adjustments go quicker. I moved around, checking that each station did OK and helped out as needed. Chris tired of taking pics so became Damali’s helper in side room. Ben and Marilyn also took photos of PETs for the official record I have to send back to PET International. We also took special photos of one child receiving a PET from St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church. One grandfather picked up another kid PET.

PET Recipients

With a few PETs left to adjust Pauline came in asked us to stop and go out to special service. A few of us stopped but the rest finished up quietly. Two preachers, Pauline, a recipient and Jo Ann spoke. Lunch was served for all from the same room that the reading glasses distribution was taking place. Pauline’s helper allowed some of the people who did not get a PET to go in and try out the remaining kid PETs. All were too big but they refused to leave them. I went in and explained that one child PET was designated to the Catholic Church and the others were too small. Pauline had to come in and confirm the sad news. Probably 12 more adults could have used a PET. We later saw a “trail” of PETs heading for the city center along the main road.

Visit to the Pgymies

(Trip 2010)

The Baka Pgymy People

Our Group took a big bus to a nearby river and falls. Most of the group took several canoes to a pygmy village. They greeted us and did pictures then danced with a donation pot in the middle. Some people were disappointed with the “tourist trap” aspect. There were some monkeys in trees but they were hard to see with all the leaves.

Marilyn was visited by an elephant mouse overnight which left a skunk smell in one of her bags. Took big bus 8 miles to village where Pauline’s husband was from and is now buried. Jo Ann preached from Luke on Centurion with great faith and we had great music. I sat on right side pews which turned out to be ladies side but they put up with me.

We had another longer pygmy concert from a group associated with the village. This group also had a donation plate. Was cute to see a little girl latched onto Chris and he danced/carried her to center and dropped donation in hat. Lunch was pizza.

We talked a lot at dinner regarding our next visit. My guess is it will be in 2 years not 3 but we will need to raise funds for sufficient PETs. Lots of talk about getting Pauline and the choir to Anchorage before the next trip to help fundraise. I told Damali that I would be less likely to come next time but she assured me that she would be 16 and could handle PETs all by herself. I have no doubt of that.

Church Service at the Bissiang Village

I asked Joaz to compare the last visit with this one. He noted the addition of PETs and eye glasses. He only remembered toothbrushes from last time. He added that it was important that we were involved in distribution, and not just sending them here for someone locally to pass out. I shared that involvement in distribution was required by PET and Lions club but we still needed a local person to identify recipients.
 
Pauline will give the second child PET to the Catholic Church for distribution. She will also distribute soccer stuff. Jo Ann did communion in a big circle with closing by Pauline. I paid the extra tab on our room: 2 cokes & 1 beer, $6. Cathie remembered that we needed $20 each exit fee like in Honduras. Seems like we had asked that before and been told no. I asked if can use $US since I did not have that amount in local currency so none left for shopping in Douala on Monday.

Heading Home

(Trip 2010)

Wear Your Helmet!

We made it to Douala at 3pm without any events. On our way out of Kribi, though, we saw a recent motorcycle accident. Marilyn said that the young man lying on the road was probably dead from brain injury. Solution is easy: wear a helmet. Damali was on other side of the bus so did not see the gore.

Departure

Our flight was not till 10:30pm so some of the group braved the big market with its aggressive vendors. We took several taxis to airport and discovered a new “law” preventing us from stopping in front of the airport. This was to give folks jobs helping us carry bags all the way to the terminal. After some confusion, we got out and carried our own bags with grumbling from men having lost that income. Damali was reminded of Honduras exit where we were told to not let anyone touch our bags at the airport. The group parted in Paris, with some staying and some taking different flights back to the USA.

Read trip 2012

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