The Born's in Cameroon
2013 Biola/RFIS team
2013 Biola/RFIS team
So....this team really started many months before we headed to the village when the Karen Jackson pleaded with Sara during their regular Tues morning tea time to please help us with this team. We had done several teams with the Chris and Karen and loved doing teams with them, but we weren't sure of the timing for this one. The team would be right before we went back to the States on furlough and it was expensive. So, initially, we agreed to help with the set up and to pray about further involvement. It was a dream of Karen's to help out this group educationally. The Fulani are really behind in education in Cameroon. They tend to be nomadic and even after settling in areas haven't gotten the government help with education that other groups have gotten. Tragically, during the process of the months of preparation and planning Karen suddenly became ill and went home to be with her Lord and Savior. It was a tremendous loss and a shock to all of us. Chris knowing Karen's heart towards the work that was to be done decided to press on with the team.
The project: to build a 2 room schoolhouse (with one interior room to serve as an office and a secure place to store supplies etc...). Several trips were made to the village to find a location and to make sure that blocks were made, sand was delivered and the foundation was prepared. Sara met with Caroline and Lum to determine what type of foods were available in the area. So menu's were worked up (tenative...since it was really a very fluid menu...always one of the challenges of this type of team), foods purchased, personal stuff packed etc.... Our car had been taken in to a mechanic to be made village road ready more than a month prior to the team and still the 4 wheel drive was not fixed, 2 nights before we were ready to head out: one of our cats came home severely injured.
So, we put off our first leg of the trip to give the mechanics one more day and the cat a chance to survive. We were still able to make the orientation in Yaounde Sunday afternoon!! BTW....the Lord provided adundantly....the cat, despite a severe injury to her jaw which caused a need to syringe feed her and give subcutaneous injections for fluids survived! The vehicle made it through some really bad roads even without 4 wheel drive!
Our first leg of the trip....a 6 hour drive to Yaounde to meet up with the rest of the team. The next morning most of the leaders and cooks headed out in 3 vehicles for a 12 hour drive to the village, this way was on one of the best roads in Cameroon (the way home was another story!). The team rode the train up Mon. night and were picked up in town early Tues morning. Weds., we hit the project full force: moving the block down to the building site, cracking gravel (or scraping it from the roads), moving the sand and starting to lay the block.
The work was hard, the sun and lack of shade made it really hot and tiring but, the team persevered and the building was done...save putting the zinc on the roof (which was done later). The school house will be put to use this fall (2013) where the local village children will be able to attend school...some for the first time. These villages consist largely of refugees from the CAR where they were forced to leave because of the war or because they were persecuted for their faith (this village has some of the few Fulani Christians in Cameroon....they have banded together in this one particular area and are living peacefully with the surrounding Muslims). These Christians were hungry for God's word! Tim was able to lead a devotional time in the mornings and shared during the Sunday worship service. We also showed The Jesus Story in Fulfulde in the evenings. The evening times were also filled with praise and worship, testimonies and prayer.
Another activity that the team was able to be involved with was an afternoon Bible club time (we didn't want to label it a kids bible club as we wanted the adults to feel free to attend as well). These were filled with Bible stories, games, puppets, drama, and fun, fun, fun! On the last day, the Biola team handed out toothbrushes, toothpaste, pens, pencils and other goodies.
For food....it was a mostly Cameroonian cuisine. The team was amazing! This type of menu can be really hard on people not used to the foods here, but they did great! Sara was able to improvise and do several more American type dishes (to help provide a break).
We also brought lots of snacks including popcorn and even roasted marshmallows the last night. Water was a challenge because of the 5 available wells there only 1 was functioning. It was across the road, some distance from the kitchen and work site. So....out of this need arose the "Water girls" (a group of girls who helped keep the barrels near the kitchen and at the work site filled). A tough, but really necessary task.
Our accommodations were scattered around the village. The team stayed in various peoples houses that they prepared for us. We stayed in a compound a couple of minutes walk from where the kitchen was. We actually had 2 rooms so that we could store a lot of the food there. Several interesting experiences happened while we were there: one of the first days Sara almost stepped on a snake right outside our door (which had a gap of a couple of inches)...a little scary, but ok.
The next one happened when our regular guests of cock roaches decided to perch on the ledge of our bedroom ceiling. It looked black in the light and startled Sara as we had just seen a scorpion (which are darker in color) and she thought it was one. A couple of days before we left we were visited in the evening while Sara tried to read a book by flashlight. The bug are drawn to the light, which in turn attracted the bat, which would come swooping down to feast on the smorgasboard provided by the flashlight. I am sure that all of our neighbors heard the commotion that happened while Tim gallantly tried to get the bat out of the room. Such is life in the village....never a dull moment!
Our trip home, started with saying goodbye to the Yaounde faction of the team who rode a bus back Saturday (and although they broke down they were still able to get home that evening).
The rest of us loaded up the 3 vehicles and headed out on some really bad roads (they are doing road work and as often happens...when it rains these places get really bad). One such place...2 trucks were stuck, so the team jumped out and surveyed the scene, started to make a plan of attack. We made it through that one only to have a taxi stop and hold up traffic. Fortunately for us, we had a valet with us and he jumped in the taxi and drove it a short way up the road to clear a path for cars to get through.....go Brad, go!! We stopped that evening at a beautiful guest house and rested for the evening before finishing up our trek home with a visit to a musuem and traveling many more hours via many bad roads (at least the last leg was on familiar roads). We arrived home 7pm...weary, but blessed by the opportunity to be a blessing to this village!
2013 Biola/RFIS team in pictures
2013 Biola/RFIS team in pictures
This is what we started with
everything up but the zinc
games and fun stuff with the children in the afternoons
They really enjoyed the bible club times
handing the toothbrushes out
morning devotional Bible study
lots of the village out to watch the movie
carrying water from the well across the road
The water filters for the team
outdoor part of our kitchen
wet, muddy, slippery roads on the way home
One of many obstacles we had to overcome
Moving supplies to the building site
Whole village out for the dedication of the school
afternoon Bible study/club
Katelyn and those babies!
teaching about brushing teeth
we ran out and had to make more probably 90+ given
Sunday morning service
one of the wells got fixed while we were there
our infamous "Water girls"!
Our "dining hall"
the team built us a shelter so we didn't bake while we cooked
but really beautiful scenery too