Clean Water

A watertank under construction

Day 15: Mbontsem

Today it feels very much as if we've travelled to a different country again! The drive to Mbontsem took us over 4 hours from Kumbo (although we did stop a couple of times on the way), and the road was slow even by the standards we've become used to here. In places it couldn't even be generously described as a road, and it's a good thing we had a 4 wheel drive - I'm fairly sure a normal car wouldn't have made it. We've actually come into a different county, Mbiame rather than Kumbo, and we passed through the major town (also called Mbiame) on the way as an election rally was taking place. The elections have been announced for 10 days' time; not ideal timing for us, as they'll be 2 days before we're due to fly home. Word on the street is that the current mayor of Mbiame, a member of the ruling party, simply bought his way into office and lives in Douala rather than Mbiame. The rally was noisy, but seemed light on politics and heavy on kids with motorbikes. The atmosphere felt tense; not dangerous, but tense, more so than an any point so far on the trip.

On the way, we also stopped at a few catchment areas: one old one near Kumbo, which is extensive and well managed; one new one that is under construction; and finally the one for Mbontsem, which also supplies the villages of Lam and Tanyah.

Here in Mbontsem we have no electricity or running water, or even mobile phone signal - the latter is often more reliable than either of the other two in Cameroon! Without electricity, I wrote up my journal in the evening by the light of a hurricane lamp (or bush lamp, as they're known here). The town does have a water supply, but the branch which feeds our house is currently leaking. It looks like there'll be plenty of work to do!

Day 16: Problems

© Aidan Reilly 2013