Clean Water

A watertank under construction

Days 2 and 3: Preparations in Kumbo

I wandered down to a small market nearby to buy breakfast. This was the first proper shopping I did in Cameroon, and it was actually quite fun - I bought some bread and honey as a small breakfast until we found somewhere to buy something more substantial. The bread, made from maize flour, was dry and crumbly, and the honey was dark with a rich, sharp flavour. After that we took a taxi down into Kumbo proper to buy a Cameroonian SIM card. For some reason, we couldn’t make phone calls with ours, although we could receive calls, so we didn't realise at first that it was a problem with our phones and not the network (the message we heard told us, unhelpfully, that the numbers we tried to call were not available).

We met up with one of the drivers for OK Clean Water, a mechanic called Emanuelle (not the one from Yaounde) who also looks after their car. He showed us around his workshop, which is attached to his house, where he employs a number of mechanics to work on cars and various other bits and pieces. While we were there, they were building an automatic threshing machine for maize. He gave us a lift to Tobin (nominally a separate village, although in practice contiguous with Kumbo) where we met the rest of the team: Catherine Molloy, the Cameroon co-ordinator for OKCW, and Visi Edwin, OKCW's technician, as well as Ivonne and Ivolyn, two students from Kumbo. (I've just realised I'm not sure exactly how to spell their names! - apologies if I've spelt either incorrectly.)

Mentioning mechanics and metalwork reminded me of something I saw a fair few times from the bus on the way up to Bamenda: people carrying out arc welding by the side of the road, usually repairing cars or motorbikes, without any sort of protection. This is a plea to any welders in Cameroon who read this: please use eye protection! And please weld behind some sort of wall or fence or other screen to protect other people! You only have one set of eyes, don't ruin them with UV radiation.

We spent the rest of Friday and Saturday planning and preparing for our first village visits, buying food and planning our work. Ivonne and Ivolyn took us to buy food in the market, which was a fantastic help, and saved us a small fortune in time and money. The market, although fairly empty when we went, is still fairly rambling, and white people are usually charged at least three times as much as black people, often more.

Day 4: Wvem and the RTC

© Aidan Reilly 2013