Stories tagged with Cameroon

Mar 3, 2009 CM Cameroon

Hello from Bamenda!!!

After about a two day transit adventure (NY to Paris (7hr), Paris to Douala (7hr), Douala to Bamenda (8 hr mini bus)), I arrived in Bamenda on Valentine’s Day, a day I thought I could avoid, but was proven incorrect!  I am working with GHAPE (Grounded & Holistic Approach for People’s Empowerment) and everyone in the office is incredibly helpful and great to talk with.  However, while my time in Cameroon has been positive, I have hit a major roadblock: I brought my Macintosh with me abroad and the software for accessing the internet here is for...

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Feb 2, 2009 CM Cameroon

A warm welcome to the Kiva Fellows Blog! I would like to introduce myself to you, my name is Ashley King-Bischof. As one of the last KF7 Fellows to arrive in the field, I make my way to Bamenda, Cameroon with much anticipation and excitement. My travels to Cameroon started in the San Francisco Bay Area and will last more than a couple of days before arriving to my final destination. The first part of my trek was across North America to New York City, where I am now. From there I have a longer red-eye to London, a quick jet over to Zurich and then another flight to Douala, Cameroon. As a...

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Nov 11, 2008 CM Cameroon

Wednesday morning was a blast. I had to get up at 5 and get ready to go into the field alone. It was my first time to go alone, but I had set up a meeting with some of the clients from one of the centers in town so I could do a few extra interviews. I had never been to the center, so when I reached the junction the center was at I had to start asking for directions. The first woman I asked was carrying a bucket of popoffs (fried dough balls) and was on her way to the market. She grabbed my hand (holding hands is very common here), and led me to the bottom of a hill. She spoke to a...

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Nov 11, 2008 CM Cameroon

This week has been completely exhausting, but one of the best weeks I’ve had here. I’ve been out in the field every morning this week—I still have tomorrow morning as well. Some of the centers have been quite far away, requiring me to leave at around 5:45 or so in the morning and catching a bike while it’s still dark. I like the longer rides though, I get to see more of Cameroon and get out of Bamenda. One of the rides to a center, Beatrice and I shared a bike. The driver told us he knew a short cut, and we went zooming through a foot path. The grass had grown over and was now hanging into...

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Sep 9, 2008 CM Cameroon

Anyone who has spent time in some of the more remote parts of Africa will probably shrug their shoulders at my observations. But as a first time visitor it’s hard not to feel like a bit of a celebrity, at least with the children. Wherever you go, kids stop and look. Sometimes they laugh or point and every now and then they wave and shout ‘white man!’

At first I was a little taken aback, but now it has become quite routine. Mostly I rather enjoy being the local novelty and giving a wave as I walk or ride past.

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Sep 9, 2008 CM Cameroon

This is my first blog as a kiva fellow and as an individual, so perhaps I will use this time to introduce myself to anyone in the internet community who would like to know.  I am Jen McQuhae, 22, from Vancouver Island, Canada.  I recently completed a four year honours degree in international development with a major in economics at the University of McGill in Montreal.  I have been fortunate enough to spend a great deal of my recent past travelling to a number of countries and working in a variety of contexts.  My last adventure was to Kenya and Tanzania where I worked in HIV clinics,...

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Sep 9, 2008 CM Cameroon

One of the most inspiring things I have seen in Cameroon is the progress made by many GHAPE borrowers over the years. GHAPE is the local NGO where I am working during my time as a Kiva Fellow in West Africa. Their aim, like many of the other hundreds of microfinance organisations around the world, is to combat poverty by bringing capital to people who have none. GHAPE sow these funds with a good handful of business advice to ensure their borrowers’ ventures grow tall.

I spent my second...

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Aug 8, 2008 CM Cameroon

Squeezing people into taxis is par for the course in Cameroon. As cabs approach, you shout your destination to the driver and if you get the nod you hop in. If there are already three in the back, no matter, there’s room for one more. If there are two in the front, again, no problem: a third person can fit in – roughly positioned astraddle the gear stick (US English: stick shift).

Leaving Bamenda to make the journey to the small town of Belo, I felt a certain smugness at having bagged the front...

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Aug 8, 2008 CM Cameroon

Well, maybe I’m not the first to discover that microfinance existed in Cameroon before the Grameen bank was founded in India or before Mohammed Yunnus got the Nobel Prize, but I felt like I had when I stumbled upon Njangi while talking to some friends over the weekend. The young people who I’ve met in Cameroon are all very intelligent and informed. The standard of education is excellent and radio commercials advertising excellent classroom facilities for young children frequent the radio. Conversation amongst the teens most often centers on grades from the last semester and I’ve yet to...

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Aug 8, 2008 CM Cameroon

I am sitting in the modest headquarters of GHAPE in Bamenda, north west Cameroon.

I am surrounded by the membership books of some of the organisation’s small borrowers, detailing their loan totals and bi-monthly repayments. There is no column for defaults. When the women (it is mostly women) meet to make their regular contributions they stay in the room until the right amount of money has been collected. If someone cannot make their payment then the others have to make up the difference. But they all know...

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