Monday, January 18, 2010
Dr. Steve gets inspired as we hit the road
This is Dr. Steve. Sorry we've not yet uploaded many pictures. Ironically, everybody wants photos at the highest possible resolution, but then it's hard to upload them with our slow connection. We'll see what we can do.
First an update on the toolbag crisis: we are told it should arrive in Yaoundé Thursday evening. This is rather critical. We would be able to replace lost tools, but there was specialized glue and tape in the bag that we use to isolate the pump’s underwater wiring from the water. We can’t get it here. So hopefully the stuff will arrive… … we will have left, so Olivia’s friend Johannes (whom some our previous team members will remember) has been authorized to pick it up. He’ll send it to Bafoussam and we can drive there and pick it up.
Sean mentioned our dinner at Olivia’s house (her mother’s actually) and the people we met. As each individual arrived, Olivia introduced him or her with a description of how she knew them and what they had been doing. I had a chance to talk to many of them during the evening. Olivia has a group of amazing friends (see picture!).
These are some of Cameroon’s new generation. They are well educated at some of the finest universities of Europe and the United States. They have graduate degrees in business, law, international relations, and other leadership fields. And yes, they seem very ambitious . . . but they are ambitious for their society, and they have stayed in Cameroon to make a difference. Johannes, for example, is an intern who intends to practice as a doctor in the public sector here, not nearly as well paid as in a private clinic but helping the people who need it. Nfinyo’s education is as a jurist, but he’s working on public works projects that will improve the quality of life in Cameroon. And Olivia herself is working diligently on ways to assist local start-ups based on community skills. They’re simply inspirational, and they confirm my feeling that Cameroon is a great place for EWB to be helping out.
And then I thought about the other people who were are the party: the UD students, who are also being educated at a fine university, and in a leadership field (think of UD’s President Pat Harker). Our EWB students want to make a difference, even if it means choosing a more demanding path. So I was thinking that they’re an impressive group too.
So I left the party very upbeat (and it helped that Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions won against Zambia!). Early tomorrow we load our pump, solar panels, piping, cables, and other gear on the roof of a bus and pack in with the other folks for a our ride to Bamendjou. I’m looking forward to the local food and friends there, and hard work as we bring clean water to people who need it. You’ll hear from us when we next have internet – please be patient!