Saturday, March 6, 2010

Fondonera

 

 In an attempt to remind myself why I started the psychotic library project, I decided to write about my visit to Fondonera from a few weeks ago. 

Bernadette is the queen mother of the Fondonera clan. She found out about my project online and wrote to the Peace Corps. Her email was forwarded to me and we had been in contact since. She's a teacher and incredibly committed to the promotion of literacy and her community. She contacts me regularly to see the progress of the project. I was so touched by her enthusiasm and commitment, I decided to include her village in my project, even though there is no volunteer posted there. The village is still within the West region and thus manageable.


After months of communication, I finally had a chance to go visit her community. I was overwhelmed and touched by the generosity of people and how welcoming they were of me and Laura. We were invited to Bernadette's house for lunch, and then they gave us a tour of the community space they had prepared for the library. Later, her brother gave us a tour of the village. It was a Saturday, and a big funeral celebration was taking place. So we were invited to a few more gathers and had a few more meals.


 The village is situated in a mountain, and there is no paved road to get to the village. With the funeral celebration, there were people everywhere and music playing from all corners up and down the mountain. For a moment, I felt like a character in Tarzan and that at any moment some strong Cameroonian man will start swinging between trees!


The hospitality was overwhelming. Laura and I were in a hurry to get back before dark, so we were getting rather impatient after the 3rd round of meet and eat. If I had more time, then I would have enjoyed the village more. The queen mother's brother said, "next time, you come here and we make a two-day program for you to discover Fondonera."

The culture of remote villages like this, and the loving people are why I started this psychotic library project. Someone has to deal with the bureaucracy and administration to bring books to remote places as such. Somebody's gotta do it, and it might as well be me.

1 comment:

Helen said...

"Somebody's gotta do it, and it might as well be me." you go girl. I'm currently waiting for my Peace Corps invite and I've been following your blog since I applied last April. It's been almost a full year of waiting and during that time I just meet more and more people that keep telling me "oh my friend that went was so frustrated and didn't get anything done..." I've heard that story so many times from people that don't even care to volunteer in their local community because they are "too busy".

I think it's great that even though you are frustrated and pissed off you can still realize that if you didn't do it nobody would. Even if it doesn't work in the end at least someone tried and maybe someone else can come and keep this project going.

To me, right now, it's infinitely more frustrating to see the people that complain about how it's never going to happen and never ever try to change it. So, even if this project doesn't work I think you made a positive change at least in making me realize why I started this process to begin with.