Posted tagged ‘solidarity’

Cameroon: A land of family, friends and solidarity

January 6, 2010

I recently returned from a wonderful trip to Cameroon, Africa. Here’s a little something I wrote up about the experience:

I had no idea what to expect when I traveled to Cameroon last month. I had never been to Africa before, let alone this particular Central West African country.

I just knew things would be different, and that I would learn a lot. I was right.

I saw that many Cameroonians earn a living from selling fruits and vegetables. Because most of them don’t have cars, they must wake up at the crack of dawn to carry the crops from the fields to the market. It’s a colorful and humbling sight to see scores of Cameroonians — children and the elderly alike — balancing heavy baskets of goods on their heads along main roads.

We Americans don’t have it so bad, you realize.

I saw men in the airport going to extreme measures to earn a day’s wage. They accost you upon your arrival, asking if you need help finding your suitcases. You say yes, thinking they are airport employees. As they jet around the baggage claim conveyer belt, trying to match your luggage with a ticket you’ve given them, you realize they are not at all affiliated with the airport. They are just doing what it takes to earn some extra cash, working for tips.

I saw the excitement in a young man’s eyes when he told us he had won the visa lottery to move to the United States. His lips upturned up as he explained this was his third year applying, and that he had finally beat the odds. He wondered if his banking degree would suffice in the United States, with comparable American job candidates. Either way, he had a ticket to opportunity.

I could go on and on about the things I saw and the people I met. (more…)