To my Mother, you who birthed me, you who breastfed me, you who carried me on your back, you who showed me the way, and you who…, and you who…
Description of Cameroun: Origin of the word CAMEROON: Camaroes = Shrimp Motto: Peace – Work - Country Population: Approximately 20 000 000 Monetary Exchange: 650 Franc CFA- =1€ Ethnic Groups: 260 groups Official Languages : French & English Non-Official Language: "CamFranGlais" = Pidgin Syst è m of Government : République Président: Paul Biya, since 6 Novembre, 1982 Indépendence: from France - January 1 st 1960 & England - October 1 st 1961 Geographical Area: Approx. 475,442 km2 183,568 sq mi Réligions: Indigenous, Christianity, Animism & Islam Driving Direction: Right side of the road Country Code : 237
The Tikar region - during the rainy season, is as green as Oregon, and in the dry season, as red as the Four Corners. The village of N’ditam, the same view – different seasons!
Map of the Tikar Region
The profile of two communities:
Population: 12.000 inhabitants Ethnic Groups: Tikar and Pygmées Socio-Political Authority: Village Chiefs Community Name: N’gambé- Tikar
Political System: Ethno-centric
(Each village is governed by each ethnic groups’ authority,
the village chief)
Geography: Equatorial, Tropical forest, Central Africa Land Surface area: 7500 m2 (carré) Number of villages: 30 Agricultural Crops: Coffee, cacao, corn, bananas, ruby red yams Agricultural Cooperatives: Spoken Languages: Tikar, French, Pidgin English Religions: Animism, Christianity, Islam Cultural Activities: Music, dance, spiritual celebrations ,mask and costume making, traditional architecture etc…
To reach the Tikar region, you must board a ferry. Once you are in Tikar, there is no electricity or Internet… There are a few telephone networks available.
Then, the adventure begins…
Hope International for Tikar People Siege Social: Ngambé- Tikar Département du Mbam et Kim – Cameroun. 4 Allée de Normandie, 92 000 Nanterre – France Tél: 01 47 25 07 39 / 06 36 21 79 54. 4010 35 th Street Mount Rainier, MD 20712 – usa Phone: 202 415 76 43 Email: [email_address] Web: http:// www.hitip.org
Along the way , there are many surprises… It is necessary to be well prepared and very patient.
However, when we arrive there is always a warm WELCOME…
… An incredible, unimaginable WELCOME!
Then…the party begins!
Don’t worry about bringing food… there is ALWAYS plenty to eat.
With many flavors to choose from including: Palm nuts…yams…cacao and sugar cane…
Ibrahim (13 years old) was born with polio…before his 3-wheeled “wheelchair”, his brother had to transport him with a “push-push”… Due to French solidarity and support, Ibrahim was able to get his elementary school diploma. He is now a repair technician in the village!
We also discovered Ibrahim’s incredible leadership abilities… He is the coach of the Nditam football (soccer) team AND repairs his community members bicycles and wheelchairs!
A South African proverb says: “When you raise a boy, you make a man out of him, however, when you raise a girl you create an entire community”. This is the reason we are working toward increased education of WOMEN!
There are many schools in the forest… the monthly salary for teachers is less than 20 dollars.
In most villages, there are no schools nearby, the students have to walk 6 – 7 kilometers each day, often in bare feet. Schools meet Monday through Friday.
The teachers and students use benches for writing desks…
Recently, the government signed a permit that will allow the village of Nditam to build their own middle school!
These dedicated teachers walk 8 kilometers Monday through Friday, to teach at a school for pygmy children. The female teacher is carrying her baby on her back. (This photo was taken by Jenny on the back of our motorcycle!)
There are no After-School Programs… After school, children either follow their parents into the fields or walk to get water for dinner.
Most of the long-term projects in the village have been initiated by the community members.
The children LOVE school! However, 97% of the children will not continue past elementary school. There are no middle schools or high schools in the region.
Beginning in 2002, HITIP has worked to improve health, education and community organization and empowerment, and we have definitely made progress!
… with much hard work and enormous challenges we have succeeded, in part, due to our incredible on-site, field manager Oumarou – a very talented artist, photographer and video artist. His work has been amazing. It has all been done with zero funding and just one Yahoo email address!
HITIP created a legal association…here are the faces of HITIP! (Standing with Issa, Jenny and the mayor of N’gambe –Tikar) From top to bottom on the left…Gnegoh, Philibert and Joseph From top to bottom on the right…Jean-Calvin, Therese, and Samuel.
As a political refugee, I felt it was my duty to to bring awareness, development, and opportunities back to my home community.
HITIP has raised awareness and funding for our programs through art shows and street performances
HITIP also collaborates with prominent individuals such as Roger Buron (left), and Dr. Georges Bwelle (right).
In October of 2009, the eldest member of the Pygmy community, Martha, passed away, a very difficult time…
All donations are ALWAYS delivered, personally, to the village. Our last trip and delivery of supplies was October of 2009.
Our goals have always been completed! To find inspiration, I perform a “balancing act”, N. Issa
Thanks to your donations…
… We are able to change lives!
However, much remains to be accomplished…
… such as the need for accessible medical services, new prostheses for the handicapped and reliable transportation
For us…hope is ALWAYS near and it is up to us to help that that hope EMERGE!
At the same time, the artistic battle has not yet begun…
The LOVE FOR LIFE is always present!
And the hand that reaches out, will ALWAYS return…
Please make checks payable to: Soulful Presence And mail to: PO Box 4578 Santa Fe, NM 87502 Soulful Presence, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Santa Fe. All donations made to Soulful Presence are tax-deductible. Donate online at www.soulfulpresence.org Soulful Presence and HITIP are partner organizations.