Final Update from ‘Roots

June 4, 2013

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Grace and Rachel with members of Kayo’s women’s group

Sprouting Seeds : Six women’s groups (Kayo, Batoukap, Lemgo, Fonegom, Mvelé, and Toba) learned about organic agriculture and finance. These six are the first to participate in GIC Sondason’s credit program, aiming to provide women organic farmers with seeds and organic ingredients to grow their own crops. Through the credit program, women will have access to the start up capital they need to generate sustainable and independent incomes. The work with women was by far the most rewarding. The women are the heart of these families and these communities; they are the main food providers and the ones educating the children. By teaching these women organic agricultural practices, the credit program aims to secure them a source of income, encourage sustainable agricultural practices, and help to ensure healthier families and communities.

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Cabbage plant making an appearance

Cabbage Patch Kids : While our time with the School Garden Project was short-lived relative to the life of the garden, some of the germinated seeds decided to make an appearance by the time we were scheduled to leave Fondjomékwet, and just in time, too! We got cabbage! Although it wasn’t always easy, the time spent in the school garden was incredibly rewarding. While there is still a lot of work to be done, a handful of students were really starting to understand how they can focus on personal health, the community and the environment through organic agriculture. It will be exciting to see how the garden progresses!

And, CUT! : The vision for the video was to be informative, seeking to provide a snapshot of the different projects ‘Roots worked on and to have all this information intertwined with samples of the vibrant music, the strong voices of the women with whom we’d been working, and some cultural flourishes from Cameroon. At the end of our stay, we donated the video equipment (camcorder, lavalier microphones, extra batteries and memory cards) to the Dickinson-in-Cameroon program so that future students would be able to use these tools for their own projects.

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Rachel Gilbert speaks to the Dickinson-in-Cameroon students about the coffee harvesting process in Fondjomékwet

Dickinson-in-Cameroon-in-Fondjo : The newest batch of Dickinson-in-Cameroon students arrived by the dozen. The ‘Roots team assisted with the  12 students’ orientation upon arrival in Cameroon, and ‘Roots was again excited by their presence in Fondjomékwet and Bafoussam during their academic excursion to the West Region! We gave them a tour of the warehouse in Fondjomékwet where we discussed coffee production and processing, organic agriculture, the roles of Utamtsi and GIC Sondason, and our projects. We even had time to stop briefly at the high school to show them the garden. This new group has made the Roots team proud, and we look forward to seeing what this group will do with their own unique experiences in Cameroon.

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‘Roots members pose with some members of the GIC Sondason cooperative in Bafousam after a farewell dinner

More Rooted : An enormous amount of our time in Cameroon was spent connecting with people and Cameroonian culture. And just as the cabbage seeds started to take root in the Fondjomékwet school garden, ‘Roots became more and more rooted into these communities of organic women farmers, of eager-minded students, of the people who shared their stories and extended their hospitality and kindness to us during our 6-month stay. As we discovered more and more the value of our dynamic and friendship, we also felt so fortunate to be closing this chapter with new members of our Cameroonian family, with fresh memories to cherish, and with our reestablished roots in Cameroon to someday return to.

By now, ‘Roots has arrived safely back in the States, and we are all individually working on our next “life” steps. There is nothing set in stone yet, but stay tuned because, who knows, there might be a “ ‘Roots 2.0 “ in our futures…

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Once Again, Thank You! : ‘Roots would like to thank the 200+ individuals who gave monetary donations to fund our time in Cameroon;  to Dickinson College, CGSE (Center for Global Study and Engagement) and the SIRF (Student Independent Research Fund) for providing us with a grant; to Mr. Teku, Program Director of the Dickinson-in-Cameroon program, for his friendship and vigilance; and to our social-media-followers, blog-readers, friends and family who supported this vision and endeavor along the way. It could not have been done without you. With the greatest sincerity and appreciation, merci beaucoup (thank you so much)!

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2 Comments

  1. Kaitlin I. – June 6, 2013

    I have so enjoyed following (aka stalking) the blog over the past 9 months! Fabulous work and experiences, ladies! Now, keep me posted on Roots 2.0 – I want in (but, really). xo

  2. Fernanda – June 26, 2013

    Congratulations girls!!
    I had the pleasure to witness this wonderful project and connection with Cameroonian culture.
    I will miss reading news about you and Cameroon!!!
    Keep me posted on next steps!!


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