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Cameroon  Village Primary School AidCamp November 2007

The Village Primary School provided by the AidCamp
The Village Primary School provided by the AidCamp

The people of Tsenka singing
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This AidCamp was held in conjunction with our partner organisation Strategic Humanitarian Services (SHUMAS) in the rural village of Tsekna in the Northwest province of Cameroon.

The AidCamp financed and built a proper primary school in the village to replace a dangerously dilapidated building that was in too poor a condition to be renovated.

The volunteers were also taken on visits to see SHUMAS's work in the area, as well as on several local and regional sightseeing trips to markets, the palaces of traditional chiefs, and to see local artisans at work.

The following report about the AidCamp was written by Jules, one of the volunteers:


"I've always dreamed of making the journey to Africa, and to combine that trip with an AidCamp was a dream come true!  I can honestly say, as the year comes to a close, that this has been the greatest of my life to date.  Rather a bold statement, but it is quoted with genuine sincerity.  Having just returned home from an AidCamp in a small village called Tsenka in Cameroon, I'm still high from the wave of smiling eyes and a chorus of song.

In February this year I set out on my very first AidCamp, to India; which then extended onto an Independent AidCamp with the same school.  By March I had already booked myself onto the project in Cameroon, and by the end of April I set off from India to begin yet another Independent AidCamp, this time in Sri-Lanka!  Needless to say I am 100 per cent behind all that AidCamps International stand for, the work that goes into these projects is phenomenal and it is a privilege to witness and partake in these life improving schemes.

Jules at work 
Jules at work

Our group of 14 volunteers arrived on our 'Guarantee Express' bus, to a multitude of beaming faces and excited giggles, accompanied with a string of delightful 'Welcome' chants.  The children and villagers took our breath away the instant we stepped down from the bus, which had carried us for an entire day's journey.

The hours spent rolling through the ethnic markets and dusty, sun drenched mountains in the African heat was well worth the reception we instantaneously became a part of.   We danced our way down to the village which became home to us all, over the next three weeks.  To be made so welcome in a culture that is not yours, is quite something else.

After a couple of days to adjust, meet all the SHUMAS staff, and get to know our neighbours... including all the chickens; we started out on our project with gusto.  We all threw ourselves into the task at hand, and the children all enjoyed watching us struggle with rather interesting garden tools... they soon jumped in to show us how it is really done.  Often distracted by the joy of little ones running around us during break time, we soon struck up a rendition of the Hokey-Cokey, amongst other energetic children songs and playground games... resulting in a sweaty heap of exhausted volunteers, whilst the children carried on.

Every day on site brought something new to the team, and we pulled together as the days passed, knowing what it was we were there to achieve.  In the evenings we would play games and quizzes by head torch, like something out of a sci-fi comedy; amongst informative talks on the cultural differences in Cameroon and even a drama sketch by the local women's group.  The weekends gave us a chance to rest our muscles, but work on our dance technique which came in handy at the various ceremonies that we attended in the afternoons.  With just some time to take in a few sites and grab a cold coke, we longed to return to our much-loved village.

By the end of the three weeks we had met our deadline; the 4 classrooms were complete and gave the children a sense of pride, including one who shed a tear for her new school.  We danced into the afternoon at a memorable opening ceremony and left behind a trail of tiny feet and wet cheeks; I'm sure I speak on behalf of everyone when I say it broke my heart to leave the children and their village.  I plan to continue my support of AidCamps for many years to come.  I would like to thank AidCamps International for giving us the opportunity to help others help themselves."


Asked to rate their overall experience of this AidCamp, the volunteers replied as follows:

The Volunteers

Volunteers' quotes:

"One of the best ways to see and feel another culture."

"Best 3 weeks of the year"

"What an amazing three weeks! I loved it all."

"AidCamps is not just for gap year or the 18-30 groups, all ages are welcome and all will have an enlightening experience. I know, I'm 53!"

"I didn't expect to feel so at home!"

"Another brilliant AidCamp"

"If you want something you've never had, do something you've never done. This is an experience like not other."

"Every visit makes me more determined to return."

"A humbling experience which causes one to reflect on one's own values & future plans."

"Third time around and I'll definitely be back again!"

"These children hold the spirit of Africa - I feel honored to ba a part of their future."

"Have a great time but also help others."

Volunteers' quotes:


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