Memories of Mbokam

There are simply no words to describe Cameroonian roads. They are strewn with such large rocks and pitted with such deep ruts that it’s impossible to imagine. You really had to be there…

[After two hours] we arrived at the water source and met John, our project engineer. There were two men in a ten-foot-deep pit digging around the spring in preparation for the construction of the catchment that would harness the water. He then led us to a remote place, the quarry, where men were cutting rock with a hammer and chisel and finally invited us to see the sand that would be used to make the cement…Thankfully, [the jeep] had the traction of any army tank because we nose-dived down the hill among the saplings and landed beside a stream where we realized that the sand was being sifted through screens, by hand, from the bottom of the riverbed. I began to understand that nothing is easy in Africa…The people have no roads, really, no electricity, minimal health facilities and schools, no water, no stores…They have so little and they ask for so little. They are begging us for water.

Kathy Monkman,
Ottawa, Canada

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