CAMEROON,JANURARY 2013

Date: 
23/01/2013
Country: 
CAMEROON

23/01/2013 CAMEROON
Aberdeen airport on way to Cameroon. This time is different again going via Paris to Yaounda. There is meeting of the association of UK alumni ie; people who had studied in UK. They want to set up a group who will work on rural development and sustainable food production and I am going to be a key speaker. The weather has been awful. Lot of snow, I was afraid the trip would be cancelled due to that. Jack came here very slowly in the car as the road was white with snow but when I came all was ok. The plane to Paris seem ok. Hope the plane to Yaounda will be on time. Have booked my next ticket to Cambodia and Vietnam.

Have been in Paris now for 3 hours. I was bit afraid of delays. When we got on the plane we were told the ice on the plane had to be removed first. It took more than 45 minutes to do. But we got away ok. So here I am waiting for the plane to Yaounda. Have been waiting in the new Lounge here. The best I have seen in the world for AF, KLM Lounge. Spoke to Joan on the mobile from here. She had a good sleep when she got back to CRAGIE Park.

24/1/13
Arrived ok almost on time or only 30 minutes late to Yaounda Cameroon. Had Visa and everything and filled in all forms. They found I should have had an injection against yellow fever which I had not got so could not pass before I had that done. They could do it at a charge of 30 USD. I had 100 USD with me so they gave me nothing back. Then had to look for small luggage bag after getting through the visa counter, no problem the bags came late I eventually got all an hour late and special people were waiting for me outside. Fortunately They were all there so got to hotel went out for a meal with them and at 1215 went to bed. Today 2 people came to collect me to show me a bit of Yaounda. A sort of building built by Chinese as in Addis ABBABA. The African Union building and then to an agricultural College to see if somebody would like to speak to me. The Boss was not there but a women spoke to (Anna Charise) about research work. I said I was mainly working with animals and she said she was too using nylon bag techniques. I told her that was my fault as I invented it so much discussing until we left to meet up with Beatrice and her group at 4 pm. Then back to my hotel to discuss the work tomorrow for the big opening meeting. Then go for a big evening meal. I could only eat half of it although I had no mid day meal. Then I was told that one of them a journalist wanted me to speak on the radio from 5 to 6 am. Tomorrow will get a call at 4.30 am. So a busy day, type of day and even very busier tomorrow. So better have an early bed. In the hotel this morning there were no water for washing or anything and the hotel could not correct. Eventually I got somebody to go to another place to get a bucket of water so I could wash and shave. Got on to internet eventually in an internet shop to see my mail from Kansas to suggest times for my ticket.

25/1/13
Today a busy day. Started getting up at 4.30 am had to speak on the radio about my work together with Beatrice then back to the hotel at 6 am sleeping a bit more had breakfast at 9 and was collected to join the other group to prepare for the afternoon session for opening of the new club based on UK alumni. Their goal or mission is food production for all and no poverty. I had to give the first invited keynote speech about my recommendation based on my work in so called developing countries. Many speakers after that also Beatrice made a good paper based on the mission of the UK alumni. There were also representations from British HQ in Yaounda city. In the afternoon more informal and at night another party with drinking and good food and local Cameroonian music. They sang prayers for each meeting with if it meant drinking too much. So tomorrow up again early being collected at 7.15 and breakfast at 7 am. Sometimes when two speakers speak in English not easy to understand or I found it difficult but the Cameroonians managed it.

In the afternoon I had to speak on TV for a few minutes and then later in the afternoon another session the radio with Beatrice but for a Section next week or so. We were speaking about my experience in rural development in other countries.

26/1/13
Today has been a bit boring for me as it was a bit political as to who would be the president of the UK alumni for the next 2 years. I think Beatrice was bit disappointed for not being asked. She has certainly done most of the work. Had a session in the computer shop to look at recent mails. Thanh has booked from Hue to Hanoi on Feb 21. Today again no water in the hotel and no ice for a bit of whiskey but managed to get a bit. There is a wedding in the hotel today what a noise outside so how can I sleep? The British High Commissioner was also at the meeting yesterday was here also today at a handicapped people home where the group is suffering. He is of Indian origin.
Tomorrow morning early we are going to Bamende the English speaking part of Cameroon where I was before in Dzang where Alexis work.

28/1/13
Up early this morning but all night the music of a wedding ceremony outside never stopped until 6 am by which time I had to get up to be ready for a trip to the Bus station to take us to Bamende. It was a long drive it was late departing should be 8 but 9 when it wont arrived in Bamende at 3.30. Karsten from Bamende a member of the international group met us. We then went to the home of Beatrice to meet up with the farming group consisting mainly of women who were waiting to welcome us. What a surprise I had. We were there deeply to discuss some aspects of small farmers problems but no. The group were almost in uniform and was singing to welcome us mainly me. I am afraid what a surprise came I was given many of flowers as a present. There were 20 to 30 people there. All wanted to shake hands with me I do not know what Beatrice had told them about me but something interesting and good so after dancing and very heavy rain we came inside to discuss some aspect of farming in the area with emphasis on cassava. It was such a surprise I introduced them to Kenneth who came from the area and he has now joined the group to advice. There inside we were dancing. Such a lovely event. We then came 7 pm to my hotel and had dinner together and now I am here at 9.30 ready for a good sleep. Tomorrow after shopping a bit of again to Yaounda and I have a radio interview and have to leave 11.30 for Paris. Had a big bucket of flowers too, big to take it all home but such a nice surprise. Each kids had prepared a talk for me to invite me to meet them.

10/2/13
I should have written much more since I left Cameroon. Got back ok first by bus back Yaounda then had a meal near to the airport and then back. Since I came back two interesting events. On Feb 4 there was a meeting in the University which I was asked to attend. The speaker was from Yorkshire Colin Tudge told him to meet up with me and he did. We had dinner together in the evening with his wife and 3 more from the University. He came to visit me at the Institute on Feb 5. Feb 6 had to go to Rowett to recall to DVD for the 100 year celebration of the Rowett. Quite nice to be invited to do that.