I have been back in Cameroon for a little over 2 weeks now. I was welcomed back into country with a 22 hour bus ride; it took longer to get from Yaounde to Meiganga than Los Angeles to Yaounde! Home feels like a distant past. Saying goodbye to my parents this time around there were no tears shed, a breif hug and a "see ya later!" Then we waved goodbye. I keep showing pictures of my time home and the most common response is that I look just like my mom!
After that nasty bus ride, I got right back in the swing of things. I kept telling Emma and Samantha, my postmate and cluster mate respectively, that if I sit down I will not get back up. So lets keep going! What I am referring to is a little ceremony that Emma and I had planned for our scholarship girls. An NGO, A2Empowerment, awards girls in Cameroon scholarships for High School based upon need and merit. Last year we had a difficult time with attendance of monthly meetings and girls thinking the scholarship was a gift not something that they earned.
This year we tried changing things up. We held a ceremony to give out their scholarships and certificates. A guardian for each girl was invited as well as the principals from each school and other important community figures. Although only 3 of the invited 9 officials showed up, it still was considered a success. Speeches were made by Emma and I as well as the principals in attendance. Emma and I focused on, "We are here for you!"
I honestly think it resonated with the girls. The mom's were proud, we were proud, A2Empowerment is proud. After the ceremony we celebrated with cakes and soda and went on to enjoy our Saturday. Our next meeting is September 29th where we will be talking about goal setting for the school year. We have fun monthly meetings planned for the girls.
Coming home was a necessary break for me. It allowed me to clear my head, enjoy the company of loved ones. Thank you all for the hugs, the kind words, the letters, everything. My second year is going to be a great one...I can just feel it. I cannot wait to share it with you :)
Delicious cakes that Emma made!
The seats for the officials invited.
Emma and I with the girls after the ceremony.