Day 9 - Beach or Bust
The group arrived at the town of Kribi after a four hour drive on Day 8. Since we arrived in the evening, we were unaware of what true beauty the area had until we woke up the next morning. This sleepy beach community is definitely something to behold for those who visit Cameroon.
Our morning started with breakfast at our respective hotels followed by a visit to the Cite de L’Enfance (The Children’s Haven). This is a school that was started by Jacqueline N’Gouah N’Gally in 1987 for under served populations within the city of Kribi. Most of the students do not have running water or toilets and yet the school is teaching them about nutrition, cleanliness, and giving them the ability to be bilingual (French and English).
Omau (First Secretary of the Cameroonian Embassy in the US) shaking hands with the mayor of Kribi.
The group was thoroughly entertained by the display of knowledge that the kids showed as well as their dance moves. Each of us got the opportunity to plant a tree at the school with some of the students as well as sign a board to commemorate our visit. In addition, we were given a sliver of fabric, a pen, and more information on the school. A number of the members of our group pledged donations to the school, both big and small, so that it could sustain itself.
...and did I say that these kids could DANCE!
Anyone who saw this little boy could tell you, he was jammin'!
Sharon (right) got a chance to read her book to the kids.
One of the things that I’ve loved while photographing this trip was the fact that so many of the kids in Cameroon have never seen digital cameras. So, when you take pictures of them and show them what they look like, they get really excited and smile from ear to ear. Something so small can make them so happy. Once many of us learned about this, we made sure to show our pictures to the kids we met.
Next, the group headed to the headquarters of the town of Kribi II. The schedule called for us to watch a Pygmee dance and drum group, but held no mention of one of the trip’s best events. The mayor of Kribi II, Sabikanda Guy Emmanuel, announced that everyone in our group would become honorary citizens and get the key to the city. We were all shocked and honored that this took place.
We’ve had quite the interesting bus drive for the duration of our trip. While we estimate that we’ve traveled about a day by land, I would estimate that some of that time was spent trying to track down where our bus driver went. He was quite the elusive man, sometimes leaving us outside in the sweltering heat while the members of the group in the other bus sat in the luxury of air conditioning. I’ll definitely say that a lot of prayers were said during our days traveling on the ground. **Laughs**
From there, we headed to a couple of natural attractions. The first was Kienkie’ River where we watched the locals catch fish and swim.
The second was a place called Chutes du Lobe where awesome waterfalls are displayed. The irony is that Chutes du Lobe once served as a place where slaves were traded and sold. After our brief tour, the tribe members performed and we were also welcomed by two huge pots of shrimp fished from the waters off Kribi. It smelled just like New Orleans, LA to me and a few others who enjoy crawfish.
The dancers in the various areas of Kribi dress with lots of foliage as a part of their costume and mimic animals and plant life during their routines. This is definitely a marked difference between them and the dancers from other tribes in other parts of Cameroon.
We encountered two people during this stop that looked EXACTLY like some American celebrities. One of those was Michael Vick, quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. The other was actor Don Cheadle (whose DNA tested to Cameroon). I was able to get a picture of the man who looked like Don Cheadle.
Tomorrow is our last day here and we will spend most of it in Douala before our flight out. It’s sort of bittersweet. For more photos, please visit this link.