During the drum circle BBQ two weeks ago, I met Justin Colvard, an American from Texas & Oklahoma that has been helping to run an Orphanage in Fundong for the last 3 years.
Together with Brynne (my housemate and other RUDEC volunteer), we decided to pay Justin and his orphanage a visit. After the 1hr taxi ride up north we arrived in Fundong. At first glance fundong looks bigger and more affluent then Belo (the town where I live) as there are many government buildings and churches, plus a large market.
From the carpark we hired a motortaxi driver to take us to the Harvest Children Orphanage. When we rode into their compound I spotted Justin playing with the kids on the field. Justin introduced us to the staff including Emmanuel (the guy who actually build the orphanage back in 2004) and the Nurse. In total they have 65 kids and 4 dormitories (divided according to age groups). The dormitories were solidly constructed buildings with bunkbeds, mosquito nets and cool mural paintings.
Justin himself is a really nice guy with an interesting background: Before he came to Cameroon he spent some time in Sudan. At some point he and his car were hijacked but he got out of that situation with minor scratches. However his mother insisted he would go somewhere else in Africa (more stable) and so he ended up here in Cameroon. He is the first foreigner I met here that speaks the local Kom dialect very well so there is a lot to be learned from him. During his tour of the orphanage and also to a nearby waterfall he taught Brynne and me some Kom syntax, which was good (although I forgot most of it already.. :( ). You can check out Justin's work on his website at: http://www.lifeofawanderer.com
The kids seemed very happy, playing around with home made toys such as balls and guitars. At some point Emmanuel used a "personal alarm" (a relic from the 80's I believe) to summon all the kids on the compound so we could make a group picture. The kids came scrambling from all corners, and in about 15 seconds they had lined up in 4 neat rows (according to dormitory).
Overall I was quite impressed with the orphanage. Justin is able to fundraise in the US with religious charities so the organization is somewhat sustainable at this point (although they are only able to pay 3 of the 6 staff members at this point, all the orphans have their school fees, uniforms, books and pens, food and medical expenses taken care of.)
For more info on the orphanage, see:
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