On the 6th of February two new interns arrived in Kumba, Catherine from the United States and Erlyn from the Netherlands. The next morning they immediately started to work at the office. The first week was marked by reading all the reports of the previous interns. Besides reading the reports the government officials in Kumba needed to be informed about their stay in Kumba, which resulted in our interns running around Kumba from one office to the next office. It also gave them the opportunity to get acquainted with Kumba, know affectionately to locals as “K-Town”.
In the next week the interns focused on learning about the justice system. Erlyn and Catherine spent each day of the week shadowing and interviewing a different barrister to learn more about the very complicated Cameroonian justice system. They also had the chance to witness a court proceeding at the Court of First Instance. After a week they felt they had learned enough about the Cameroonian justice system to be able to explain how it works to others.
The following week the work on the CAMs Projects started for real. Introductory visits were paid to Bombe and Mofako Bekondo. To get to the villages, Ntebo, Minet, Erlyn and Catherine they had to use minivans or motorbikes. The two foreign women riding on the back of a motobike intrigued many Cameroonians walking along the road. The interns, for their part, were focusing on not falling of the bike due to their dirt roads. The people in the villages were happy to see GCI back out in the community. Mofako Bekondo was chosen as the next site for the series of workshops. This decision was made because the traditional council of this village had not received workshops in quite some time and because the road becomes impassable during the raining season.
The next week letters of introduction were brought to Mofako Bekondo, and the preparations for the first workshop on judgment and mediation were started by reviewing the previous workshop outline and making posters and handouts for the workshop.
The first workshop started and a lot of people showed up. The traditional council was present, as was the women’s council and vigilante group. The workshop lasted an hour. With discussions, explanation of theory and, to close the workshop, a few skits to
visualize what had been previously explained. The skits were especially popular with the council members.
In the second workshop, one week later, focused on transparency and fueled a heated debate on what corruption and power abuse actually is. Because of this heated discussion, GCI decided to pay extra attention to corruption in the next workshop on the legal process and human rights. However the focus of the third workshop was human rights and all the human rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were extensively discussed in order to understand what human rights practically mean for people in Cameroon.
In the coming weeks the interns will give one more workshop and do an evaluation of the process. If everything goes well we will be able to welcome more interns to continue the work in other villages.