Day Trois

The usual “dawn chorus” of motorbikes and taxis welcome us to another scorcher of a day. Back to New Bell “ecole evangelique” and the same vociferous welcome with hundreds of children screaming now for “Carlos”.

The message is put that we have a TV star with us. No longer is Jess the favourite team member. She has had a strong impact being the only female member of the team and is an obvious role model particularly for the girls and helps massively with our message of inclusivity.

Three sessions this morning involving the best part of “trois cent” children. The O-level Francais is slowly coming back though at times blank stares of confusion when what is meant to be said obviously hasn’t been!! At least this usually causes much amusement.

A school PE lesson runs alongside our session reminiscent of a “boot camp” or training session for US marines. It paints a contrasting picture to the children, laughing and smiling and generally having fun in our games.

We had a group of older school children in the middle group (up to the age of 23 or 24). They had just finished their session of “boot camp PE” so we skipped the warm up for them! (though do you need a “warm up when it’s 35 degrees!).

This was a different session as they were faster learners and challenged us to be more creative and push them further both with cricket skills but also with HIV education. One lad 6ft +tall and muscular stood out and as he spoke a bit of English helped lead our discussion and we were able to bring in other concepts of risk taking behaviour at parties and how getting drunk can cause bad decision making. We talked about drugs and alcohol and the temptation of casual sex when drunk. They also knew where to get tested for HIV at the local pharmacy or hospital. Being the biggest,”butchest” guy there, he was a great role model for his peers and encouraged the others to talk as well. It felt like a successful result for “tout la monde “

A short visit to an orphanage to try and arrange a visit for later this week and also to another school but slightly handicapped by lack of paperwork a hang over from colonial past where triplicate paperwork is required but after some negotiation both are sorted for the next couple of days.

So time for a little R and R after a long but fascinating trip through Douala rush hour. You can drive in Cameroon from any age and no vehicles have “MOT” so anything goes as long as it goes!

Highlight of the day was the way the students engaged with talking about “sida” (HIV/aids) and risky behaviour.

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