The process of putting on this camp is a major logistical spider web - funny that Mission Advance was a precursor to the summer in that fashion. Luckily for me, I just had to show up - 6000 miles away. G Nen manages all of it effortlessly. Incredibly adaptable, laid-back and soft spoken, he's got a huge heart for the students of Cameroon and a well thought out vision and strategy. As you hear the story of the Nens, you can tell that God has been preparing them for the French speaking African world.
We load 37 Cameroonian students, probably another 8 or 10 Cameroonian youth workers, our team of 12 and everyone's luggage onto a coach bus that seats about 60. We also load about 100 bannanas, plantains, tomatoes and avacados - 100 each. Kribi is about a 3 hour drive south from Yaounde and our bus is full. Everyone brims with anticipation. I'm just trying to watch the road in an effort to keep from getting motion sick. One of the endearing traits of this particular mission team leader.
The ride there is uneventful - which I'm told is a big relief in Africa. We enjoy watching the African countryside, with farms, houses, little market areas and roadside stands. These stands sell bushmeat - the real stuff - like water rats, porcupine and monkeys. The day's special hangs on a stick next to the road - by the tail. Yummy.
Our housing at Kribi is incredible. Americans would pay a ton to live here. We have two lodging areas adjacent to each other. The girls are about 50 feet away from the beach, on a little bluff a short staircase up from the water. This area contains about 8-10 4 bedroom apartments - each with a private bathroom including a toilet, shower and sink - and a few eating and meeting areas and serves as our meeting space. There are another set of 4 apartments around the corner where some of the boys will stay. A 5 minute walk around the corner and up another flight of stairs are where the rest of the boys stay, high up on a hill. Same lodging set up - 4 to a room, private bath. Better breeze than down below, the view of the ocean is spectacular.
After check in and getting their gear into their rooms, the whole camp heads down to the beach for some fun games. Getting here was a part of it. Executing now that we are here is what its about. Our students run the games and even with just a bit of confusion at the beginning, they run well. After the games, everyone gets in the water and has a blast. We have chosen a spot on the beach where you can wade out 75 feet while the water is only up to your waist. Even so, good thing our team has three lifeguards on it.
Since Kribi is a major fishing village, dinner is fresh fish, delicious. Our team is fully engaged over dinner and the evening, playing UNO, hanging out, trying to learn/practice French - most of these students speak both English and French. Watch a group of American students befriend other students in another culture sometime. It will give you hope and resolve for the future.
Photos: the bus ride, games on the beach and LB and ESunde eating fish.