“When the people tell you something, this is a message of God. And what they say you are, God says you are.”
-Priest Michel, Founder of Kentaja Association
Before I completed my service, I was able to finish my last project, along with the great team of people that did it with me. After meeting the wonderful Priest Michel Djaba, I could feel how much he cared for every orphan within Kentaja Association, the one he founded to house abandoned children in three different centers in Cameroon. It was this feeling that motivated me to help his association whatever way I could, and soon enough, I was fundraising for a water well in Bandzuidjong. I fell upon all the right people from that point on, from Aladji Feukep who installed the well, to Angel who is an excellent project coordinator, down to the generous contributions from strangers that otherwise would have made the completion of the well possible.
The ceremony was amazing (see the photos a few blog posts back). I have never had so much fun drinking water, nor have I ever felt that someone was more joyous and thankful about anything. My Bangou family even came in numbers to support me. And because the people of Bandzuidjong honored me so much for helping them with the well, they gave me a title – Mefeu Napseu (“Queen that Arranges Things”). I got to wear everything traditionally bamileke: a top, a skirt made of traditional Bamileke fabric, a hat that only notables can wear, and an especially unique bag made with magistrate monkey hair. The chief’s representative (the actual chief is 15 and was probably still in school when we were inaugurating the well) let me sit in his chair and take photos with him, which is a big honor. I was given several peace trees (which symbolize peace), some peanuts to share with my village (sharing the peanuts are symbolic too), and a chicken (chickens are expensive and given to important, respected people). I even was given a special cup that I could now drink out of along-side my notable friends. Ofcourse, there was then dancing, great food, and drinking. I already knew that I had made a difference, but to be initiated into this village as a queen was honorable. Most of all, what I really took away from this ceremony was a benediction that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. One Bandzuidjong told me, “We are very poor, so there is not much we can give you. But you will always have the prayers of this village.” This is much more than I could ask for, and more gratifying that I ever thought it could be. I want to arrange more things!!!