On Friday and Monday I collected more than 60 applications from the Government High School in Buea Town of just Form 4 and Lower 6 students! I reviewed the applications and posted the list of accepted YAN students on Tuesday during their break period. As I was leaving, I saw swarms of kids huddling around the list to see who had been admitted into the club.

This week was my first week of ‘back-to-back’ YAN classes. I wish it was possible to be two places at once! 

The class at Lycee went excellent as always!! 20 students showed up and only about 4 came ‘late’ which is a great improvement from the previous weeks. Being late is just part of the culture here. People are never in a hurry or in a rush. In fact, it is commonly referred to as “Black-man time” or “African time”. Before class ended last week, I jokingly reminded the students that class starts at 1pm “White-man time” – the joke seemed to have worked ☺ 
I started by collecting last weeks homework and reviewing the grading scale (check plus = high honors, check = honors, check minus = pass, zero = fail) and talked a bit more about class expectations.  From there we moved on to watch two short films focusing on Free the Children and the story of Craig (the founder). I thought it was nice to show the kids that even as one person, they can make a lot happen. They seemed to be inspired and impressed. Subsequently, they worked in pairs reading social advocacy and social justice news articles while filling out a worksheet to check their comprehension.

I ended class 10min early so that I could get to Buea Town to teach at 3pm. When I arrived the school compound was nearly empty, all classrooms were locked – including the computer lab that just the day before I had confirmed my reservation from 3-5 every Wednesday.  I was able to catch the principal before she left and she suggested I ask the guard to open a classroom for me. I waited near the computer lab for a while and then 11 students started walking towards me. I met them and confirmed they were here for YAN. Wonderful! As class began and I started taking attendance, I realized that 6 out of the 11 present weren’t actually on the YAN club list as accepted students but were hoping to join. I was told that most of the accepted YAN students didn’t come because at 3pm they saw the computer lab was locked so they left.  We managed to play an introduction game where each student would say their name and give their best dance move. Most students, myself included, did the ever so popular Azonoto dance which comes from Ghana. Check out the dance move here!
The students were very attentive while watching the “Did You Know 2013” video which helps to show the importance of technology as well as it's infinite power in the modern era.
There was one student, Fadimatou, who I recognized from the beginning of class when she said her name. While I was sorting through applications, hers was one of the most impressive. Among other reasons, her opening statement was, “I want to join YAN so that I can help in solving some of the problems faced by my community.” Consistently throughout the entire class, Fadimatou was the first to raise her hand to answer any and all questions I asked. Even after she answered once and her peers would add more insight, she still had more to say. Before dismissing the students, I gave them 15min to write an essay titled “My Perfect Cameroon” which you may remember from a previous blog post. As part of this essay, students had to choose one thing every person would have if Cameroon was perfect. While reviewing their responses at home, again I was impressed by Fadimatou’s response: “A good President”. For those of you who don’t know, Cameroon’s President, Paul Biya, has been in office for more than three decades. Although Cameroon is a ‘free country’ it is rare that you will find people speaking out against him. I was surprised not only that a young girl at the age of 14 years was interested in politics but even more so she had the courage to speak out about such a topic. Fadimatou is a very special student, this I can see already. I’m looking forward to seeing what she chooses as her issue/problem for the year.