How do you grow a non-governmental organization? Identify local needs and local resources, and work to fulfill the former while engaging with the latter? Develop strategic objectives and a multi-year plan to see them through?

For the last several weeks, as we have reestablished YAN classes in Buea and felt confident in the teaching that we are engaged in at our 3 local schools, we have started to think about big questions like these. Organizational growth is an exciting thing to think about, but it is sometimes hard to know where to begin. Do we want to develop relationships at new school sites, with the hope that YAN might expand there in the future? Do we want to establish a fundraising base locally, by creating connections with local businesses? How can we create opportunities for our YAN alumni to continue using their newfound media skills, even after they graduate from the program? What is the best way to develop and preserve the curriculum that we are writing for YAN classes? We are still trying to answer these questions; but at this juncture, we are trying to keep our objectives small and manageable. We’re excited to keep thinking through what we want to accomplish for YAN in the months to come, and we hope to have much more to share in a month or two about where we are and where we’re going.

Even as we think big about YAN’s future, we still have a lot of teaching to do! Classes this week focused on developing students’ basic Facebook skills. Students first learned a bit about privacy and professionalism on Facebook. Then, they moved onto computers, where they completed a checklist with activities ranging from creating an account if needed, to updating privacy settings, to finding YAN friends, to adding basic information on profiles.  The last item on the checklist was to join a YAN event entitled ‘How things are done in Cameroon,’ which will be the online forum for sharing the writing students did over Christmas about a Cameroonian activity of their choice. Students even got to take profile photos with our new YAN cameras, which may have been the most fun part of class.

Our mini-lesson on camera use started with a game that Clara used to play with her students at Ecology Project International to focus on observation skills. In the game, students pair off and one pretends to be a camera while the other is a photographer. The “camera” closes his or her eyes and is led around by the “photographer,” who chooses sites for the camera to photograph. Upon a tap on the shoulder from the photographer, the “camera” opens his or her eyes, taking in the image the photographer has arranged. In our classes, these “images” ranged from landscapes of Buea Mountain to close-ups of Clara’s nose to everything in between. Students then traded human cameras for digital ones, and started taking pictures for their Facebook profiles. The resultant photos were at times serious, at times silly, and often pretty cute (three examples are below, featuring Mingeley and Emmanuel of Buea Town, Henry and Besskennie of Lycee Molyko, and a bunch of Buea Town students, respectively).

All in all, a lot is going on here! Next week, students will revise and post their writings about “How things are done in Cameroon” on Facebook, allowing them to share their work with each other and with other students in the United States.
A week ago, Clara posted Adams’ great description of how to buy goods in the market in Cameroon. This week, I wanted to introduce you all to the world of Cameroonian cooking through these awesome recipes provided by Randy and Mildred of Buea Town. (both are pictured below: Kennedy, making an odd face on the far left, and Mildred, smiling in the front left). We’re not sure if the ingredients needed are all available in the US, but we’d love it if someone back at home wants to give it a try. Enjoy!


How to Prepare Corn-Fufu in Cameroon—By Kennedy, GHS Buea Town
To begin with, you get your ingredients ready, like corn flour, a pot, a pestle, banana leaves, water, a sieve, etc.  Stay keen and I will elaborate on the processes in the subsequent paragraph.

Firstly, you start by boiling water in a suitable pot.  Secondly, you sieve the corn flour and winnow or wash the chaffs.  Thirdly, you move some boiling water and preserve it in a covered dish or flask.  Next, you add corn flour to the chaff and mix well in cold water to a smooth paste.  Put the mixed chaffs in the boiling water in the pot and stir well to prevent lumps or coagulation.  Then allow it to boil for some time and add corn flour to it and stir until all the flour is absorbed or well mixed.  Stirring for a while, add the preserved boiling water and cover it to simmer or boil.  Stir well for about five minutes until the stuff becomes smooth.  You then mold it into suitable balls using either warm banana leaves or a small Calabash and you serve it hot with huckleberry.
How to Prepare Coki Corn in Cameroon—by Mildred, GHS Buea Town
There are so many types of food which Cameroonians cook, but I am going to write about how Cameroonians cook coki corn. It is a food eaten by anybody at anytime of the day.

To prepare the coki corn, you need maize, pepper, salt, maggi, water, and cocoyam leaves. You can use dry or fresh maize. If it is fresh, you remove the maize from the maize stick. Then you grind the maize. After that you put it in a mortar and add some hot water, palm oil, salt, maggi and pepper, and cocoyam leaves. Then you mix until it is smooth. You then take banana leaves and warm them so that when you want to wrap the coki, the leaves will be moveable. Next you put water on the fire, and let it boil for some time, so that when the coki is ready it should not have splotchy red and white parts. You allow the coki to cook for 2 hours or 1 hour 30 minutes depending on the quantity of the coco yams, because the leaves can itch your throat if not cooked completely.

Finally, when it is ready you serve the food and eat with your hands or forks. You can eat the coki corn with plums, vegetables, or simply empty during breakfast, lunch, or super. It is very delicious.