There’s a bar near my house called “The Best is Yet to Come” – it’s a common phrase on taxi cabs, road signs, and even the occasional building or chop shop.  It would be ridiculous of me to pretend like my time here in Cameroon has not been filled with ups and down; but in my last month there have been a great many more ups than downs.  If the best is yet to come in Buea it seems the time is now – just a month before I leave.


The kids finished their podcasts – not only did they finish but I’d swear to you that they actually enjoyed it.  I have worried time and time again that these kids really only took my course to get some free Internet time.  Of course that’s true.  But also true is that they have a love of learning and that they recognize they will never have an opportunity to learn this type of thing ever again.  


The podcasts came out great in my opinion and as I type the groups are huddled into groups working on their storyboards for up coming videos.  They want to interview lawyers and zookeepers; people at their school and people in the street.  They want to get their hands on those cameras.  It’s heartening to know that this is a successful idea.  Bait the kids with the technology they want to use – Facebook – and hit them with the technologies that will help them make a difference in their community.


Just imagine if even one of these kids decides that she really likes making videos – and not only movies – but instead, documentaries about the problems in their community.  Imagine how much good that kid could do working for a local NGO here.  Imagine the impact if the videos made by this YAN kid were shown in other African countries and encouraged other students to learn.  Imagine a group of students, connected by the worldwide web, expressing their ideas through video and exchanging those ideas.  Imagine how much they would learn from each other and the pride they would feel in showcasing their personal work.


Imagine now that before any of that happens that I’m still sitting here an hour later – writing the same blog post interrupted by a constant stream of questions, frustrations, tall tales, and worries.  The truth is most of them are well on track to making decent mini-documentaries – they just don’t know it.  It’s my job to both push them and encourage them; to provide guidance but not do their projects for them; and, to make sure they understand these assignments are not separated – that their research, the social networking, the podcast, and the video are all related and all part of this movement we call citizen led advocacy.  The most important part of my job is knowing that I’ll never hear one of my kids express that sentiment, but it may sink-in ten years from now.


So, the best is yet to come here in Buea.  I waited for the best until the end of my trip – I climbed the mountain, I made some good friends, and I’ve got my kids working. I think what will truly be the best of YANs and my legacy in Buea will come much later but I do believe it will come.