Testimonial from Ophélie about her mission in Cameroon

By 19 October 2017 August 16th, 2019 Cameroon, Testimonials, To publish
Photo illustrant l'article de Lifetime Projects : "Retour au vrai sens", témoignage d'Ophélie au Cameroun

Going back to the true meaning of life, or at least discovery…

Why choose to carry out a mission of international solidarity rather than tourism? The main part of a trip, I think, is to be at the heart of culture, allowing us to exchange, share and grow between peoples, and thus understand the realities of the world.

But how do I describe what I saw? There are no words. No words to describe what I experienced…

During the various activities I was able to carry out on site in Cameroon to initiate LifeTime Projects’ health projects, I understood that I was addressing my brothers, sisters, parents, family, OUR family! There are no borders, we are here to move forward together. Our family needs us.

How is it possible to remain indifferent to what surrounds us?

On the road to Atta, the beauty of the tropical landscapes and the dirt roads make us understand our arrival in the Cameroonian bush. We see children of all ages working in the fields, some carrying water buckets on the road (about 10kg), others taking care of their brothers and sisters like parents, or folding laundry. Where is the carefree child who plays marbles with his friends? Why so many responsibilities assigned to these children from an early age? Why does the marriage of a young 14-years-old girl take place? Why? Why? Why? … So many questions that unfortunately we cannot intercede with a snap of our fingers. And the difference in culture does not facilitate our ability to make a judgment. So let’s choose to help them in the cultural exchange.

In the village of Atta, on the Nigerian border, what an immense joy it is to read on the women’s faces their gratitude: happy to receive donations of clothes, medicines, and proud to be able to move forward in the line of female empowerment, by producing handmade soaps within their own cooperative. The expression on their faces shows how much they are waiting to launch their new project.

At the FACT orphanage, children smiling to you, their arms wide open welcoming you to receive your love, their calls “auntie, auntie Ophélie, take us with you, show us Mbeng! (Europe)”. Or in the lyrics of “Rêves d’enfance” (Childhood Dreams) that fly away and express the desire of every orphan to be a child like any other: “All we need is love and education, health to grow up. We want to feel all our rights as children despite all the conflicts that can take place between us Africans, let us hold hands, let us holds hands” (chorus).

How can we remain indifferent?

In terms of health, without financial resources, the population cannot access proper care. They take risks such as clandestine abortions, self-medication, go to the marabouts, do not carry out the necessary examinations… On behalf of the health care staff and medical structures, they do with what they have. In other words, as many things as possible, with almost no material or medical devices… Very rudimentary… A nurse can carry out general or gynecological consultations, childbirth, microsurgery, circumcision, vaccination, family planning, physiotherapy… But in any case, forget the rules of hygiene, handwashing between each patient or even before any treatment, vaccination protocols, follow-up care, patient comfort… This cannot be done under such conditions.

Unforgettable moments shared with my Cameroonian brothers, signs of fraternity, solidarity, joy and love. Incredible experience, from which I emerge different. However, it is still difficult to express myself, to find the words to describe. I have learned so much… My heart is strengthened to move forward and lead LifeTime Projects’ health projects in Cameroon!

I remember a wonderful slogan following my meeting with BEPATRIOT INTERNATIONAL: “We show the example and move forward together”.

What about you? What are you waiting for to live such an experience, share and exchange your knowledge in order to move this world forward? Dare to go on an adventure! It’s where you least expect to do the most beautiful things!

 

You are inspired by this mission and want to join the adventure?

Orphanage in Cameroon: see the mission in details

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