Day 1 concluded with just shy of 24 hours of flying for the group, who came from multiple states across the United States to connect through Western Europe and finally arriving in Douala, Cameroon. Douala is the most populated city in Cameroon and home to the country's largest port. This port is the shipping point for most of the country’s major exports, including oil, cocoa and coffee, timber, metals and fruits. We were surprised to learn that Douala is the 27th most expensive city in the world and the most expensive in Africa. We arrived during the country’s rainy season. Douala averages 10 inches of rain in the month of May. We were greeted by very high humidity but, fortunately, no rain showers.
We are to spend 9 days in the dynamic country of Cameroon. The population is approximately the same as the state of Florida, but land mass is similar to California. The annual growth rate is 2.8 percent with a little over 50 percent of the population residing in rural areas. The climate of Cameroon covers most every classification, but our group will be spending their time on the mountains and grassland. The people of Cameroon could be considered fortunate for the continent, but the fact is that 23 percent of the population is undernourished, 17 percent of children are underweight for their age and infant mortality is 87 per 1,000 births. To sum it up, there is opportunity for the people of Cameroon. Our group will see and experience their biggest challenges: poverty, low agricultural technologies, drought, limited infrastructure, difficult access to food, and deforestation.
Over the next 9 days our group will get to work with rural communities through existing Heifer International projects and experience Cameroon culture—follow our blog to join us!