Cameroon trip 2022 - A travel diary
In July 2022, for the first time, a group of young people from the parish of Maria Treu, together with Father Jean de Dieu, set off for Cameroon to get to know the City of Ubuntu on site and to actively participate in its development. We have summarized the stops the 16-member travel group made in a travel diary.
Sunday, July 24, 2022:
At lunchtime we arrived in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon. At the airport, we were immediately welcomed by high-ranking police officers who helped us enter the country. After we all took a COVID rapid test, we were also welcomed by Fr. Jean de Dieu. A bus took us immediately to our hotel "Maison Palloti", where we were fortified with food and beer from Cameroon. Afterwards we went to the Piarist parish in Yaounde, where we were warmly welcomed. We were able to dance with the young people there for a short time before Johanie gave us a one-hour, detailed introduction on how to properly serve in the altar in Cameroon. Afterwards, a real Cameroonian mass took place, where we could experience how great the joy of life is in African masses. After a small agape we were driven back to the hotel.
Monday,July 25, 2022:
In the morning it rained heavily, but we didn't mind, because we got an introduction to the trip by Fr. Jean de Dieu at 9 o'clock and also certain tasks were distributed. Responsible persons from our travel group were appointed to take care of finances, medical matters, gastronomy, etc. The Austrian and Cameroonian delegations were also given the task of organizing the trip. The Austrian and Cameroonian travel groups introduced themselves to each other and our friends from Cameroon immediately demonstrated typical dances. Afterwards we had the opportunity to change money before we went to the kindergarten of Dr. Angele. There we could learn a lot about the education of small children in Cameroon and also ask questions. It was also possible to play with the children there and to dance with our friends from Cameroon. At 2 p.m. we had dinner in the restaurant "Carnivore", where there were many different variations of meat. As side dishes rice, vegetables and as dessert very good boff-boff (fried doughnut dough) were served. During the meal we also changed our bus, because our old bus had technical problems. After the meal we drove to the Carmelite nuns, where we were welcomed with the song "Alle Vöglein sind schon da". After a brief exchange, Mass was said in the adjacent church, where some of us were allowed to serve as altar servers. Afterwards there was an agape before we went back to the hotel.
Tuesday, July 26, 2022:
On Tuesday, we had breakfast at 8 am. Our original plan then got a little messed up because the streets were closed due to President Macron's state visit. But we didn't let that stop us and by 10am we were already at a Piarist boarding school where we danced and played with the residents. At about 12 o'clock we left Yaounde for Tonga, where we arrived in the early evening. We were warmly welcomed and fed by the local priest Father Eric and the former mayor. Afterwards we drove on to Bafoussam, where - thanks to our cook - we were able to have a second dinner.
Wednesday, July 27, 2022:
After breakfast, we left at 8:25 am to finally get to City of Ubuntu. On the way there we loaded trees of a plant dealer into the bus, which we wanted to plant later in Ubuntu. At shortly before noon we reached Tonga, where we fortified ourselves with boff-boff and had to change to passenger cars, because the way to Ubuntu would not have been manageable for the bus. However, we did not go straight to the City of Ubuntu, but were first allowed to pay our respects to the King of Sanki. His Majesty received us and thanked us for our efforts. Afterwards we went on to Ubuntu. Our gastronomy team prepared rice with vegetables for lunch. The rest of us got a first impression of the City of Ubuntu and also started to remove big branches lying around, cut down trees etc. because we wanted to plant our new trees there. After about four hours we left again at 5:30 pm because we had to be back in Tonga before dark. From Tonga we went back to our hotel in Baffoussam.
Thursday, July 28, 2022:
Um 8.30 Uhr ging es los zum Geburtshaus unseres Pfarrers P. Jean de Dieu. Dort konnten wir seine Verwandten und den Ort kennenlernen, wo er als Kind aufgewachsen ist. Um 12.30 Uhr waren wir dann in der City of Ubuntu und starteten gleich mit der Arbeit. Es wurden Bäume gepflanzt und bewässert und außerdem damit begonnen, ein Regenwasserauffangbecken auszuheben. Zu Mittag gab es dann einen Grenadiermarsch. Um 15 Uhr mussten wir dann recht eilig aufbrechen, da Regen gedroht hat. Die Straße zurück nach Tonga wäre im Regen nicht befahrbar gewesen. Da es dann aber nicht zu regnen begonnen hat, konnten wir in Tonga noch Tennis spielen. Danach hat uns der Bürgermeister von Tonga empfangen. Am Abend haben wir dann eine Seelenmesse besucht, die Father Eric gehalten hat. Wir wurden anschließend daran noch zum Buffet mit Huhn, Rind, Reis, Zwiebel etc. eingeladen, bevor es schließlich mit dem Bus zurück nach Baffoussam ging.
Friday, July 29, 2022:
Already at 7:30 a.m. we set out for the Kingdom of Bamoun, more precisely for the capital Foumban. In Foumban we were allowed to meet the parents of Paul, one of our friends from Cameroon, as they had invited us to their home. Afterwards we went to the Sultan's Palace. There we got a guided tour through the old museum. We got an insight into the history of the kingdom and could admire valuable historical artifacts. Although it was not allowed to enter the throne room, fortunately we could take a look inside. Afterwards, there was a brief opportunity to purchase souvenirs before we saw the king and his entourage on their way to Friday prayers. Afterwards, from 1:15-14 p.m., there was an opportunity to visit the Foumban market, where traditional clothing, food and other items could be purchased. After a short break we drove to Bandjoun - the capital of Bamileke. On the way there Antonia and Raphaela were able to join us, which made everyone very happy. We visited a museum there, which gave us an understanding of the traditions of the Bamileke. Then we visited the great hall of the people before we went back to Baffoussam.
Saturday, July 30, 2022:
Already at 6:30 am we had breakfast that day, because we wanted to leave early for Ubuntu. For Astrid there was a special surprise, because she celebrated her birthday that day. As a little surprise, some of our group prepared pancakes. Our cook also cut up a watermelon especially nice. An hour later we went to the City of Ubuntu. There, trees were planted and watered again, the water basin was further dug, town signs were designed, the interior of the house was painted and the roof of the hut there was repaired with a tarpaulin. For lunch we had boiled potatoes. After an intense day of work in the City of Ubuntu, we went to Tonga for a cultural evening. There we enjoyed the demonstration of various African dances and other cultural performances. We were also allowed to present something of our culture and danced a classical waltz. For dinner we had fish before we drove back to our hotel in Tonga.
Sunday, July 31, 2022:
On Sunday, we left for the parish in Tonga shortly before seven, where a good breakfast awaited us. Then at 8 o'clock there was a 2.5-hour Mass in French in Tonga, which was given by our parish priest. The reading and Our Father were in German and the homily was also translated into English. Finally, at 12:30 p.m., we departed from Tonga for Buea. We had a lunch break in Nkongsamba. During the almost 8-hour drive we slept a lot, discussed and of course sang. The arrival in Buea was quite adventurous because it was raining cats and dogs. Our luggage and some of us were picked up the last bit by the Carmelite sisters there by car. Others had to walk the last bit. The reception at the monastery was in no way marred by the weather, as it was very warm and welcoming. For dinner we got Mexican specialties like burritos and beans etc..
Monday; August 1, 2022:
Some members of our group got up especially early to make egg dishes for all of us for breakfast. At 9:20 a.m., the sisters gave us an introduction on how to set the table properly or how to put on the chasuble correctly. After that, there were two PPP, where the sisters introduced us to the Carmelite Order and their daily life. Immediately afterwards there was the opportunity for a personal exchange, where we were also able to hear one or two vocation stories. After lunch there was a break, which some filled with conversation and games, others with a walk in the rainforest. In the early evening a mass was read, which was followed by a cultural evening where dances from Mexico, Austria and Cameroon were danced.
Tuesday, August 2, 2022:
On Tuesday, we celebrated Mass first thing in the morning, together with a good friend of Fr. Jean de Dieu. On the way from Buea to Kribi, we met the Vicar General in Buea and our parish priest, Antonia and Constantin gave a short TV interview there. On the way to Kribi, we stopped in Duala, where a local Carmelite sister introduced us to her social project. She is currently building a house where prostheses are made. Deeply impressed by the guided tour, we were allowed to fortify ourselves there with bread, eggs, spread, etc., before we finally left for Kribi. In the evening we reached this coastal town, with great anticipation of the sea the next day.
Wednesday, August 3, 2022:
This day was dominated by the desire to finally go to the sea. But before we went to the longed-for beach, there was a river trip on the Tibet to a Pygmy village. There we got some information about this people and could participate in a traditional dance. Afterwards we went back to Kribi by rowing boat. There we drove past the beautiful Lobe waterfall to the beach. First of all, everyone went into the sea and enjoyed the waves. Afterwards some played soccer, while others built a sand castle or just enjoyed the sun. Here we could also taste water from coconuts. On the beach there was also the possibility to buy souvenirs from traveling merchants. At 5 p.m. we had to leave the beach again. Back at the hotel, we had fish for dinner - in keeping with the day.
Thursday, August 4, 2022:
With a three-quarters of an hour delay from 8 to 8:45 a.m., we had breakfast with fish noodles, among other things. Afterwards we drove to the deep sea port in Kribi, which we could visit exceptionally, although we had not applied for permission 24 hours before like it is regulation. It was an interesting experience to visit such a port. Afterwards we went back to the hotel to get our luggage for the way to Yaounde. On the way to the capital we had to say goodbye to Philomena, Hubert and Bernardo in Edea. They were taken back to Buea by the Carmelite Sisters. The rest of the group went back to Yaounde with our reliable bus driver Monsieur Obama, where we arrived at 8:10pm. For dinner we had chicken with vegetables and our excellent cook Douglas again artistically cut a watermelon.
Friday, August 5, 2022:
This was already our last day on the Cameroon trip. In the morning we visited the cathedral there and took a walk over the mountain, where there are many Catholic institutions (chapels, printing house, vocation center, etc.). Afterwards we went to an art market where we could buy wooden figurines, leather bags, magnets, key chains etc. Many took the opportunity here to buy a few last souvenirs. For lunch we went to a restaurant, where grilled food with chips and salad was on the menu for everyone. Afterwards, with a little delay, we went to the Piarists, where our final Mass was celebrated. After Mass, we had the opportunity to visit the Piarist "dormitory" where our pastor also once lived as a student and later was rector. We also learned there that Fr. Jean is a master of Karate Shotokan and we were even able to observe him doing a training sequence. Afterwards, we went back to the Piarist Parish, where our last cultural evening was scheduled. We were allowed to dance our waltz there again, but also to sing the song "Fürstenfeld". We were also able to dance the polka "Bohemian Dream" at the end of the trip. On the way back to the hotel we were able to visit the Bishop of Kumbo, who was to ordain four Piarists as priests the next day. Back at the hotel on the last evening we had pizza and were all declared ambassadors of the City of Ubuntu.
On Saturday we went to the airport early in the morning so that we could catch our flight to Addis Ababa on time. Despite a technical glitch in Yaounde, everything turned out fine and we made our flight to Ethiopia and then to Germany and Vienna on time. Jean de Dieu said goodbye to us in Cameroon as he had booked a later flight. Nonetheless, he managed to get to Vienna before us as he only had to change planes once. Back in Vienna from our enlightening and exciting trip, we were all welcomed by our parents.