Sunday, November 30, 2008

Where? Why? What?

When I told colleagues that I am going on a short placement under the auspices of Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) to Cameroon, a frequent reaction has been to ask where exactly that is. So a brief explanation follows. The Republic of Cameroon, French: République Camerounaise, is a unitary republic of central and western Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Compared with other African countries, Cameroon enjoys political and social stability, I’m glad to say.

As things stand, I will be working in Bamenda, in the North-West province, training people in coaching and mentoring skills.

I think a few linguistic challenges lie ahead. The major spoken languages are French and English but a multitude of more than 200 ethnic languages are also in circulation, with various tribes populating the country.

I am very much aware that I have a lot to learn about the country and its people. It's exciting to be facing these new challenges.

I must say how impressed I have been with the quality of VSO staff I have met so far. I only hope I won't let them down!

Now for the 'Why?' I have a few noble aims, I think, but I am sure I'll learn a lot, seeing how training and development is undertaken in a very different society.

These are my first thoughts. Let's see if I am sufficiently self-disciplined to keep this up!