Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bali, Bafut and beyond

On Saturday I tried to get to Bali because there was talk of a music festival there. Not understanding how to get there, I failed, and spent a lazy day on the compound. On Sunday, after visiting the nearby Nkwen Baptist Church (about 600 people present and two choirs) I was pleased to meet two ladies from Vienna, Gerda and Bettina who were in the area to visit a project their organisation had been sponsoring – in Bali.

They had a local driver who had brought them from Yaounde, and thus it was that I was offered a ride to visit the Bali Women’s Union of Farming Groups (BAWUFAG). This group of women was being funded by the Viennese ladies who wanted to check that it really exists. Clearly it does, and funding will continue for literacy and numeracy for knitting and crotcheting classes and more. They women sang to us visitors, “Women are building a nation here” and songs in the Mungaka language before we left.

We went on with local people from the project to an audience with the local traditional ruler, the Fon of Bali. The Fon had lived and studied in Germany, so he spoke German fluently. He spoke German to me and the Austrian ladies. Indeed the entire audience took place bilingually in German and Mungaka. Protocol tips to anyone intending to visit a Fon. Don’t cross your legs in his presence, don’t try to shake his hand; instead greet him with a slow rhythmic clap.

I’ve made a few more visits to a range of organisations to discuss mentoring and coaching issues. A visit with my colleagues Eric and Paul along dirt roads to a youth organisation in Bafut was a particularly stimulating one. They offered us lunch, and for the first time I ate – and enjoyed – yam in pepper soup.
The pictures are of:
Interior of the Fon's palace
A local butterfly - I know I won't win any prizes for wildlife photography!
Artwork on a wall at Nkwen
The Baptist Church at Nkwen

1 comment:

Elinor Chapman said...

I'll remember those useful tips when I meet a Fon.