Of drive shafts and parent support

On Thursday 10th Prof Peter Hesseling and I travelled from Nkwen, Bamenda (Baptist HQ) to Kumbo (Banso Baptist Hospital). This is a journey which used to take 3 and a half hours because the road has 4 dirt sections.

Last year Paul Biya, the President of Cameroon, promised to tar the road and work has already begun!!  A large section has been widened and “regraded” – ie. the craters filled in and covered with newly compacted soil – but not yet tarred. We sped along and would have reached Banso in 2 hours but for a broken drive-shaft about 5 km from Kumbo. We waited only 35 minutes before another hospital vehicle came to Our rescue. Beats the AA?

Yesterday, Saturday, we invited parents from the newly formed Ndop/Babessi Parents Group to meet us at Banso. 5 parents and 6 children (all healthy survivors) came. They are all poor subsistence farmers (2 are illiterate) but active in supporting one another and proactive in organising themselves – with our encouragement. They can recognise Burkitt’s lymphoma and will tell “new” parents that this is NOT witchcraft:  “Go to the Baptist hospital where you can get free treatment”. I hope that they will also comfort bereaved parents. They have sold dolls knitted by a lady from my church and raised (for them) a considerable sum of money. We have provided a cash float to enable them to buy and sell palm oil at profit The money raised will be placed in a group Credit Union account, and used to send new parents/patients to the hospital and maybe also to provide food for them. Remember that African hospitals do not provide food for patients – let alone parents or guardians. When I can no longer come to Cameroon this is the sort of project that I will be glad to have played part in establishing.

Paul Wharin

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