I got involved with CFDP because of the mission, Justin, and the caliber of the people he attracts into the organization. I am committed to the vision of empowering youth and creating a self-reliant generation, but it has always been the people who drew me in more deeply. So why should I have been surprised when I met the most incredible group who make up the leadership team in Kumba? Not only was I moved by the time and energy they commit to achieving our mission, but the warmth, integrity and character of each individual exceeded my wildest expectations. After just one week with the staff, listening to their broad vision and ideas for CFDP in Cameroon, I am inspired and have no doubt we are building the strong foundation needed to take CFDP across the country and beyond.
While I was there I had the opportunity to see our leaders in action on the field with the youth, as they led games and soccer drills for the annual end-of- year celebration. Most of the schools with whom we partner came together for a day of fun, sharing and learning from one another. I witnessed firsthand the impressive role-modeling that takes place with our leaders and the youth on the soccer field. Their connection and commitment to the teens was palpable. it was obvious they care deeply about the well-being and futures of the students and the students feel this. Throughout the day the youth chanted or spoke of themes of discipline, hard work, goal-setting, respect, using their voices and team effort. It was crystal clear that CFDP is having a powerful impact on the lives of these kids, their families and their communities.
Our fearless leader, Justin, or K Man, as he is known in Kumba, has truly mastered the art of living among the Cameroonians with ease and grace, even speaking the local tongue, Pidgin. He is loved and respected beyond words and on quite a grand scale. No matter where he goes in town, there are greetings for K Man and an eagerness to be in his light.
And Kumba – ahhhh. An intoxicating web of chaos, the constant reverberation of the African beat, unparalleled hospitality, motorbike dodging, daily power outages, afternoon downpours during the rainy season, agenda item #11 (sharing a beer together), ewang, endole, eru and fufu, peanuts, oranges, papaya and pineapple and most memorable – the emanating joy and warm hearts that abound. It is impossible to go just once. I surely will return………..
Written by Kim Cermak