Tags: Cameroon, Helah, HIV, HIV/AIDS, Vital Voices, women, women's rights
It hasn’t really hit me yet that I’m going to West Africa or that I’ll be there for three months. The closer departure dates comes, however, the more real it becomes and the more nervous I get.
The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity, planning and travel. During the hustle of graduation, moving out and making last min visits, I have also been in the last phases of confirming the logistics of the upcoming trek to Cameroon. Buying the ticket, talking to on-site contacts, securing a visa and lodging in Douala… most of which I have at least a handle on. But it wouldn’t be worth it without some last minute confusion, right?
I’d like to thanking you for all of your support and generosity. You’ve been so wonderful and I know you’ll keep me going all summer! While it hasn’t quite sunk in just yet, I can’t explain how excited I am to begin working in Cameroon. I’ll be traveling with another AP Peace Fellow, Johanna Paillet, and we will be splitting our time between two Vital Voices sponsored NGOs in Douala. The first half of the summer will be with the Sandaga Market Women’s Association (AMA), an organization committed to the promotion and advocacy of an improved taxation framework and HIV/AIDS sensitization for women in the market place. We will be working with Nku’mu Fed Fed for the second half, a program devoted to breaking cultural barriers and misconceptions of HIV/AIDS and advancing disease awareness.
Having worked with Vital Voices Global Partnership, a women empowerment and advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C., since October, I have heard about the progress AMA and Nku’mu Fed Fed have made in Cameroon from a distance. Now I have the opportunity to go work in the field with people I have only read about, and I can’t wait!