The 10 months prior to our departure was often tough and there were times when I wondered if we were doing the right thing. At those moments of indecision I was typically inspired by one of you with an act of generosity, words of support or a commitment to actually travel.
What you have achieved is remarkable.
- 90 young primary school students will be taught today in clean and beautifully painted classrooms and for the first time in their life will have a set of school books that will help to improve their ability to learn. 3 more classrooms are considerably enhanced.
- The community of Batoufam (12,000+ people) have an advanced learning computer room, complete with internet access that will provide them both education and business opportunities..
- Hundreds of orphans have new clothes and many a small present to open on Christmas day, maybe their first ever teddy bear..
- A hospital has running water, toilets, showers and considerably improved sanitation conditions. Less people will die and/or need to endure inhumane conditions. I believe a baby lives today because we were there. . .
And most importantly, many hundreds if not thousands of Cameroonian people who suffer terribly and have little hope of escaping extreme poverty now know that there are people outside of their little world who love and care for them. That in itself is a wonderful gift you have given.
I know it feels at times that we are battling the impossible yet we have to start somewhere. RippleZoo will be returning to Cameroon next year at the same time to continue the work. Though a bit battered and bruised right now I am confident I will make it there. I don’t expect any of you to return as you have already done plenty, though if you do decide to travel, at a later date, you will be most welcome. We will always be the pioneers, the first to take on the challenges of the inaugural trip.
And finally. WELL DONE YOU. Be very proud of yourself. I am sure the precious time you have given, costs you have contributed and income you have lost will be rewarded in many ways. For me, new and deeper friendships is already a significant enhancement to my life.
Au revoir my friends, see you all soon.