Wednesday, April 17, 2013

RUDEC Extension in livelihood and conservations support in rural areas

One of the main objectives of RUDEC Cameroon is to empower communities in the rural settings on income generating projects and beekeeping is one of the projects that since 2002 carried out trainings with Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) on beekeeping from Bayang-Mbo Sanctuary, 2011 it was extended to Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary and in 2013, we are in the Takamanda Mone  Landscape Project to train communities where gorilla guardians are from on beekeeping.

The RUDEC team of consultants led by Joshua Chiamba left Belo to meet with a WCS car from Limbe that will take us to the training ground. We got off at 5a.m and reach
Bamenda but 9am since we had to wait for the taxi always to full. Reaching the counter, Joshua had forgotten his identification card behind. He left Bamenda for Belo back again to get the identification card. Wisely as he was, he had to call his wife to send it through a taxi that he would collect on a nearby park at Bambui. He got it by midday and was back at the bus station that we had to take to Mamfe.

The road network from Bamenda through Bali, Batibo then Wedikum that has a boundary with South West region has a good tarred road by a Chinese company that we couldn’t have the name. From the high mountains we could see palm trees that started indicating to us that people around produce palm oil. We
reached by 3:45pm and were welcome by the great heat and all people saw us as strangers in the land.

We went on a motorbike to the WCS and Forestry rest house that we were welcome by a young girl. She opened the doors and let us in and we left our luggage and hurry out to look around town. Soon we saw coconuts at a roundabout and since we don’t have them at Belo, each of us had one each, break them and asked for a knife that we clean them, wash and started eating. We walked into town and bought handkerchiefs to clean off the waste water from our faces. We saw meet with the WCS project manager that was coming in from Limbe that same day. We left and look for food ate and make plans for the next day trip.

The next day we took off at 8am and got food in town and started our adventure into the forest were every village that we pass, children shouted “Wildlife” and when you shake hands to say bye bye, they are very happy. We approach a river that does not has a bridge and I was wandering how we saw cross. The WCS car which is a Land Cruiser of Japanese origin made its way toward the floor of the stream. The skillful driver(Victor) used his experience and we crossed the river. There we got words like “Akwaya motor di swim wata”(Akwaya car swim in water).We all made prayers that rains should not fall so that the river
should not over flood. The road was Bumpybut with 4x4 car we move on and on until we reach the training village of Mbu. Here children and adults like photos especially when you take and show them how they look.
The participants arrive too on this day and we ate and drink palm wine together. The village people gave us food again and welcome us into their village. This village could have about 250 inhabitants all of them hunters and farmers. Most of the houses here thatched and beds mould with mud to for a bed and they add a mat to it and it’s very comfortable to sleep. Here in this village men and women watch in the streams at different sections.
We started training on 3 day with all 10 villages working with gorillas attending. We had a total of 29 participants. We access indigenous knowledge about beekeeping and went with the training and at each stage we had practical. At the end of four days effective training, each participant went home with a hive, bee suits and working tools to help them train other people in their village and make more hives.

The field manager of WCS took the participants to take care with equipments and when the reach their various villages should present them to their chiefs and let them decide where to keep them safe. He also told
them that all the equipments are a sign of encouragement and they should show love by training others in their villages so that they could also use the materials donated by WCS and CMS.

At the end of the training period we had a party with the participants and the villages. We had palm wine and “disco”(music) played by village chairman is the richest person in the village. Many people in the village said this was more than the Christmas parties in the village. This also means they villagers were happy.

We hope to continue to train these communities when we have the means and partners that have interest in beekeeping should join us in our struggles as we strive to tackle conservations in our little corner.

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