UAC Volunteer's Testimonies
Pedro Freitas, 1970, Lisbon, IT Technician (May to July 2015)
It is important to be ready for all eventualities that might occur in an experience like this, a different country with different conditions and culture. It is also important to understand that things in Africa work differently, but they actually work. Despite the fact that infrastructures are still not as good as we would like, the people from UAC were exceptional in the help they gave us, they really make us feel at home.
The projects I worked were only defined when I arrived at Molyko, but I was always free to work on whatever I wanted and at my own pace. In these 3 months it was possible to: create a new site for the UAC, create an offline e-learning platform to allow access to some offline content in remote villages (like, cartoons, wikipedia, etc); create a software application for management of UAC schools and with help of friends and family, it was possible to bring around 230 Kg of school equipment, computers, toys and clothes for children. It was possible to handover the money for the sponsorship of three children for a one year education at Jamadianle school (raised by colleagues).
I would highlight four people: Mr. Orock, a natural leader and a natural communicator. He silenced the protests of an audience of about two hundred people showing them lettuce…Unforgettable!; Mr. Thomas, the man who is always “around” to fix almost everything and that made the “Volunteer Delight”; Mr. Daniel, the local Geek, the man of a thousand ideas and a million ideals and who likes to argue about everything…; At last, but not the least: Mrs. Elsa, the main reason for me to come on the first place. One day she will win a World Press Photo. Without all these people, nothing would have been the same. More than a pleasure, it was an honor to work with all of them, although with such different backgrounds, it was easy to work with them for common objectives. Here I learned to work with many difficulties, things that were unthinkable in Portugal. But once you have the right spirit, the hard things become easy!
I will carry a lot back home. I will miss the fact that people were extremely polite, always smiling and (strangely) conservative. I’m not saying goodbye to Cameroon because I’m sure I’ll be back. And I will take the whole country in my heart and mind.
Buea is a safe and friendly place to get to know and we quickly felt at home here. It was also an ideal location to base other travels around Cameroon from. The beach at nearby Limbe is easily accessible, Douala is only an hour away with links everywhere else in the country, and of course Mount Cameroon is on your doorstep (and well-worth the climb!). The volunteer house was comfortable and the Orock family took very good care of us providing us with meals and always being flexible and catering to our needs. For me, working with the children was the best part, but no matter what, when you work at UAC you are immediately connected to a network of friendly, informative people who will ensure that you get the most out of your stay in Cameroon.