Beryl’s “Kid Zone” Trip to Cameroon

April 2011

         Beryl was contacted by our good friend, Carolyn, to step in to help with a WA team headed to Africa to assist with children’s activities at the translation center located in Yaounde, Cameroon.   Kid Zone is a WA outreach that provides a full children’s program, sort of VBS and Day Camp combined, while the parents are participating in a group conference that typically takes place in groups every two years.  The importance of both parents being free to attend for training, planning and fellowship is great.    Meanwhile the kids benefit by interacting with other children since many reside in remote areas.  Here is her report

Dear Friends, I'm still savoring the uniqueness of my trip to Cameroon after returning three weeks ago. Here are a few reflections on my time in Yaoundé. Cameroon is shaped like a rooster, and its inhabitants speak two national languages--French and English. Also, at least 50 Bantu languages plus many other languages need translation in this small country. Cameroon is situated on the west coast of Africa, where the coastline takes a 90-degree turn to the south. Just above the equator, it contains tropical rain forests, steamy weather and sudden thunderstorms with torrential rain.When  translators head to Yaoundé, the capital city, every three months, they hold meetings to discuss company and linguistic business. They need volunteers to help keep their children occupied. That was my job--I volunteered along with a team of five to put on Kid Zone--VBS for about 50 kids. We trained for two days at WA headquarters in Orlando, FL and then flew via Paris to Yaounde, with three large duffel bags full of craft supplies and playground toys.We taught VBS with a "Son Surf Beach Bash" theme. It's great fun to learn words and motions to 10 or 11 songs, and then sing them with enthusiastic kids. J-, the song with hand jive, proved to be a favorite. Lots of singing, puppets, stories in class time, super crafts and large-muscle outdoor games kept the kids busy from 8:15-4:30 daily.  The two-hour lunch break gave us time to zip over by car to the main compound for lunch--mostly American-style food, cooked  with  flair by an African staff. Other WA volunteers made us feel welcome. Jacqui,  a former music teacher and vice principal, cooked dinners and provided breakfast making each day. She also planned a picnic for 200, which included sloppy joes, potato salad and coleslaw. We and a lot of other volunteers helped peel and chop potatoes and boiled eggs, slice cabbage, and open bottles of Coke and Fanta. A good time!Things I learned: Djama  djama (huckleberry leaves) and fou fou (white corn meal), the national dish, tastes a lot like spinach with pinches of corn meal mush.Lizards that look like mini-dinosaurs are just as afraid of you as you are of them.You can find a Chinese restaurant wherever you go around the world.It's rewarding to enjoy kids and their enthusiasm. These kids, I think, feel set free when back among people of their own culture. They loved playing in the rain and running barefoot over the grass. Thanks be to Him who provides safety, courage, good friends, patience, and perseverance--and fun times-- whenever i travel with Him. His mercies never fail.          

Blessings--              Beryl


© Robert Carpenter 2017