"Information and Communication Technology" - Education in Guzang/Batibo, Cameroon

Stefan G. from Ludwigshafen at the river Rhine teached the sixth grade in ICT (Information and Communication Technology) at a private “Primary School” and at a state-run “Primary School” in the village of Guzang in West Cameroon. In addition to the official ICT lessons, he together with another volunteer set up a sports program for the students with and worked one or two times a week in a “tree nursery” (for reforestation) of a local NGO.

He has documented his experiences in detailed newsletters (links to nr. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 – in German language). Below a little bit of the work in the “tree nursery” is presented  …

… from the report of 12/20/2014:

´In the “tree nursery” we have been able to support well the work over the last few weeks. The dry season has started intensively: the temperatures rise during the day and fall heavily, rainfall falls as well as not at all, the streets become dustier, the insect population has grown and the vegetation slowly changes their color. The young trees in the “tree nursery” attract a lot of attention. Every day the trees need to be watered, mainly Mr. Ema who lives closest takes over the responsibilty to do this.  It is a really exhausting work to pour the round 3,000 trees (more exact numbers will come soon) by hand. Now at the peak of the dry season that should be done even twice a day. To reduce the effort, we have built a sun/shade roof to protect the trees from the strong sun rays and to keep the moisture like a kind of greenhouse.

Only local materials were used, from the forest or “bush” as it is called here. Among other things, 2 species of bamboo (a slightly thicker species, and a slightly thinner one) and palm branches. These were carefully and sustainably picked out – to take care not to damage the respective plant.

We started by digging holes for the thicker bamboo poles that serve as supports. The holes were each about 30 – 40 cm deep. After the bamboo had been rammed into the ground, the holes were crushed with small stones and earth. Meanwhile, Mr. Ema started to prepare these bamboo poles with the machete so that we could put on these other (thinner) bamboo poles. As the cornerstones had been finished, we went on to build the cross bracing. From the palm branches, “natural ropes” were cut out to fix the cross brace. Finally, the palm branches were simply placed on the framework as shade donors. The whole construction is really pretty stable. I used to hang myself on a crossbar for a test (the construction could stand it). The roof is now almost finished, the work should be completed this week.

The complete “tree nursery”, seen from above:

All helpers of the “tree nursery” work voluntarily, which I find totally admirable.

I asked Frederick (the leader of “tree nursery”) what is additionally needed urgently and he answered that a huge relief would be a water pump. The effect would be huge and would save so much work and time. Next year in March, the trees will “leave” their school and be planted in various places to their final destination. Nevertheless the work of the “tree nursery” will continue. The dream is to enlarge the “tree nursery”, there is enough space, and the location on the river is ideal. I also intend to finish a flyer about this and send it to you, my sports club, my former school to collect donations for this project. You will know exactly where your money is spend, and you will contribute to fight actively against climate change. Following the motto of “Earth Day Network 2013”:

„Plant a tree, heal the earth, save your life“.

The pump including the hoses costs about 300 euros. So if you still have some Christmas money left, or if you want to make a great birthday present to me or the “tree nursery” with a donation, you are very welcome. More detailed information will be available in the flyer that I want to finish as soon as possible.’´

… and further from the report from 2/14/2015:

What is the “tree nursery”? (answered by Frederick, the leader of “tree nursery”):

´The “tree nursery” in Batibo started in March 2013 as a Joint initiative between volunteers from Germany and Volunteers from Nature and Environmental Rehabilitation Conservation Organization (NERCO) in Cameroon. The program was initiated for reasons to combat climate change at local community levels, to restore missing unique tree species that are in extinction and also to enhance biodiversity and protect water resource system in local communities”

The current stock of trees looks like this (we do not know of all the trees of the Latin names of some so only the “local name” is available):

3310 Mahoghani
1340 Sinfonia
260 Fenom
100 orange 
100 cacao
50 plums (sour, not sweet)
25 bush mango
10 bitter cola
7 white “monkey colour”
5 red “monkey colour”

Altogether there are around 5,200 trees in our “tree nursery”. They all grow in small black plastic bags. So they can form a good network of roots and can then be easily transported when needed.´

Note in own thing: The cost of the purchase and installation of the irrigation pump of the “tree nursery” was taken over by us as hk advance.