Caught between Two Wars
Over the past four years, I have painfully witnessed my country of Cameroon be ravaged by a steadily escalating war which has displaced thousands of civilians internally, and into neighboring countries. As the president of Community Green Engagement (COMGREEN), I and my colleagues have strived to ensure the communities which we serve not only have sustainable access to food, but also engage communities on existential climate change issues.
In the current period, we have been forced to watch, helpless to prevent the entire destruction of villages because of the fighting. Many flee to places such as Bamenda, where Community Green Engagement has its headquarters. run to the major towns like bamenda where we have our headquarters. Unrelenting gunfire and the sincere risk of interpersonal violence by warring groups makes it nearly impossible for us to work.
Further, due to the deadly clashes which have mostly been in the rural areas, farmers and ranchers have abandoned their properties leading to drastic food shortages. Now, the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are upon us as well. Though we have few confirmed cases of virus infection, like too many countries throughout Africa and around the world we struggle with rigorous medical testing for the disease. Additionally, the police and military are seizing the opportunity offered by the pandemic to further restrict civilian movement by enacting curfews, and deep fines for those who are outside of their home without official permission, or subjectively valid reasons. Some have been beaten for these reasons as well.
With the support of the Goldin Institute. Community Green Engagement is launching a FaceBook fundraising drive to secure foodstuffs and livestock for Bamenda and the surrounding areas we serve.
It is a very difficult time for us here in Cameroon, but Community Green Engagement continues to offer resources, training and hope. Before the fighting in Cameroon, between Anglophone and Francophone factions, COMGREEN maintained a beekeeping project, gardening, and oversaw the construction of a community center through regular civilian-focused consultations, Many stakeholders came together to discuss our most pressing problems and collectively come up with solutions. We pray the time will come again soon when we can resume such inspiring outcomes, again.