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12 April 2013

The Maroua Experiance

Hi everyone

After the second very exhausting day in Maroua, I must say we have learnt so much and partially experienced, very partially what the locals experience on a daily basis, very hot weather – 40 degrees and more, of dry hot air, and very little water to drink. Although we had bottled water you feel parched all the time.
There is a constant fatigue when working in such an environment, hard to concentrate, hard to think.

We visited several projects in the area of Maroua. Maroua is the capital of the north of Cameroon with 350,000 inhabitants. It is a quiet and calm city.
Thierry and I getting on our hosts' car
From the street view it seems that most of the population's income is either from selling fruit and vegetables, ok that’s a given, but then unexpectedly,  it seems that every second person is an entrepreneur for the local MTN, Orange or Camtel selling mobile recharge phone cards.  The second phenomena is selling fuel in 1 1/2 liter water bottles for 300-500CFA (about $1) per bottle.  These stalls are everywhere on the street.

The mobile call center
 
the fuel center

Our main goal was to visit the local village projects. We visited the villages of Massakala and Kalliao both are intended for a drip irrigation project.

The first is in form of a PPP – Private public partnership and the second under the Millennium Village development program of the UNDP. It was great to see how the people of Kalliao have implemented the hygiene part of the project and wash the water basins before filling them with clean water and take off their shoes before entering the water tap area. It is a great achievement on the part of the water and sanitation committee of the village which was devised under the UNDP and Cameroon government initiative.

The ladies of Massakal, who will farm in the plots, the 2 ha were divided into 4 plots which will grow carrots, tomatoes, cabbage and more and each team will be responsible for one plot, each has their sign.

 

Drip irrigation is very important for this terribly arid land, currently the only agricultural yield comes from the basic rice, maize or cassava grown in the rainy season. But these are grown sporadically and in very traditional methods with very hard work and very low yield barely enough for feeding and definitely not for income. The drip irrigation which Netafim is implemeting allows for growing garden crops (onions, tomatoes, cabbage etc.) in the dry season which allow for income, growth and then capacity building.

The villages are quite beautiful









Inside a house, with a matress and a storage of the cotton yield



The wonderful Mandaree mountains with large Granit rocks.

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