24 April 2013

WSA - Our strategic Partner

This is the last leg of our very fruitful and exciting journey.
We are in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. 4 years ago, I never heard of Burkina Faso and never dreamed to visit here, Ouagadougou sounded to me like a name from the fairytales and something that I would never be able to pronounce.

But I am here and enjoying every minute.
Burkina is the home of around 15M people, mostly arid land. The Capital Ouagadougou although very hot (we arrived at 37 degrees C), is a very organized and a structured city. On our one day off on this whole journey, we decided to walk around town – 37 degrees, I remind you and we saw the very impressive "Grand Marche" the Grand Mosque and the beautiful music museum (although only from the outside) since it was under construction. Ouagadougou although, hot and dry, has a vibrant city life, construction, stores and more, very different to Yaoundé and other capitals we have ben to.




Yesterday we had our first working day with WSA - Water and Sanitation for Africa, www.wsafrica.org provide continental leadership in the development of innovative and sustainable approaches, evidence-based policy advice, and advocacy services in the provision of water, sanitation and hygiene services in Africa. WSA now presents a strong hope in the search for sustainable water and sanitation services for the hundreds of millions of Africans without access to basic sanitation and drinking water services. Established by Africans, owned by Africans and located in Africa, WSA possesses a clear understanding of the challenges with water, sanitation and hygiene on the continent.

WSA is our strategic partner on sustainability issues and solutions and we are working together in writing a sustainability manual to be distributed among government agencies, NGOs or private companies, every contributing entity, should have free access to this information.

The team with whom we worked for the last two days on diffrent projects and ideas
the amount of ideas and cross enrichment was a fantastic process, this is the part I love most about my job
Avi, Patrick, Emmanual, Oliver, Ornit, Andrews
Tomorrow we travel Toussana, a 5-8 hour drive from Ouagadugou, not sure yet, but this is supposed to be one of the more beautiful areas of Burkina and this will be the home of our Livestock business for youngsters project.

More details to come


19 April 2013

Agreement between the Chamber of Agriculture of Cameroon and WaterWays

We just finished the signing ceremony between the Cameroon chamber of agriculture and WaterWays.

The president of the Chamber Mr. Janvier Mongui Sossomba and I discussed the different potential and vision of what should be done. The National Television station covered the story. We are all very satisfied with much work to do and many people counting on this to form into a sound model for the improvement of lives of the people of Cameroon.
The agreement says that we will establish an assistance platform for farmers, ogether with a local firm, called IB-real consulting headed by Samuel Mandeng in the form of seminars for business and innovative technologies, assistance with building a proper business plan for potential investors, coaching farmers on better techniques, conservation of water and proper use.

The idea is to move from growing food to growing an income and a business.

We welcome technological companies with relevant innovations to contact us for Cameroonian opportunities.
We also welcome investors to check with us the agriculture potential in Cameroon.
The president of the Chamber and I – discussing, signing and posing



Our wonderful experience in NKUV


Today is our last day in Cameroon, on our way to Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso. Although we have 3 meetings scheduled, maybe more, (there is always a last minute and unexpected here, which is actually quite fun), but for that reason I have some time and updating you and this time I hope no typos and spelling mistakes.

So, so much to tell about NKUV,
So, so many stories about NKUV, first of all NKUV is a small village around 1500 people about one and a half hours from Kumbo around 150-200K population, in the northwest of Cameroon, which is about 8 hours from the capital of Yaounde. The view is majestic, as Avi likes to call it, beautiful green and flourishing mountains with water falls and breathe taking sites. Kumbo is distinct for its ethnicity these are the people of the Lamso language.

Picture of view and church in Kumbo.

the church is celebrating 100 years this year
Our partners in this area are LWDGC – Life Water Development Group Cameroon, headed by Peter Njodzeka. See their work : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdQOVDOBJb0&feature=share& list=UUdh7HMltMPq9hvmE1zKJICA
Joined us from LWDGC was: Fi the village project coordinator and responsible for hygiene and health and Gills the development manger.

Picture of team near our hotel in Kumbo
We arrived in Nkuv at 09:00 and were greeted by the school children and their teacher, it was very moving, then we gathered in the meeting area and their the children and hosts sang and danced for us, this too was very beautiful and moving because while the girls were dancing the said the words " we are coming to welcome our visitors".
Picture of dance – I will try to download the video, once I am back

Then the meeting started, a wonderful welcome speech in English, by a lady from the village council, her words of welcome included the fact that we have come with an idea to be discussed with the villagers, approved by them and then to see how everyone can pitch in and make happen, this was a wonderful start for us, because we have started this project with the number one factor of 'the holistic Methodology" which we created saying build community buy-in and preplanning with community participation. Number one step – being implemented as we speak……
Pictures of meeting


Later one I introduced the community to the VEC – Village Eco Center, which as we spoke turned into the VBC – Village business Center. This center will be a place of community gathering, will enough electricity and a production and service area. We came with about 10 ideas, they came up with 10 additional ideas and together we decided on 3 major issues. A water treatment solution – regardless of the VBC; communal electricity and Production area.
We were all delighted and now it is time to do the work.

the village

Here we come to we want the first pilot VBC to be funded by crowd funding, we will offer contributors a lottery that 2 people will be able to join this journey once it gets on the ground – many more details later. Share this link to as many people as you can to start mobilizing the hype.

We left after they have offered us FU FU , the maize – "sticky rice" dish and engama engama, a very tasty spinach dish with palm oil.

That’s it for now, join us later.

Yours Ornit

18 April 2013

Some more pictuers from Meyomessi

the inside of a house in Azem

 a newborn sleepig soundly under a
Mosquito net, she was so sweet

 the "chicken"
Avi and mysef with the Mayor of Meyomessi

I read the blog after I sent it, please excuse the terrible spelling mistakes and missing words, I wrote it at 2:30 in the moring and obviously was not at my best.

write to you soon


The delicious chicken of Meyomessi – Or was it?

yesterday we woke up at 6 o'clock and were on our way to Meyomessi at 07:00.

Meyomessi is a region with a cluster of 25 villages, it is in the south of Cameroon, a totally different ecological area than Maroua or the northwest. It is an equatorial forest area.
We were introduced to the livestock project, as an income generating business for women,  the fantastic  cooperative structure they have built with all the find programs they plan to have there and especially the dreams and hopes of people, to have a steady income, to have a steady water system, to have a bottled water plant – the have marvelous natural springs and to make the area the CACAO capital of Cameroon, we hope to become part of all of these.

cacao nursery

 the children at Azem

In one of the villages, called Azem of the Bulu people,  they served us lunch, and you probably are asking and "you dared eat"?, well first of all, duty calls and so do manners , so I really felt that I couldn't say no, so the plan was just to taste out of manners and not eat everything. But the chicken served, was cooked well and was very tasty and our hosts made sure it was cooked properly and hygienically. while eating I notice that the skin of the chicken was at least two time as thick as regular chicken, and Avi noticed that he bone structure was diffrent, so finally we asked, what kind of chicken this is, our host's answer was, this is no chicken this is porcupine which we eat on a regular basis here. It is called Ngomb, I apologize to my veggie/vegan family and friends, I didn't mean to eat porcupine, but that is what happened.

This was not the only food experience we had here, yesterday Hesein took us to a local market restaurant were we ate with our hand a local dish called Gniri – it is a sticky maize starch (the closest I can compare is to sticky rice) and Bascoje, Folere and Boko, different beef stews with dried gumbo (bamia), fresh gumbo and a vegetable which is like spinach. It was very delicious and our stomach passed the experience well.




the meeting with the agrical minster
the meeting at the chamber

Next time, I will tell you about NKUV, this must be elaborated on further
All the best from Yaoundé

16 April 2013

Soooooooo Busy

Hi everyone,

it been so hectic here, i can't even begin to explain. but I can tell you that in the last few days we went to NKUV, 9 1/2 hours drive each way, had meetings in the various ministries with good outcomes, meaning that i have been staying up all night writing proposals, agreements and such until 3am in the morning and again it is morning and I'm soon off to another meeting.

but I must share with you some of the highlights and that is the welcome we recived in NKUV.
we went there with LWDG - Life water development group, headed by peter

will tell you all about it next time, but will share some pictuers of the greatings (could not upload vidieo, weak internet.

the village assembaly in which we presented our idea "the village business center" and got the villagers feedback on how they would like it and we agreed on how to countinue and work load.

 the head of village council, reciving the VBC design
 Avi, Peter and I, on the hills of NKUV
 the greeting of the children, would have been much better if could show you a video, but alas.....

write to you soon

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.

09 April 2013

Good Bye Ethiopian Hello Turkish

It 12:00 o'clock here in Yaounde we just arrived at the hotel, nice hotel, friendly , has Wi-Fi…..we had a seven hour flight from Istanbul, funny enough I am not exhausted, tomorrow we fly to Maroua in the morning and leave the hotel at 06:00, have to go to bed already.

But first some updates

The flight was really good, new plan, very comfortable seats, good food, I am one of those that like airline food, what can I say , it runs in the family, my grandmother was known for her love of planes and flights.

We had a stopover in Istanbul and were told that Turkish has just added many more African destinations to their schedule. In August 2012, when we flew to Niamey, it took us 22 hours, this time only 12 hours to Yaounde including a 3 hour stopover in Istanbul. Apparently they fly to Lagos, Benin, Niamey, Lome , doula, almost all west and east Africa, making it very appropriate airline for Israelis flying to Africa. So goodbye Ethiopian hello Turkish.

Our stopover in Istanbul was also good the airport is fine,, duty-free expensive, Wi-Fi – toyed with us, it says free but we could not get any connection.
But what I really want to share with you is the beautiful pictures that Avi took as the sun set over the Sahara

and with this I bid you good night, we will probably not have connection in the next two days, but a lot of updates to talk to you then.

07 April 2013

The excitement is mounting up

Tomorrow is the big day and we are taking off to Cameroon and Burkina Faso, the trip once again is going to be a long one, many things to do, many partners to meet and the preparations are way under way and the excitement is mounting up.
Some admins (for your information):

Visa was quite simple this time, it is a simple procedure to get a visa to Burkina Faso, the honorary consul, in Herzeliya, is very hospitable, you send them the form, schedule a meeting and within 15 minutes you have the visa and not so expensive only 250NIS.

Cameroon, a bit more expensive $400 NIS and a bit longer, but hospitable none the less.
This time we are flying Turkish airlines – they have a direct flight from Istanbul to many places in Africa, in our case both the Yaounde (capital of Cameroon) and Ouagadougou (capital of Burkina Faso). Convenient times, you leave Israel around 12:00 noon and reach Africa around at night.

It's going to be HOT HOT HOT in the 30's in Yaoundé with rain and even hotter in Maroua 39-40c.

We will be reaching Yaoundé at 12:00 midnight and are taking an early morning flight to Maroua. Maroua is the capital of the Far North Region of Cameroon, (bordering with Mali) it’s a predominant Muslim area, very arid, and in great need of water and agricultural solutions.

In Maroua we are going to see a drip irrigation project – in French "Gouta Gout", in which we plan to add the sustainability factor and to assist to take the project regional. Cross your fingers for us!

I hope to bring you some interesting pictures of the people and villages we plan to meet.