• A Train Heading North

    June 24th 2016. CAC SDL coach Charlie Crawford writes about working with Breaking Ground in Ngaoundere, Cameroon. This program was supported by our partner Taiji Brand Group in 2016. Taiji have provided world-class branding and communications services to clients for almost 30 years. They have brought CAC’s work to life through our Annual Reviews, this website and our various logos and we want to thank them greatly for that.

    Picture a train heading north. To reach CAC’s next program required a 14+ hour rail trip through countryside and jungle. Ngaoundere, Cameroon has many things going for it. One would be the appreciation that comes from arriving after a long journey. Another has to be how the region is built around a boulder topped mountain that gave the town its name, strangely accurately meaning ‘belly button’.

    Our partner this week, Breaking Ground, is a Cameroon based NGO that specializes in using Football for Social Impact to address issues of Gender Inequality and Female Empowerment. Paul Zangue, Director of Breaking Ground, joined throughout the week providing camaraderie and much needed translation into French. After some weeks off-field, jumping back into work in a French speaking, primarily Muslim community was just what the doctor ordered.

    ‘Eggs-Spaghetti’ became a morning staple after realizing that a friendly street vendor was making vegetable omelettes with noodles and throwing it onto a French baguette for less than a dollar. France has influenced Cameroon to a strong degree. Nowhere (in my opinion) is that influence more reliably expressed than in a majority of meals coming with a crusty baguette. Someone once told me that my blog posts tend to revolve around food. I’d freely admit that. What experience isn’t highlighted by the meals you share and the people you share them with?

    On the final day of our program the public field we were using as a venue became the grounds for an impressive cooking competition. With a dozen bright colored tents and scores of chefs preparing their stations, our space for the week took on a new vitality. Only slightly disappointed in not being asked to judge this competition, Paul and I set off for the station and moved on to the next program.

    Picture a train heading South.

    IMG_5155