Countries of the World - Cities, Villages


My name is Edouard Betsem, MD, Clinical Pathologist. This great adventure with the very poor populations of rural Cameroon started in 2001. I was then posted as a chief medical officer somewhere in a remote area downsouth Cameroon in central Africa. A place called Oveng with nearly 5000 souls. Most o fthem are poor native villagers from different tribes and clans. My responsability as a MD was to provide all kinds of curative medical cares and enforce all preventive health strategies in the area and its populations. At the same time, I became field investigator for different research projects in the area. Build experience in studying population genetics. Then, virology more specific for emergence mechanisms in populations in contact with non human primates. This is how I came to learn a lot about the history and culture of populations living in these tropical remote areas, especially Pygmies from the Baka and Bakola tribes. These people's survival is based upon crops and hunt products. My experience of the field grew stronger, as well as my knowledge of the Pygmies culture and way of life, and my motivation to commit to do something about furthering their emancipation and the development in the area.
The most striking aspect of their existence is poverty and the state of neglect they are living in. Prone to infectious diseases and death, poorly or not educated at all, defenseless against their Bantus neighbors and up coming progress. The most ancient inhabitants of the forest, the Pygmies are a little lost in a changing world. I noticed how neglected they can be, unable to access by themselves the simpliest things modern life can offer nowadays. They are unable to access good medical care because of money, they are prone to so many infectious disease responsible of a big mortality rate. They are unable to dress properly for they cannot afford good clothings, defenseless against crushing giant steps of modernism, and slowly destroyed by alcoholism. From the southern to the eastern parts of Cameroon, i have visited dozens of villages, met thousands of people, and nowhere have i seen more humiliated and vassalized population than Pygmies.

We can either stay aside and think like many that Pygmies may not need to adopt a modern way of leaving, that may not need education as well, pretending their current way is best for them. We can think and believe that until a tarred road crosses their villages or a factory or mining be started not far from the village. We can keep interacting with them with our cameras to take their pictures when we drive past their villages, or our needles to sample their blood for reseach purposes. We can look at them dying from disease and alcoholism or we can just behave differently and provide them with sufficient education and means to make their own choices. That's the only way so they can free themselves from their long dependance towards the Bantus and face the moving world.
The actions we started in frame of professional activities are shifting into most coordinated humanitarian activities in the future. we started with providing medical counselling and first necessity drugs during surveys, and more recently, we started giving donated clothing. A progressive development program targetting a couple of pilot villages is being conceived. Great things are sometimes made out of small thoughts. Little actions with little money can go a long way and give others hope for a better tomorrow.
I have started this initiative named YESILO from the name of a Baka Pygmy clan.

Only coordonated actions in Baka Pygmy villages and settlements in south and east of Cameroon can bring out permanent solutions.

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EDOUARD EN BROUSSE (Cameroon) - THE ADVENTURE (Countries of the World - Cities, Villages)    -    Author : Edouard - Cameroon

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last update : 2018-11-14 >> Countries of the World >> Blog #12755
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