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18 September 2006 - 11:54am -- Joseph

In this part of Cameroon, the school system is based on the British system, meaning that the academic year starts at the same time (which I think is pretty mean, because the kids get their 'summer' holiday in the middle of the rainy season. Sad Face.)

So the school year started a few weeks a ago. There seems to be a severe lack of text books on school, and I think children are sometimes expected to supply their own. This is a big problem, because the text books can be very expensive.

Last year, HINT supplied a few children with a few items they needed for school, such as backpacks, exercise books, text books, etc. This went well, and they've found funding to expand the program this year, they're calling it Backpacks.

So on Sunday afternoon, about thirty local children were invited to the church (i.e. our living room) Where they sang a little, did Bible recitations and also sang a song that Heather had taught them. Unfortunately the memory card on Hev's camera filled up at that precise moment, or I'd have had video footage of 'Choir Leader Hev'. Maybe next time.

We then handed out various items to the children (their needs having been established in advance - requirements gathering people, this was a slick operation - (ex) Astbury in the house...)

Of course, we did the presentations, since we're still a bit of a novelty 'round here. Some of the children just stared at me (is it 'cos I is ginger?).

Genesis also presented a prize to one young boy, John, who he says has been very keen to help and present an attitude of service, it was all phrased in Christian rhetoric which I don't feel comfortable repeating myself, but it was very well said by Genesis. He then announced that the prize would be an annual thing, and (you'll like this) that they would call it:

The Joseph and Heather Talbot Prize for Services to Humanity

Embarrassing? Yes.

Over the top? Welcome to Cameroon.

This was done in recognition of the 'sacrifice' we have made by not being in rainy England for a year, having to go to work every day. Oh how we suffer.

It was a nice gesture, and it's nice to know that our presence here is appreciated, though I would feel more comfortable about it if we'd actually achieved something so far. We're getting there though.

So what have we been doing you say?

I've done most of the work on a rebuild of the Hint website, tarting it up a bit and releasing us from 'generated by FrontPage' hell. I'm now working on a curriculum for teaching HTML/CSS, which is progressing. After that I need to write a PHP/MySQL course, which anyone familiar with my programming skills may find more than a little amusing...

Heather has written an HIV/AIDS education section of the website (which I need to build - wife-as-project-partner? Oh goodie... ) Hev's also written a training-the-trainers HIV/AIDS education manual.

We've also been looking into getting a UK bank account set up, which we can use to help HINT (and other NGO's in developing countries) to collect online donations, and sell goods online.

Which reminds me: Genesis wants to set up online selling, and I'm wondering how much interest there would be. So let me ask you this:

Would you be interested in buying locally made merchandise by local charities online? I'm thinking t-shirt, dresses, maybe African masks (probably small passport masks).

Would comparatively high P&P costs put you off?

What about having to wait several weeks for delivery?

What do you think?


"The Joseph and Heather Talbot Prize for Services to Humanity" - nice!!! :-)

Rather interesting discussion here at work today...the ark. Did Noah take all breeds of animals on the ark (i.e. every type of dog, cat, zebra ect.)? How did he manage to rescue the kangaroos, being all the way over in Australia and all? There's a video on youtube of some preacher saying that god only put fossils on the earth to amuse/confuse us and that dinosaurs existed at the same time as Noah but Noah only took the little ones on the ark (obviously, can you imagine the weight of a brontisaurus? oh and by the way he only took 'baby' elephants). Is this true? Now I would pay a service offered by Genesis to clarify some of these issues for me . . .

No seriously, not sure you could sell masks ect. over 'tinternet as a charity thing, but how about a tailoring service? Or something like oxfam do 'buy a goat/toilet' ect.
Just musings.

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