Looking Back

It has been three days since I am back to home, Chiba, Japan. Everything is just so convenient! From having access to hot shower 24/7, to having grocery store/drug store/convenience store/train station within a minute walk, everything I had taken granted for came back to me as a luxurious convenience. Also, I have to mention that there's no other place in the world offers me better access to playing basketball than home. One reason I haven't had time over the past three days to write a post is that I was very busy balling, haha. Alright, off to my reflection. (Actually, just a bunch of thank you notes.) First, we owe lots of THANK YOU to   Amirah!! Amirah, who graduated from W&L this past May was our host and mentor through out the whole process. Her presence was indispensable to the success of our project. Also, we super appreciate the help of her family's since each of them has assisted us in different ways during the past month. Again, THANK YOU AMIRAH and th

Dire au revoir

Well, we are almost done. After the boutique’s opening ceremony, things were a blur. I couldn’t believe where the time had gone! Now, I am off to tour a medical center in Chad, and Yoko is heading to Japan, before we will meet back at our university in September. We can’t believe how quickly the time has gone. As Yoko and I are wrapping up, we both want to share some reflections on our experience in Cameroon. First, I want to say that though our time working on this project IN Cameroon is coming to an end, we will be in contact with the store until it becomes profitable and the Parent’s Council feels comfortable dealing with all operations. We will be receiving monthly documents on the inventory and finances, and are available to answer questions. We hope that the Parent’s Council will soon feel more at ease in its new role managing the store. As I am about to leave, I can’t help but think about what I’ll remember. I am a list-maker, so here’s my list: -        The extreme

Mandetkene Boutique: Chapter 3, getting to know you

Beyond watching the construction of the store, we wanted to do more in the town to build trust and raise awareness about the purpose of the store. We decided to go door-to-door to survey residents about what they’d like to see in the store. We also decided to do a summer camp, as Amirah and Jenna had done this two summers ago and it worked well. The following recounts these two endeavors. Endeavor #1: Door-to-Door, getting to know people and concerns I think you can really get to know a person by learning what they buy. The short time we spent going door-to-door in Mandetkene, asking people a set of carefully thought out questions, was the time in which I learned the most about the local people. I could tell you which brand of soap they like, what type of oil they use when cooking, and the types of treats they like. We had a different experience in every house we visited. However, after organizing survey responses in excel, we found many common needs and picked out the pop