Putting the pieces together… bringing fresh solutions to our pluralistic world through Priceless briefs … journal entries… testaments… & More
Out Somewhere In Africa: Private Thoughts Made Public Highlight Opportunities & Challenges for Fulbright Participants Nurturing A Culture Bridge
Fidelis Achenjang & Charles Jones
Our fast facts presentation highlights Fulbright participant journals and photography covering a variety of multi-cultural experiences. The testament jointly reflects and explores the benefits of an intensive, interdisciplinary and experiential group study abroad. Through wisdom, reflections, curiosity and wit from participant records we create snapshots of memorable moments, cultural visions, colorful imagery, perspectives and a humane story to show that eloquence may lie in the thought rather than the throat; and additionally, help Appalachian teachers and others draw inspiration for making appropriate lesson plans and curriculum modules about Cameroon and Africa for their different grades and categories.
In our opinion, this inspirational testament containing serious and sometimes plain silly words and/or photographs; sometimes exuding joy, beauty, pain, horror etc. will encourage and boost cultural bridging in the Appalachian region and beyond as well as get those who dare to leave their comfort zone and complacency to learn what they may be missing out as an important source of happiness: embracing and understanding diversity.
I really enjoyed all of the places that we got to visit and the people that we met. It was a great experience
In Cameroon we did absolutely amazing things. I can attribute this only to the project director and his first hand knowledge of the country. We saw beautiful landscapes and met wonderful people. The trip was amazing. The diversity of participants, variety/mix of activities and seminars were exemplary.
Also the quality and hospitality of in country coordination, including driver, guides etc. was very helpful. On the whole we saw opportunity in every difficulty, disappointment and unexpected event that arose. Participants need to be more accommodating of each other by accepting that they are an exploration team
“if there are Seven Wonders of the World, I think Cameroon, Africa, should be the eighth. Cameroon in the heart of Africa remains a puzzle, an eldorado, a land of numerous awe inspiring photo opportunities, but (paradoxically) a rich garden in decay where tourist potentials abound.”
We enjoyed a “completely safe and fascinating round trip” despite the difficult nature of some roads and hitherto stories and cautions on possible health and travel risks to the “African jungle” …
our goals are to promote cross-cultural understandings through shared experiences, enhance international perspectives to impact curriculum development and influence teaching about cultural diversity in the Appalachian region
“…The US educator Scholars went to Africa on a formally organized program, emphasizing substantive academic content, rather than tourism, to meet an expressed need and to fulfill a desire.”
“we gained significant experiences through the various lectures we received while in Cameroon. The diverse scientific and civil lessons boost our growth and credibility as resource persons on global education…”
“we are ready to act as agents or facilitators of change because we now better understand the value of differences and the use of the same to enhance diversity and global awareness in the Appalachian region and beyond”
“we are available as consultants with groups embarking upon any internationalizing experiences abroad…”
The Appalachian culture is a beautiful one that should be treasured. With that said, there are few other cultures to diversify the area. I think that diversity would help open up Kentucky and the Appalachian region to the rest of the world and better educate our children and adults.
The trip was highly successful, challenging, and filled with a rich learning experience. Participants are meeting to begin a Cameroon Interest Group or “Friends of Cameroon”, before October month end to help facilitate any new ventures and opportunities. We will always remember this opportunity.
I have always wanted to travel to another country. I felt that the trip would help my teaching career by giving me first hand experiences that I could share with my students and other educators in my area. The trip has been very useful; I have presented slide shows to students in my school, displayed artifacts, and have shared my experiences with others. The children that I have shared these experiences and pictures with have been very excited to learn about Cameroon.
Ten of our team members had never visited Africa before this grant project. All of our first time African visitors had unexpected experiences. Most images and stories of Africa in the highly industrialized nations concern poverty, political upheaval and diseases such as AIDS, Ebola or Malaria. The true diversity of African society and culture is an enlightening experience to most first time visitors, including the members of our own team. Seeing first hand the growing economic activity in Africa and meeting Cameroonian educators and professionals provided our team members with a much more complete understanding of Africa in general and Cameroon specifically.
My impression of Cameroon is that the people are hard working and caring people. They seem to have very close knit family ties, while, we (Americans) have lost some of our ties with our families. The families in Cameroon that we met were very supportive of each other and seemed to take the time to help one another. … I would recommend educators to make a trip to Cameroon. I might consider taking a second trip to Cameroon in the future.
Kevin & Starr Rossman
… (before), I didn’t understand the differences between the cultures, or the slow paced lifestyle that Cameroonians live. The lifestyle in America is very fast paced, we don’t have time to enjoy our children and families like the people do in Cameroon. The people that I met while in Africa were very nice and giving. I felt like I was an honored guest in almost every place that we went.
We were very impressed by the friendliness and devout religious character of the people of Cameroon. The geographic I especially enjoyed my visit to the village in Fontem Cameroon. My brief stay in the village afforded me the opportunity to connect with the people on a very personal level, while at the same time, observing the culture, daily lives and discussing our shared dreams, hopes and concerns.
and ecological diversity of the nation was also quite fascinating. We would be happy to return to Cameroon and we would recommend such an excursion to other educators from any industrialized nation; we believe that all would benefit from an exchange with our African Colleagues.
… I don’t see the trip as history; I hope to be able to keep in touch with educators and friends that I have made in Cameroon. My husband and I, still E-Mail some people that we met while in Cameroon. We met a lot of great people while on our trip that can be used as great resources in our schools.
I made many new friends for life. I hope to continue and expand the friendships. I feel that another trip to Cameroon would be helpful. I now am aware of more things I can do to assist the people. I hope we have another opportunity to make a difference.
I found it very valuable to be able to experience the different cultural perspectives and values. Recognizing that other cultures and people have different ways of seeing life helps me get a glimpse of other ways of looking at my own life and culture. It was particularly interesting to observe the reactions and interactions of my fellow travelers to new situations and cultural norms which put them on edge.
Cultural/ethnic diversity is not an issue that is usually addressed in Appalachia. I feel that the primary concern of educators in Appalachia should be to familiarize the local people with their own culture, and help them to recognize its importance and value, then perhaps we could move on toward acceptance of other diversity and cultures
I learned what it was like to be ruled by a corrupt French puppet. I was lifted by the SDF and its leader. Makes me want to return and help fight to de throne (the president) and his thugs.
Cameroon was absolutely amazing. I am so grateful to have gone and learned from such a beautiful people in such a beautiful land. I learned so much and it truly opened up my eyes.
For me, the trip to Cameroon has given … greater impetus to think about and to begin to work towards new ways of approaching issues of cultural diversity within and outside of the educational realm.
I Love people and I would like to be able to do more to help the people of Cameroon. During my trip, I was able to learn more about the different cultures, but I feel that all humans are the same. I am not originally from Appalachian region. I was treated as a foreigner for a long time after moving to Appalachia and I still am in many instances
I believe that the Appalachian region is lacking in the exposure to different cultures. The Appalachian region is full of cultural identity that is taken for granted and the exposure to other cultures and differences in populations is largely ignored especially in the education systems of our area.