Dear friends of Nascent, we have recently completed a great visit to the FFE/ALIGN project. The USDA team of Alessandra S. McCormack and Rich Higgins II, both of USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service were positively impressed with our progress; particularly since the school year in our region of implementation was partially interrupted by a teachers’ strike in November 2017.
The USDA team, supported by Dr. Derrin R. Smith, Deputy Chief of the Political-Economic Section,and Mihaela Biliovschi-Smith, Executive Assistant Media at the US Embassy in Yaounde, expressed great satisfaction at seeing that implementation continued apace during the strike period.
Parents showed off school gardens, thick with fresh fruit and vegetables that they had cultivated. Village leaders pointed to the water towers carrying clean fresh water from deep down in the earth, brought about by the water component of the ALIGN project. Caritas Kumbo the partner responsible for this aspect of the program proudly demonstrated the innovative child friendly pedal that releases water to reduce infection through regular manipulation of the faucet.
Muslim horsemen turned out in their village of Vekovi to welcome the visiting delegation. At a time of global turmoil, it was a hopeful sign, to see rural school children waving American flags and Muslim men in flowing robes performing a horse fantasia to welcome American officials into their midst.
Alessandra, who has supervised several McGovern-Dole projects around the world, said she could not remember any other that achieved this level of implementation this quickly and with such deep community buy-in.
In traditional ceremonies organized by local chiefs and community leaders Derrin was received the rank of “Shufai” or a Lord in the Royal Palace. The highest title for men in Bui traditions. Alessandra was crowned “Yaah” or “Queen Mother”. Rich received the rank of “Nformi” or general. In his case a “General of Books,” in recognition of the literacy component of the MGDD/ALIGN project. Mihaela is made a “Yesum” or “Mother of the Farm,” acknowledging USDA’s help in introducing school gardens with the MGD/ALIGN project. These accolades represent the unanimous approbation of grateful people who can see a bright future for their children because of the generosity of the American people.