The mayor of my town, who is the mother of Chantal Biya, the wife of the President of Cameroun, is a woman. So is the mayor in Bangante and the new Ambassador to Cameroun. This shouldn’t be strange, but in Cameroun, where women’s place is in the home, it presents a great opportunity.

Every February, there is a ‘Women’s day’, which celebrates women. I haven’t seen what happens, but women have fun dresses made with Women’s Day pagna, and in general it is a pretty big party. I’d like to see an event where the women can watch and listen to successful women in their own community. Hopefully, this can inspire some to seek out opportunities to help their community and be successful on their own. That the three women I mentioned are a phone call or two away, is serendipitous.

One of my favorite sayings is ‘Behind every good man, there’s a great woman’. Women’s empowerment in Africa is a little different than in the US. By our standards, women here live in a self-made prison of house work, child rearing, food preparing and field work. However, many enterprising mothers sell their extra produce basically at cost at the village markets. They sell whatever is in season and make a few franks for whatever expenses they have around the house. Helping these women, who are the backbone of the family, will help raise up whole families. This, as well as helping the bank and other medium sized business will be the focus of my time in Cameroun.

However, I say all this while acknowledging that success doesn’t have to come in a company or by making money. These women who are amazing mothers, wives and entrepreneurs are already accomplishing a great deal.

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a little map of Bangou, Chez moi

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