Cadeaux for Kids gave gifts and food to 6 families. Below is more about each family and some pictures.

Aladji helping sort through the cadeaux (presents)

The first family was Caroline’s, a widow with 5 kids who works has a field which she uses to feed her kids, and the rest she sells at the market to be able to buy oil and whatever other small things she needs. She cannot afford school for her kids so she home schools them. At least 2 of them are of school age, so I’m going to ask her if she’d like to send them to school so that we can sponsor them with an Anthony Rodriguez scholarship.

Caroline’s family along with Aladji and I. He is not in his night gown, that is what people often wear around here. I still find it amusing.

Second family was is a 16 year old handicapped kid with a bad leg and lazy eye and bad hearing, along with his dad and sister. His mother died a few years ago. He showed me his report card, and despite his handicap, he is doing very well in school. His father was very appreciative of the gifts and he said ‘vivre la solidarite American – Camerounese.’

I really appreciated how thankful this father and son team were. He said to send a thousand thank you’s to ‘my American friends’.

Third family was Taco’s which is 8 kids including Taco, and his irresponsible, allegedly, prostitute mom. The previous Peace Corps volunteer was in the village when I went there, so I invited her along. Because there were so many kids, she got the most gifts and food of any family. The kids seemed happy with all the stuff, but the mom acted kind of weird about it and started getting lettuce to give to me right after. Either way, the kids got to eat well for Christmas, and get a few gifts and school supplies. I also asked to see Taco’s report card and he isn’t doing very well, so the previous volunteer is going to find a tutor for him.

The other three families live in Bangante, the town where I trained.

The Ypolite family was my host family during training. The dad is a science and English teacher at a school and the mom works at a preschool for free. They have three kids, around 13, 14 and of course Andrew at 3. Although not as poor as the families in Bangou, you could see that the charity helped them have the best Christmas ever.

Valerie’s family in Bangante was also a host family for a volunteer. She has 8 kids which she raises pretty much by herself because the dad works in Douala and comes home only once every couple of months. Valerie also has health problems which make her life a little harder than necessary.

Marino’s family was again a host family. She has 5 girls from 2 to 16 I think and works at a school in some capacity I think, but she hasn’t been paid in about a year. The dad also works for the government in some function, maybe a professor, but I’m not totally sure. I got a cool video of her and her kids going through the presents. Click below for a video:

A video

Each family received notebooks, pens, cookies, oil, powdered milk, a papaya, a drink such as Fanta or coke, 2 kilo’s of beef, a bunch of beanie babies and other gifts that you guys sent. We spent 25 dollars per family some more, some less, way over budget, but your generosity was so overwhelming that we were able to give a little extra to each family. In total, we spent a little over 150 dollars, not counting transportation and any other expenses which my PC salary, your tax dollars, paid for. The families I visited send each of you that helped a very big thank you and great new year.

Personally, it was probably the best Christmas I’ve spent, giving instead of receiving. Not that I mind the receiving, but the giving is so much better. I wish everyone could have been there each time we gave the bags of presents to the families. Each family showed their appreciation their own way, but they all were very thankful and will not forget the generosity of some Americans in Texas.