Just about 24 hours ago, I arrived at Dulles to check in for my second trip to Africa. I’m planning on blogging about my experiences while I am there, but I thought it might be helpful if I explained exactly what I will be doing ahead of time in case any of you are interested. I’m interning with the Young Women Leaders Program in Cameroon, the same mentoring program that I volunteer with in the United States. The program is similar in structure but their main goal is to encourage middle school and high school girls to continue pursuing their education in a culture where they are often encouraged to drop out early and get married very young. I will be in Kumbo, a small town located in the North West region of Cameroon. My goals are to research girls’ access to education and leadership development within YWLP and to provide an opportunity for cultural exchange with the Big Sisters and Little Sisters in Cameroon. Learning to be global citizens is one of the main components of YWLP! To conduct my research, I will be meeting with school and community leaders, family members and program participants to interview them on relevant topics. After returning to the United States, I will create resources during a semester long independent study to train group facilitators and Big Sisters in YWLP who are teaching the global connections curriculum to Little Sisters. Hopefully that gives you a bit of an idea of what I will be doing there!
I can’t say that my travels have been going smoothly so far. My flight out of Dulles was delayed, causing me to miss my connecting flight to Cameroon. After a quick Ebola scan in Addis Ababa and waiting nearly two hours to discover that my luggage would be going directly to Cameroon and I would not, Ethiopian Airlines put me in a taxi and took me to the hotel where I will be staying tonight. Apparently, there were no more flights to Cameroon until tomorrow. At first, I was a bit disappointed and worried about having no toiletries or clean clothes. I also know nothing about Ethiopia and that means one less day in Cameroon. But I have always wanted to try Ethiopian food and my hotel isn’t all that bad, so I’m trying to make the best of the situation. So far I have witnessed a car accident and seen the prime minister’s residence complete with two lion sculptures- my day has been full of adventure. Wish me luck!