Monday, 12 August 2013

First Visit to Bafut

Nothing happens quickly here, except the taxi rides: one minute we're standing at the side of the road and the next hurtling through oncoming traffic dodging potholes, pedestrians and other taxis going in both directions either side of the road.
This after visiting the office of  Better World Cameroon where the "bamboo" man Pius, was waiting for us.  While Joshua fielded phone calls and email, Elke conferred with Sonita about the program. After an introduction, Pius waited patiently beside them listening carefully to everything they said.
Then we took that aforementioned cab ride to the "bamboo" man's house along roads that reminded me of washouts I'd hesitate to bicycle into.
 Welcomed into his home he showed us examples of his work; panels for walls and ceiling, a chair and a small briefcase his son had produced: no metal, even the locking mechanism made from this "bamboo"
With a word to his daughter lunch appeared in front of us. The hospitality here has been impressive, local food and lots if it. Plantain, boiled this meal, with chicken in a delicious tomato hotsauce. So much for losing weight here...
Another cab ride, this time with extra passengers. We were wedged in tightly 4 in the back and ! 4 in the front! 2 small children but still...The police were obvious standing at the side of the road. Apparently this is a "toll" road. Our driver must have paid earlier, we weren't stopped.
From one cab into another and down a red, red eroded slippery road to Bafut. We stop at a booth and pick up a bottle of Palm Wine. Fizzy and sweet like Ginger Beer only mildly alcoholic. We trek in to the Ndanifor Permaculture Eco-Village  site and are blown away by how much has been accomplished. Terraced, swaled hillsides, a cleared area for the buildings,  bananas,  numerous trees and cassava, ginger, corn, Taro, palm oil trees, pumpkins, sweet potato and more, both ready to harvest and just emerging. The soil enriched by a constant source of mulch/compost from the prolific growth of... everything! Little tree nurseries here and there, a riot of green, ferns,'s the jungle......
The "bamboo" turned out to be Raffia-Palm wands/stems (for lack of a better term) the business end of the palm frond. A solid chunk of fibre about  as big around as my arm and 3-6 metres in length. Beside the building site large bundles stacked and waiting for the plan, some leaning up against a tree like tipi poles.
I was reminded of Eden, a veritable paradise of food plants with a climate to match. Walking out I thought about my permaculture lessons- that's how it's done. Interplanting, succession and stacking, nothing wasted, moisture stored in the rich soil...
We picked up a jug of Palm wine, walked out to pavement and another high speed taxi ride took us back to the apartment.

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