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06 May 2014

EIBiNS Matriculates 2nd Batch Of Trainees

Posted in News, Views 1567

EIBiNS Matriculates 2nd Batch Of Trainees

The ERuDeF Institute of Biodiversity and Non-profit Studies (EIBiNS), has matriculated its second batch of trainees.

Seven trainees were matriculated into specializations like NGO Administration, Agroforestry Management, Environmental Journalism and Wildlife Management. The trainees were admitted on March 22, 2014 for the Integrated Conservation Management (ICM) and the NGO Studies and Fundraising (NSF) Diploma Programmes at a ceremony which took place at the EIBiNS campus at Mile 18 Buea, South West Region.

The ceremony brought together representatives from the Southwest Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife, Employment and Vocational Training, Agriculture and Rural Development, St. Monica University and Catholic University Institute Buea and others.

The Acting Director of EIBiNS, Ita Nawom, congratulated the freshmen and encouraged them to take their studies seriously so that upon graduation, they would be well moulded to address environmental problems.

Ita also used the matriculation ceremony to launch the recruitment process of trainees for the 2014/2015 academic year to start by October 2014

She cited several benefits that accompany studies at EIBiNS including a 24 hour free internet access, an online library system, professional practices through ERuDeF/Trees for the future and African Conservation Foundation, access to a very strong database of funders, international scholarships, grants, fellowships and student support.

In an academic discourse, the Vice Dean in Charge of Research and Cooperation at the Faculty of Social and Management Sciences of the University of Buea, Professor Yenshu Emmanuel, while blaming the loss of Earth's vegetation cover on individualism that has accelerated the unsustainable consumption of natural resources and destruction of major forest contents including desertification, implored the trainees to make the best of their studies at EIBiNS.

The ceremony ended with the taking of the matriculation oath and the signing of the matriculation register with trainees pledging to adhere to all the rules and regulations governing the institute.

The trainees were filled with joy after the ceremony. "I am very happy to be part of EIBiNS and after this matriculation, I am very confident that my dreams will come true through the Institute" Neba Grace, a Wildlife Management trainee said.

Ndutu Marie specializing in Agroforestry management said "I am very happy being matriculated as a trainee into this institute and I think it is just the best choice I made".

EIBiNS is Cameroon's pioneer conservation and non-profit institute. It was created in 2012 as the training and capacity building Division of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) to provide leading edge and holistic professional training in conservation and development management to the future cream of conservation and development leaders in Cameroon and beyond.

Barely two years after creation, the institute already has an existing partnership with Virginia Tech University and Trees for the Future in USA, African Conservation Foundation in the UK, and is working with St. Monica University Buea to establish a certification programme for her certificates and courses. A similar exercise will soon begin with the University of Buea.

By Bertrand Ndimuh

06 May 2014

3 New Threatened Tree Species Identified Within the Mt Cameroon Tree Project

Posted in News, Views 2056

Foresters identifying the landscape from the map

Three new threatened tree species have been identified in the Mount Cameroon area. The species Cola suboppositifolia, Oxanthus montanus and Draceana bueana all species classified threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature(IUCN) were found in the Buassa and Sanje forests in Mount Cameroon in March by a team of Foresters from the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF).

These 3 new species add to the 17 previously identified threatened tree species which ERuDeF has been propagating in order to replace the threatened species which have suffered massive exploitation by humans over the last decades causing their population to reduce drastically. With the identification of these threatened species within Mount Cameroon, ERuDeF in partnership with the Ministry of Forestry will put in place measures to propagate these species as well as ensure their conservation just like they did for the 17 previously identified threatened trees.

The survey on the identification of the threatened trees within the wild forest was strenuous given that these trees were once located and geo- referenced some years in the protected areas. However given that most of the protected areas within the park such as the Bomboko Forest Reserve have been depleted spotting these trees has become very difficult.

ERuDeF started these tree surveys in 2011 where the forests of some 21 out of 41communities around the Mt Cameroon National Park were assessed and threatened trees identified. 8 forests of communities around the forest were augmented to be assessed to better explore and identify these threatened trees.

Within this context, teams have to trek for days in the forest to identify trees. Difficult terrains are trodden upon to arrive some of these areas where the endangered or threatened species are located. It is even more difficult during the rainy season especially as these areas are inaccessible by car or bikes.

Canoes are used to get across to some villages especially when separated by a water body. From Sanje for instance, where one of the threatened trees was identified to Eyenge, access to the forest is by a locally made canoe

At night the team pitches tent and spend nights in the forest.

By Asa'a Lemawah

05 May 2014

The Southern Bakundu Forest Reserve: A Farm Estate or Protected Area?

Posted in News, Views 1586

Cross section of cocoa farm in the Southern Bakundu Forest reserve

The creation of nature reserves in Cameroon dates back to the colonial era. The Southern Bakundu Forest Reserve was created in 1939 as a native administrative forest reserve and approved following decree No. 22 of 25 April 1940 by the British Colonial Government. The forest reserve was created as private state property and classified as a forest from which seedlings of rare and endangered plant species could be collected and planted elsewhere. The Southern Bakundu forest is located in the South West Region of Cameroon. It is located in the West of the road, about 75km from Limbe to Kumba the principal town of Meme Division and occupies a total area of 194.25km. This reserve like many other reserves and protected areas in the country was created mainly to protect certain floral and faunal species from extinction due to the high rates of deforestation and encroachment. The reserve consisted of distinctive flora and fauna with many endemic species such as the Microberlinia bisulcata (Tiger wood), Lophira alata (Iron wood), Nauclea diderichii (Opepe), Gebourtia mannii (Boubinga), Milicia excels (Iroko). A few years back during a field visit by ERuDeF's Mt Cameroon threatened trees project team, the reserve had some threatened trees within. It was pathetic to realize that going there again this March 2014, vast estates of cocoa and palm plantations now exist instead of forest within the supposed reserve. One could wonder if it were a cocoa reserve or a forest reserve. Nonetheless, one could assume that when these reserves were created, land tenure systems in and around the protected areas were not well articulated. Could it be said that little consideration was made to the communities around the reserves as at the time when allocating the area for a reserve? Or could it be that these communities around the reserve may not really know the exact boundaries of the reserve or buffer zone around the protected area? Whatever the case may be, the rate of encroachment into these protected areas could be attributed to insufficient land to sustain the livelihood needs of the growing population for cash and food cropland, timber and wood for sale, firewood for local use, wildlife, medicinal plants and other non-timber forest products. Our once rich and bountiful heritage of Southern Bakundu Forest reserve amongst many others are gradually becoming vast plantation estates.

By Asa'a Lemawah

05 May 2014

Students Join ERuDeF To Build Green Cities

Posted in News, Views 1530

students learn how to establish bare stem nurseries to plant trees

Some secondary school students in Buea, SW Region of Cameroon, have planted trees on the campus of Government Bilingual High School Muea, as a way of building Green Cities. This activity, initiated and coordinated by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), was in line with the theme of the 44th anniversary celebration of World Earth Day commemorated on April 23, 2014. The students came from three schools in Buea notably, the host Government Bilingual High School GBHS Muea, Charity Comprehensive Academy CCA Mile 16, Buea and Bilingual Grammar School BGS, Molyko.

In a welcome address by the Representative of the Principal of GBHS Muea, Ms. Regina Tendonge thanked ERuDeF for honoring her school to host the event. She called on the students to pay attention to all the presentations and urged them to be at the forefront of building green cities.

Speaking during the ceremony, the Representative of ERuDeF's CEO, Ms Ita Nawom, made a strong appeal to the young people, to practice sustainable ways of living, farming, waste disposal, building and water management given that they are the ones to take the fight for nature conservation to another level. She equally thanked the students for the candor with which they are approaching environmental issues and encouraged them to put all hands on deck and work towards building green cities because the effects would be enjoyed in generations to come.

Ms. Ita called on the students to respect the Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development's recent ban on non degradable plastics, as it is a way of ensuring that the environment is kept clean and healthy. She urged the students to be ambassadors of the environment in their families and communities in her rhetorical question, what about planting a tree for each child born into our municipality?

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On his part, the Head of ERuDeF's Forest and Climate Change Unit, Kingsly Neba, drilled the students with a brief history of the World Earth Day Celebration explaining that it is an annual event celebrated each year worldwide on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. He told students the day has been designed to change human behaviour and provoke policy change towards a sustainable environment.

"As people migrate from rural areas to cities, the bleak reality of climate change becomes very evident. The need to create sustainable communities has become more important" He said. Kingsly Neba called on the audience to plant trees and flowers to improve the quality of air, reduce the production of waste, promote waste recycling, plant trees to protect water catchments and avoid the dumping of refuse on water courses.

His presentation provoked intriguing and challenging questions from students who sought to know what it takes in reality to build green cities. Kingsly Neba and other members of the panel provided satisfactory answers to the students.

 

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The students of Charity Comprehensive Academy CCA presented a sketch on the dangers of killing threatened wildlife species for food while encouraging the public to read The Green Vision for information concerning the environment. The students were each offered a copy of the paper before moving to the field to take part in the tree planting exercise proper.

 

 

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 They were educated on how to create barestem nurseries by ERuDeF's Botanist Ms Limbi Blessing. Ms Limbi explained to the students that these forms of nurseries were the best because of the non-degradable nature of polytene bags, formerly used during seed nursing. Students from all three schools nursed different agroforestry species including Acacia, Leucaena and Caliandra. They also planted seedlings of some threatened trees notably, Prunus and Mahoganay in the GBHS Muea campus in a bid to make the campus a green city.

The Coordinator of the Environmental Club of GBHS Muea, John Bunyui Njabe said, given his 20-year experience in the field of the environment, many more students are gaining awareness, through the cross-curricular approach he and others have been using to educate students on environmental issues. Being a Geography teacher, his vision is to see that environmental studies be included in the school curricula. Commenting on the ban on plastic bags, Mr. Njabe said plastics are not the only bio-non degradable product since there are others like bottles and other metals. He suggested sensitization on the proper use and disposal of plastics, and that government puts in place a recycling plan. He expressed fear of problems with the alternatives, e.g. it might be more expensive and give room for illegal importation.

The results of an essay competition on the theme 'How To Build Green Cities' were announced. The host school, GBHS Muea grabbed the first and third prizes, while CCA went home with the second prize. 'I am overwhelmed, I didn't expect to receive the first prize because the competition was really tough, however, this prize has encouraged me a lot, and I plan to do more, to be a real ambassador of the environment just as we have been called today to be' said David Malong, winner of the first prize of the competition. His runners-up, Asah Brandon and Ngwane Bertina for second and third prizes respectively, had similar emotions to share. The other students expressed regret for not taking part in the competition and promised to do so in subsequent editions. Though with no prize to ride home with, students of BGS Molyko expressed happiness to have been honored to be part of the celebration and were grateful to ERuDeF for knowledge gotten.

By Immaculate Mkong

05 May 2014

3 Students Awarded Prizes for Best Essays on ‘Building Green Cities”

Posted in News, Views 2165

44th Edition of World Earth Day

Three winners

Three students from Government Bilingual High School (GBHS) Muea, Charity Comprehensive College, Mile 16 and Bilingual Grammar School Molyko have received educational materials including books, calculators, mathsets, rulers and pens after emerging victorious in an essay competition on "How Can We Build Green Cities" during celebrations marking the 44th edition of the World Earth Day commemorated on April 22, 2014. Organised by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), the aim of the essay was to bring out fresh ideas from young people on how green cities can be built. "We introduced the idea of essay competition during celebration marking World Earth Day last year. The aim was to bring out natural ideas from students who though young can make enormous contribution to environmental protection through their write ups" Ms Ita Nawom, Director of Administration at ERuDeF said.

First winner receiving prize

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The best essay came from 18-year old David Oth Malong, an Uppersixth Science student. In his essay, David explained that nowadays, the more developed our life become, the more polluted the environment is. David defined a green city as one filled with trees and whose environment is clean. He explained that if trees can be planted on the sides of the road, in central flower lands separating two traffic lanes and on roof tops as the United Nations has been urging, then green cities will become a reality. David said this will equally help to curb the effects of green house gases thus mitigating the effects of climate change.

In his essay, David equally stressed the need for a clean environment with fresh air, non-polluted water and land. He urged Cameroonians to minimize the amount of smoke released into the atmosphere if they must build a green city. He urged the use of bicycles, trekking as means of transportation as opposed to the use of old cars and automobiles which emit toxic smoke into the atmosphere. He equally urged the use of clean energy such as solar energy, wind energy in both manufacturing and daily life.

His runner up, Asah Brandon in a dramatic fashion painted a picture of a gloomy city whose inhabitants have brought down all trees. "We have cut down all the trees and built houses, we have bought beautiful cars. But one question remains; where do all these take us to? We are driving to our own doom. Our beautiful cars emit poisonous carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Refuse from our modern houses grow into foul smelling mountains in our streets" Asah Brandon in his essay urged the government to think green by enacting laws that will facilitate the realization of a green city such as mapping out every town and creating drainage systems to avoid the occurrence of floods. He also called for the establishment of more recreational facilities such as the botanical garden.

On her part, the third winner, 16-year-old Lower sixth Arts student, Ngweni Betina argued that a green city is one not just filled with trees and a clean environment but with healthy people because as she puts it "Show me a healthy environment and I show you healthy people". She urged people to reduce electricity consumption. She equally cried foul on the pollution of streams with garbage and called for a better management of waste in order to build green cities.

Reacting to his victory, the Best essay winner, David Malong said he feels proud emerging first "It is such an honour for me to have come out first in this competition out of over 15 students who participated from 3 different schools. I will share the victory with my peers and also educate them about how they can contribute in building green cities"

On his part, the second winner, Asah Brandon from Charity Comprehensive College, Mile 16 said emerging second made him proud given that it is his second consecutive win "Last year I won a prize about Climate change

By Regina Leke

05 May 2014

Changing Hunters to Bio-monitors

Posted in News, Views 1392

Former Hunter learns how to do biomonitoring of great apes

In a bid to reduce the impact of unsustainable human activities in the Mak-Betchou forest, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) through its Biodiversity and Conservation Program, has engaged in the training hunters as bio-monitors in wildlife data collection.

Two hunters around the Proposed Mak-Betchou Chimpanzee Sanctuary area have been trained as Bio-monitors for wildlife data collection by Biologists from the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF). The Former Hunters, Chief Forbang Timothy and Anuchem Victor from Njoagwi and Essoh-Attah respectively were trained on wildlife data collection in the Southern part of the Proposed Mak-Betchou Chimpanzee Sanctuary.

The 3-day training workshop that took place from March 25- 28 was based on the use of bio-monitoring equipment such as the Global Positioning System (GPS), wildlife data collection and recording in a designed data sheet, distance and nest height estimation and summarizing of data collect.

After the training, the two hunters who have been hunting in the Mak-Betchou forest area for more than ten years said "we are now different from our fellow hunters; thanks to the training we have acquired". They promised to be ambassadors of wildlife conservation in their respective communities.

ERuDeF's approach of training these men has as objective to involve local people in conservation of wildlife and other natural resources through their participation in such activities as bio-monitoring.

By Enokenwa Allen Tabi

05 May 2014

Environmental Club Students Take On Rainforest Expedition In Tofala

Posted in News, Views 1248

Some students belonging to school environmental clubs have accompanied Biologists from the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) into the Tofala forest to get a taste of the rainforest expedition. The expedition took place on March 15, 2014 in the Besali forest.

Students together with ERuDeF's biological team, the Manager for Education Akeh Nug, a German Researcher Sebastian Linarz, and a Volunteer from England began the expedition by hiking the very steep slopes of he Lebialem Highlands rainforest.

With the guide of the head of the bio-monitoring team Asoh Bedwin, students were able to distinguish gorilla feeding signs from chimpanzees', trace their tracks, listen to and identify their vocalizations. The high point of the expedition came when the team came across four gorilla sleeping nests arranged in a semi circular form. Students had a wonderful time seeing a silverback's nest which was positioned such that the other nests belonging to the juvenile could be watched and protected. Gorilla hair samples were collected for further analysis by the German Researcher and the students watched with delight. Students asked questions about the ecology of apes in particular and the forest in general and the Biologists responded to them.

The students also saw four banana patches,farm encroachments into the great apes habitat. 8 gorilla feeding signs and 3 chimp nests were also identified. Chimp and gorilla vocalizations were heard and the vocalization of the endangered Bannerman's turaco bird was equally heard.

Students who took part in this expedition have described it as a day never to forget. "You cannot buy such experiences! I came face to face with nature and it is such a wonderful feeling that I will carry all my life. This is the true meaning of environmental education" a student said.

By Akeh Nug

05 May 2014

Thank You For Strong Petition On Cross River Gorilla Petition

Posted in News, Views 1284

Cross River Gorilla killed in cold blood web

"We want to thank all the nearly 75,000 people who helped send a message to the government of Cameroon supporting the conservation of the Cross River Gorillas" says Arend de Haas, Executive Director of the African Conservation Foundation (ACF)

The Lebialem Highlands-along with the other biodiversity hotspots in the area constitute an area of economic and ecological importance that will drive eco-tourism, which in turn supports local entrepreneurs and create much needed jobs. It is counterproductive to deplete the country's natural resources.


New Gorilla Reserve

As a direct result of the petition, and the concerns that have been raised by Cameroonian and international NGOs, meetings were held with government officials and the process to officially gazette the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary was accelerated.

The official investigation, led by our local partner, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation, established that the murder of this gorilla was ordered by the head of the gendarmerie brigade based in Pinyin who claimed it as an act of "self-defence". However, from the investigation conducted it was evident that the gorilla was killed out of excitement on the part of the Pinyin people.

The Regional Delegate for Forestry and Wildlife for the North West Region, Mbah Grace, regretted the loss of this Cross River gorilla and re-iterated the efforts of her Ministry to increase community sensitization in the border areas of the proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary.

Another positive result of the petition; the Cross River Gorilla Program has the potential to move forward with the development of new protected areas, including innovative models of co-management.

The Cross River Gorilla Programme is generously supported by the Taiwan Forestry Bureau since 2004, leading to the establishment of three new great ape reserves


The Petitioners

Nearly 75000 people signed a petition started by the African Conservation Foundation to support the establishment of a Cross River Gorilla reserve in Cameroon. People from around the world expressed their concerns about the protected status of these critically endangered great apes.

 

 

On the first of March 2013, the conservation community was shocked about the brutal killing of a silverback male Cross River gorilla in Cameroon. The gorilla had probably strayed from the proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in the Lebialem Highlands. It was killed by the people of Pinyin, a village in the Santa Sub-division, Northwest Cameroon.

Cross River gorillas are the rarest and most threatened gorillas, with only 300 individuals remaining in the wild. The proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary hosts about 40 of these gorillas

"The killing incident stressed the importance of establishing great ape reserves in the area where the gorillas occur", said Louis Nkembi, director of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation. "The proximity of the place where it has been found to human habitations is also an evidence of the pressure faced by gorillas."


Global Outcry

A global petition signed by 75,000 people was hand-delivered to Ngolle Phillipe Ngwese, a Cameroonian politician, currently serving in the government of Cameroon as Minister of Forestry and Wildlife.

The petition infographic shows the top 10 countries for signatures acquired. Each human graphic represents 500 signatures. Apart the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, France and Germany, the campaign also received signatures from countries like Antarctica, Lebanon and North Korea.


Local Communities

Local communities are in favour of the establishment of a reserve, as they do not want the Cross River gorillas and other endangered species to disappear.

Some Tofala Forest adjacent villages like Fossimondi, M'mockbie, and Nwangong, who before resisted the gazetting of the Proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary have declared profound support to the gazetting of this biodiversity hotspot in the Lebialem Highlands.

"Gazetting the Tofala Rainforest is a very good idea. The area is rich in wildlife; both plants and animals and will bring in tourists into our communities. We understand the importance of wildlife conservation. In my village, we are in favour of complete protection of this forest", Manasseh Jong, a Folepi Village Elite said.

05 May 2014

ERuDeF Trains 14 People on the Cultivation of Echinops giganteus

Posted in News, Views 1261

Farmers receive echinops grains for propagation after training

The Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) under its Echinops giganteus project has trained 14 people on the different steps involved in the cultivation of the echinops plant. The training took place in Magha-Bamumbu on March 25 2014. The ERuDeF team started with the general presentation of the Echinops giganteus

The trainees were told the plant in Cameroon is indigenous to the Mt. Bamboutos area where it is regarded as a wild weed. They were taught that in order to grow this plant, they have to plough their land and plant the seeds without any pre treatment.

They were equally advised to sort the seeds to increase the rate of production before nursing them. Farmers were told to separate their seed with a 50*50m distance. They were equally advised to weed their plot in one month and half in order to permit the effective growing of the plant.

After the training, farmers were given seeds and practical booklets to permit them nurse the seeds and follow up the production process. These grains of echinops donated to the Farmers were collected in December, during the dry season by the ERuDeF team around Magha-Bamumbu ( Baranka, Bafou) as the first step of the production process.

Farmers were told that the harvesting of the roots is done after two years when they are mature. Still with the purpose of conserving nature, during the training farmers were told to avoid the use of herbicides which can be harmful to the plant and the environment.

The Farmers expressed satisfaction after the training and thanked the ERuDeF team for giving them free grains of the echinops plant to propagate. Farmers were given seeds according to the size of their farms with some going home with up to 15 kilograms of seeds. At the end, approximately 150 Kilograms of echinops grains were shared out to farmers who would propagate during this rainy season. The team equally advised farmers to plant strategically in order for echinops not to compete for space with the production of food crops. Given that echinops takes about two years to get to maturity, if they plant it on their farms, they will not have space for food crop for two years. This explains why the team recommended them to plant on slopes where they cannot plant crops and also to use the plant for fencing.

It is worthy to note that the overall aim of donating these seeds to farmers is to permit them grow this plant and be able to sell the roots which has pharmaceutical and essential oil properties to enterprises, thus generating income for themselves at the same time valorizing this natural resource.


By Lea Kenmene

05 May 2014

ERuDeF Launches Business Phase of Palm Oil Project

Posted in News, Views 1249

ERuDeF Launches Business Phase of Palm Oil Project

The Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) has launched the business phase of the of the palm oil project. The palm oil project which was launched in 2011 entered this new phase in March-April 2014.This new phase envisages the production and marketing of at least 6,000 liters of crude palm oil within one month. The organization has equipped palm oil mills in forest adjacent communities such as Mak-Betchou area with necessary materials to support this operation. This business phase of the project would impact on the local economy of Mak-Betchou estimated at an 200% impact.

In an interview with the Development Chairman of Abebue community in the Essoh-Attah, Fondom, Mr. Boniface, he said "the palm oil project has transformed our community into a city where almost everything has become available and movement of goods and persons more free". He said thanks to the launching of this operation, prices of palm oil, which is the mainstay of villagers and the most locally traded commodity almost doubled due to increase in demand.

The boom in business has also led to improved living standards of average palm farmers as the Fon of Essoh-Attah His Majesty Fon Foreke Valentine admits, "my people have confessed to me that the mill is actually helping them. They carry out their activity now with less stress and an increase in their income has improved their lives and they can provide their children with necessary education materials, afford medical bills and feed better".

This was an experimental process lasting just one month and with more resources from other friends of ERuDeF and partners, it is hoped that the lives of the population would be improved upon.

Fon Foreke used the opportunity to challenge his subjects in a meeting with the management committee of the oil mill on April 26, 2014 to continue to support the operation while keeping aside selfish interest and working for the good of the community.

A vehicle to transport palm oil to the lone proxy urban center of Dschang, has equally helped to relieve villagers who found it very difficult trekking for 8hours to Dschang carrying palm oil on their heads.

By Forbe Hodu

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