Archive for October, 2006

New Directory Launched

October 29th, 2006 by admin

The new Friends of Cameroon Directory is live. This directory provides links and information on Cameroon related sites around the Internet.

Both category and link suggestions are requested. Please visit the directory and add your favorite Cameroon related links.

The Friends of Cameroon Directory

Peace Corps Cameroon Director’s notes

October 26th, 2006 by bobebill

Peace Corps/Cameroon Director Robert Strauss recently agreed to share the notes he emails out monthly to the PCVs in Cameroon. This first one is full of information about staff transitions as well as information that might give you an idea of what PCVs are doing these days in Cameron.

Director’s Monthly Mailing –
November 2006
To: All Volunteers/Staff/Trainees

Transitions – George Yebit

Saturday, October 21, was a very sad and tearful day. The Presbyterian Church of Bali, NWP, was overflowing as hundreds of people came to pay their final respects to George Yebit. As much as Cameroonians are inclined not to show emotion in public, many eyes were damp with grief!

We have received dozens of phones calls, cards and emails of sympathy. These will be assembled into a memorial book that will be on display at the reception desk in Yaounde. A collection for George’s widow and children continues to be gathered. Contributions can be given to Nancy Mbong. The funds will be given to George’s family at an appropriate time in the next few months.

For the time being, George’s technical responsibilities as APCD will be covered by technical trainer Clement Njiti. Dr. Njiti can be reached at 755 -3531 or Dr. Njiti will do his best to respond to technical questions as soon as he can, but please realize that he is also in the middle of PST. Non-technical questions (vacation, policy, CoS, etc.) can be referred to Dr. Sammy or to Genevieve.

In early November, Ga! by Kwen thieu and I will begin the process of going through George’s office, emails, voice mails, etc. Therefore, it may be a while until non-critical communications sent to George are handled.

Also in November, we will begin recruitment for a new APCD-Agroforestry. Although no one will be able to or be expected to replace George, I am confident that we will have several outstanding candidates to choose from.

Transitions – Chief Dr. Sammy Enyong

After very nearly 20 years with Peace Corps/Cameroon, APCD Chief Dr. Sammy Enyong will be retiring in January 2007. Having joined Peace Corps in 1987, Dr. Sammy is one of Peace Corps’ true “old timers.” Over these two decades, he has managed more than 400 volunteers, wor! ked wit h nine country directors, been instrumental during many transitions at Peace Corps, served as President of the Local Employees Association at the Embassy as well as President of the American Embassy Credit Union. Dr. Sammy has also been Peace Corps/Cameroon’s institutional memory. We hope that even in retirement we will see him regularly and be able to call on his extensive knowledge of Peace Corps, Cameroon, and Cameroon’s educational system.

Pending the approval of Chief Dr. S, we expect to have a major send-off for him in mid-January. In the meantime, he will be finalizing the education project plan up-date for headquarters and turning over his education responsibilities to Gaby.

Transitions – Gaby Kwenthieu

After more than two and a half years as APCD-Generalist, Gaby will become APCD-Education upon Dr. S’s retirement. A! ll seco nd year education PCVs should begin copying Gaby on all correspondence so that he and Dr. Sammy can have a smooth transition of responsibilities.

Transitions – APCD Kim Ahanda

Kim left for the USA on October 21. She plans to be back, en famille, in Jan-Feb.

Transitions – Robert Strauss

My five years as Country Director will conclude February 27, 2007. As this date approaches, time continues to accelerate. Over the next four months, I will spend a good deal of my time wrapping up activities and preparing for a smooth transition to the next country director. I also plan to spend a significant amount of time in the field visiting volunteers.

Peace Corps Policy

I’d like to again remind all PCV/Ts that Peace Corps and Peace Corps/Cameroon take our policies very seriously. Once again, I request that everyone adhere to policy and not place staff in the position where action must be taken.

Living Allowance – TWO MONTHS ONLY

Because Congress has not yet passed a budget for fiscal year 2007, which began in October, PCVs’ next living allowance will cover only two months – December and January. Hopefully, Congress will soon pass a budget and we will be able to regularize the living allowance schedule on a quarterly basis.

Post Books

I’d like to remind PCVs CoSing in the next few months that nothing is more important to sustaining the work you have done than leaving a comprehensive post-book behind. If you have ever complained about Peace Corps reinventing the wheel (over and over and over again), please realize that a well-written post-book, handed down from volunteer to volunteer, can help everyone gain tract! ion. >

So, in the immortal works of one about-to-CoS agro-PCV, “Write your %!$@#&*%$# post-book” and get your successor off to a flying start.

Acting Country Director

I will be on annual leave October 30-November 3. James Beighle will be Acting CD.


As in previous years, PCVs will be able to travel within province to celebrate Thanksgiving with fellow PCVs. We ask that you explain this and clear it with your supervisor at work. If you want to travel out of province, clear it with your APCD. If you are going more than one province away, you’ll need to take annual leave.
Regards to all.

Law student charged with impersonation

October 21st, 2006 by bobebill

October 19, 2006
A law student in St. Paul, Minn., is accused of pretending to be a U.S. representative to obtain visas for relatives and others in his native Cameroon.
Njock Eyong, 26, is charged with impersonating a federal official, possession of fraudulent visa documents and fraud by wire scheme, according to an Oct. 11 indictment in U.S. District Court in the District.
In an e-mail, Mr. Eyong yesterday directed questions to his attorney in the District. The attorney, federal public defender A.J. Kramer, had no comment about the case.
Mr. Eyong, president of the Student Bar Association at William Mitchell College of Law, is a native of Cameroon who lived in the District before going to Minnesota for school.
While in the District, he worked as an intern for Rep. Donald M. Payne, New Jersey Democrat.
In summer 2 003, Mr. Eyong used the congressman’s signature machines and official stationery to demand that visas be issued, said Barbara Kittay of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District.
Mr. Eyong also faxed documents from the District to Berlin, Frankfurt and Cameroon, according to the nine-count indictment. If convicted, he could face substantial prison time.
At William Mitchell, Mr. Eyong — known by the nickname “NJ” — gained the respect of fellow students for his volunteer work. He was involved in student government and in the school’s Jewish Law Society.
Eric Janus, vice dean for academic affairs at William Mitchell, said that Mr. Eyong has been “a very engaged and active student here.”
Mr. Janus said Mr. Eyong voluntarily took an indefinite leave of absence from his position with the Student Bar Association this month. Mr. Janus said he expected Mr. Eyong, who is in his last year of law school, to continue his classes. But a criminal conviction could jeopardize Mr. Eyong’s plans to become a civil rights lawyer, Mr. Janus said.
Mr. Eyong also has worked for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, and as an intern for Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore, a federal judge for the Southern District of Texas.
Mr. Eyong is scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 26 in U.S. District Court in the District.

RPCV Podcast features RPCV/Cameroon Alibe Lehne

October 21st, 2006 by bobebill

I am an RPCV (Guatemala 2002-2004) at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of International Studies, and I’ve recently created a podcast featuring interviews with RPCVs from around the world. I conceived of the RPCV Podcast as a way to achieve the Peace Corps’s third goal by providing a medium for volunteers to tell their stories.

I would love to share the project with you and your members because I think you will find the interviews interesting, engaging, and entertaining. But there is another reason: I depend on RPCVs’ and their willingness to submit themselves to a friendly interview in order to produce an episode for the podcast every two weeks. At the Graduate School, we have over 60 RPCVs, so it is obviously an enormous resource; however, my ultimate goal is to interview RPCVs who have served in every decade of the Peace Corps’s existence. I imagine many of your members might fit that description, and I would be thrilled to collaborate with them, if they were so willing.

The link to the RPCV Podcast is:

I would appreciate it if you would link the site to your webpage. The following is a short description of its content:

The RPCV Podcast brings you interviews with Returned Peace Corps Volunteers from around the world. Whether you have an interest in a certain region, enjoy world travel, have served or are interested in serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer, the RPCV Podcast will provide you with a unique perspective from volunteers living and working in the far reaches of the globe.

Please visit the site, and let me know what you think.

Thanks so much,
Hayden Gore
RPCV Guatemala 2002-2004

P.S. The latest episode features RPCV Alice Lehne (Cameroon 2001-2003).

Charlotte Mariama Utting

October 16th, 2006 by admin

It is with great sadness that I announce the death of Charlotte Mariama Utting. She passed away last Saturday night (Oct. 7) of complications due to emphysema in Seattle, Washington. She was 75 and is survived by two sons.
Charlotte served in the Republic of Cameroon from 1990-1992 and had a previous posting in Senegal in the early 1980s. She also worked as a Peace Corps recruiter after her service and was active in social justice and foreign policy issues throughout her life. She was a great friend and humanitarian. She shall be sorely missed.
Larry Kaye,
RPCV Cameroon, 89-92′

Passing of APCD George Yebit, 10/12/06

October 12th, 2006 by bobebill

George YebitTo all our staff, friends, family members, volunteers and trainees:

George Yebit, our beloved friend and colleague, passed away this morning in Maroua where he was on site prospection in the Extreme North with driver Yisah Joseph. George’s terribly premature passing comes as a terrific shock to all of us.

It is hard to know where to begin talking about George. He was a wonderful man, a true professional, a dedicated researcher, a walking agronomic encyclopedia, a man of enormous heart who loved trees, plants, nature, his wife, his biological children, his adopted children, Peace Corps, and life. He, his wife Florence, Kim and Jean-Marie Ahanda, Nina and I were all out for dinner together just a few weeks ago. We were at the home of a member of the Cameroonian parliament who feted us until late in the night. We all left laughing, happy and pleased to be in one another’s company.

Just a few weeks before that George and I crammed into a car together with many others (and three dozen plants and a thousand pounds of materials) to visit PCV Jenny Stella at her post deep in the South Province where George was conducting a follow-up to the medicinal plants training that had been held in Mvangan some months before. When all of us got thrown out of the village’s auberge at 10 PM on a Friday night to make way for a wedding party, George took it all in stride. He wound up sleeping in a Peace Corps car (with two others!) because he didn’t want to trouble anyone late at night.

Just yesterday I spoke with George and he sounded like his ever-optimistic self. On my desk, I have copies of two speeches that were read to me on Tuesday when I was in the Littoral Province visiting two of the communities where PCV Yune Lee works. There’s a Post-It now on the speeches where I simply wrote “George” because I wanted to share how happy those Cameroonians are with our volunteers and with the Peace Corps sponsored-training they received in aulocode rearing and medicinal plants cultivation. George would have been so happy to add those hand-written speeches to his always well-organized files. Unfortunately, that day will no longer arrive.

According to George’s wife, he was not feeling well last week yet he opted to continue with plans that entailed the long road trip to the Extreme North so that he could finalize sites for his trainees now in PST. I so vividly remember the day George said he would never travel on CamAir again; after his flight to Maroua landed so hard that all the emergency oxygen masks tumbled down from their ceiling compartments. George and I laughed many times after that episode. In retrospect, maybe this one time George should have stayed home and enjoyed a weekend and a Federal holiday with his wife and five children. Yet as many others on our staff have done so many times, he put Peace Corps, our mission and his volunteers above all else, including, I am so sad to say, his own welfare.

For all of you who ever attended one of George’s workshops, who participated in one of his consultancies, who had the pleasure of watching him work with farmers in the field, who struggled to keep up with him as he walked to yet one more farmer’s remote field far off the beaten path, or who ever lifted a beer with him at the end of a long work day or ever listened to his stories and marveled at his broad, happy smile, you know what a wonderful and unique individual has left us.

Over the last 28 years, I have spent a good portion of my life living and working in Africa and around the world. I’ve been fortunate to meet some tremendous people who have dedicated their lives to changing this one world we all inhabit. Among all the hundreds, possibly thousands, I have been proud to count as friends and colleagues, I can say without the slightest reservation that it was my rare, rare honor to work alongside George Yebit. In 2005, I nominated him for the US Mission’s Local Employee of the Year Award. Had it not been for the construction and completion of the new embassy in Yaounde, which required the heroic efforts of many on the Embassy staff, I have no doubt George would have been the LES of the Year. As it turned out, he received a Meritorious Honor Award which he richly deserved and which, to my own regret, was several years late in coming.

At George’s request, I have been giving a final polish to the indigenous plants book he just finished writing, one of the many extracurricular activities he undertook over the last few years.

In his acknowledgement, George wrote, “I was inspired to take an interest in medicinal plant science by CD Robert Strauss. He has been a wonderful motivating force throughout this endeavor. I lack the words to express my appreciation for his support and guidance toward the accomplishment of this work.”

As I sit here at the keyboard, tears choking my breath and blurring my vision so that I cannot see the words I am typing, I, too, can say that George was a wonderful, motivating force in my life and that I, too, lack the words to express my gratitude for his support, his guidance, his ever cheerful voice, his willingness to try something new, his wisdom and his friendship.

At the school where I did my graduate studies, they occasionally honor an alumnus with the distinction of “The Uncommon Man.” George and all of us share a common alma mater; Peace Corps. I’d like to bestow upon George the post humus distinction of his having been and truly meriting being remembered as an “Uncommon Man.” Cameroon, Peace Corps, and everyone who ever had the good fortune to cross paths with George is richer for having done so and so much poorer for no longer having the chance to do so again. I feel a sadness I have not known in many years as I am sure many of you do.

George’s body will be brought to Yaounde tomorrow by plane. I will be in touch regarding his final arrangements and burial. For those who would like to make a contribution to a fund that will help support George and Florence’s five children, you may do so in care of me. I will ask that Friends of Cameroon also assist with this effort.

Please share this email with all those who knew George.

Nina’s and my hearts go out to each and every one of you.

Robert L. Strauss
Country Director
Peace Corps/Cameroon

Ron Price–Missing Cameroun 4 Volunteer

October 9th, 2006 by admin

We’ve been trying to locate all the folks who trained in ’64 and ’65 and haven’t been able to find Ron. If you have information please contact me. Max Scruggs