Archive for March, 2009

Le Messager: Memorial for John Granville held in Bamendjou

March 26th, 2009 by admin

From left: U.S. Ambassador janet Garvey, Bamendjou Chief, and Peace Corps Director James Ham view the memorial dedicated on March 24, 2009 for John Granville.

Ambassador Garvey and PC/Cameroon Director Ham with PCVas and local leaders at the casino

Ambassador Garvey and PC/Cameroon Director Ham with PCVas and local leaders at the memorial.

Janet E. Garvey aux funérailles d’un Américain à Bamendjou

L’ambassadeur des Etats-Unis au Cameroun était dans lé région de l’Ouest pour commémorer la mémoire d’un de ses compatriotes élevé au grade de notable.

Hier, mardi 24 mars 2009, se célébrait le 24e anniversaire du Rassemblement démocratique du peuple camerounais (Rdpc). Dédaignant cette cérémonie, même si elle n’a pas fait l’objet d’une invitation officielle, l’ambassadeur des Etats-Unis au Cameroun Janet E. Garvey a préféré le village Bamendjou dans la région de l’Ouest à Yaoundé. La diplomate américaine a accordé la priorité au peuple Bamendjou. Peut-être à cause de l’honneur que cette communauté située à une vingtaine de kilomètres de Bafoussam accordait à un Américain. Janet E. Garvey venait assister aux funérailles organisées par le chef supérieur des Bamendjou SM Jean Rameau Sokoudjou en l’honneur de l’Américain John Granville, assassiné en décembre dernier alors qu’il se trouvait au Darfour (Soudan). C’est que John Granville, appelé Deffo Sokoudjou, avait été élevé au rang de notable en 2006 par Fo’o Sokoudjou Jean Philippe Rameau. “ Il fallait donc lui donner tous les honneurs qui lui étaient dus après sa mort et lui trouver un successeur parmi les notables ”, a expliqué le chef supérieur des Bamendjou.

La cérémonie d’hier a ainsi respecté tous les rites traditionnels exécutés lors des funérailles d’un notable en terre Bamendjou. Et Janet E. Garvet y a pris part avec beaucoup de joie, en compagnie d’une forte délégation de la Peace Corps (Corps de la paix américain), dont faisait partie le regretté Deffo Sokoudjou. Avec bien entendu des touches modernes comme la remise d’un cadeau par le directeur du Corps de la paix au Cameroun à Sa Majesté Sokoudjou.
Tôt le matin, il y a eu ce que l’on appelle la prosternation devant le chef supérieur, élément incontournable avant tout début de cérémonie présidée par le Fo’o. Et avant les différentes danses traditionnelles, l’on a eu droit aux allocutions de circonstance. L’ambassadeur des Etats-Unis au Cameroun, après avoir rappelé le rôle humanitaire joué par son compatriote dans cette communauté pendant des années, s’est dite satisfaite de constater que ses parents “ n’étaient pas les seuls à pleurer aux Etats-Unis ”. Le directeur national du Corps de la paix américain, James Ham, dans une allocution émouvante, a tout simplement espéré que l’œuvre laissée par le disparu ne périra pas.

Commémorer une grande œuvre
John Granville ou Deffo Sokoudjou, a en effet laissé une grande œuvre au sein de cette communauté villageoise. Arrivé dans le groupement Bamendjou en 1997, ce jeune volontaire avait été affecté au lycée local pour l’enseignement de la langue anglaise. Son caractère aimable lui valut une intégration sociale très rapide. Avec des Camerounais et certains de ses compatriotes, il s’investit dans l’encadrement des populations de Bameka, Batié, Bahouan, Bamendjou,… et anima plusieurs fronts de développement participatif. Il a œuvré pour l’extension et l’équipement de l’école primaire africaine bilingue, à la création d’une forêt communautaire à Bameka, à trouver des bourses scolaires et universitaires à des élèves, participer aux campagnes de vaccination, etc. L’on comprend mieux le choix de Janet E. Garvey d’aller honorer la mémoire d’un compatriote…

Par Alain NOAH AWANA A Bamendjou
Le 25-03-2009

Former Cameroon PC Director Steve Taylor

March 12th, 2009 by admin

We’ve also been informed that a Memorial service for R. Steven Taylor will be held at the Metropolitan Community Church of Washington, DC, on Saturday, March 28 at 6PM. The Rev. Elder Charlie Arehart will officiate the service for Steve. You can contact the church at (202) 638-7373 for more information.

We are deeply saddened to inform the Friends of Cameroon that Steve Taylor peacefully passed away Feb. 23, 2009 in Bangkok. Steve suffered a cardiac arrest ten days earlier while on holiday in Thailand and had been hospitalized. He was a five-time Peace Corps Country Director, former Civil Service, and current Foreign Service member serving in Beijing, Steve was a great guy, a true inspiration to a many of us, and will be sorely missed. Below is a short bio that was passed along to us. Please keep Steve and his family in your thoughts and prayers at this very difficult time.

Persons wishing to express tributes or memorials for Steve may do so by letter to either or both his sister or mother:

Glenda Pessetti (sister)
10023 Northfield Drive
St. Louis, MO 63114

Susan Fortner South (mother)
2835 Wilcox Road
Poplar Bluff, MO 63901

Donations in Steve’s name can be made to St. Jude’s Research Hospital for Children.

Bio for Rev. Steve Taylor

R. Steven Taylor is originally from Saint Louis, Missouri. Steve was raised in two religious cultures, Southern Baptist and Roman Catholic. He was ordained to the Christian ministry for the first time on November 12, 1972. He studied Theology, Music and Theater at Southwest Missouri State University. He went on to study Theology and French at Saint Meinrad Archabbey and Seminary in Southern Indiana. He also studied at the “Institut Catholique in Paris” and theater at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).

In the late 1970’s he was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Togo, West Africa and went on to be Country Director in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Russia and Bulgaria. In 1994-1995 he was the interim pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of Washington, DC. From 1989 – 1996 he worked for the State Department in the Executive Program Division and was training Senior Foreign Service Officers for their positions around the world. In 1996 he moved to Russia where he was the Director of the United States Peace Corps’ operations in Moscow and in Vladivostok.

He was appointed Country Director of Peace Corps Bulgaria in August of 2000 and remained there until his current position in the State Department’s prestigious Senior Seminar. In 2002 Steve became the Coordinator of The Senior Seminar in the Leadership and Management School at Foreign Service Institute.

He was a member of the ordained Clergy and was ordained in UFMCC Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches at the General Conference in 1999. His final posting with the U.S. Foreign Service was to China, where he served in the Human Resources office of U.S. Embassy Beijing.

Fraud Originating From Cameroon

March 5th, 2009 by admin

Scams Warning

The U.S. Embassy in Cameroon has observed a dramatic increase in fraud in recent years targeting foreigners. These fraudulent schemes come in many varieties, ranging from simple pleas for donations to fictitious charities to elaborate fraudulent invoices on corporate or governmental letterhead. These scams can arrive in the form of unsolicited faxes, e-mails, or classified ads posted online. Fraud poses the risk of both financial loss and personal danger to their victims. The U.S. Embassy hopes this message will help alert the public to such scams in Cameroon. No one should provide personal or financial information to unknown parties by e-mail or via Cameroonian telephone lines. Likewise, the Embassy strongly cautions Americans against wiring funds to individuals not known to you personally for goods or services not yet performed or delivered. You may contact the Embassy’s commercial section or consular section before agreeing to send money to Cameroon for any reason.

Adoption/Wildlife Scams

Some of the most popular scams involve the adoption of children or animals over the internet. The perpetrators of child adoption fraud often claim to be indigent parents unable to care for a child or members of the clergy working at a Cameroonian orphanage seeking a good home for a child. Other versions of this fraud involve wildlife, including birds (often parrots), dogs (Yorkshire terriers and bulldog puppies are frequently offered), and monkeys. The scammers will begin a relationship with the victim by offering the fictitious child or animal for free, asking the victim to pay only a small amount to cover the cost of shipping. This will be followed by a never-ending string of additional requests, this time for more money due to ‘unforeseen expenses’, such as court costs, airport fees, customs duties, and medical costs. The scammers will claim that the fictitious baby or animal will be abandoned at the airport unless they are unable to pay a non-existent fee, and the victim will be threatened with the loss of thousands of dollars.

Americans should be very cautious about sending money or traveling to Cameroon to adopt a child from an orphanage they have only heard about through e-mails. The competent authorities for intercountry adoption are the Ministry of Social Affairs and the High Court (Tribunal de Grande Instance) that has jurisdiction over the place of residence of the child to be adopted. Cameroon does not have adoption agencies. In general, any orphanage may release an orphan for adoption. However, in order to help protect themselves and the children from the possibility of fraud or other serious problems, prospective adoptive parents are advised to consider first the list of accredited orphanages available at the Ministry of Social Affairs. Should prospective adoptive parents wish to hire a Cameroonian attorney to assist with the adoption, they can obtain a list of attorneys from the U.S. Embassy in Yaoundé.

A new twist in the conventional e-mail adoption scam has appeared recently, and this one occurs after the victim discovers that he or she has been fooled by a scam. Once the victim suspects fraud and breaks off communications with the scammers, a new e-mail message will arrive claiming to be from the Cameroonian FBI or some such police agency. These fictitious policemen will offer to recover the victim’s lost money. The scammers will then ask for a “refundable” fee to open the investigation or court files. No such police agency exists in Cameroon.
The U.S. Embassy notes there are strict legal regulations surrounding endangered species and the importation of any wildlife into the United States. Any attempt to purchase wildlife through the internet should be avoided.

Business Scams

Many business scams work on the false premise that the government has dictated all companies wishing to do business in Cameroon must be registered in Cameroon. The scammer will claim to be a government official who can guarantee that a contract will be given to the intended victim’s company. For their work, this fictitious government official will ask for a small commission, to come from the money the Cameroon government will pay for the goods. The victim is asked to add one dollar to the value of the goods sold, which will pay for the fictitious government official’s commission, and the seller will not lose money in the transaction. However, in order to get the large contract, the victim will have to register their company in Cameroon, which will satisfy the false legal requirement. The fictitious government official will introduce the victim to an attorney who will help the victim navigate through the business registration process. When the victim makes contact with this purported attorney (likely to be the same person as the “government official”), the victim will be given instructions regarding the registration process. While the various attorney, government, bank, document, and office fees may seem reasonable given the large profit promised, the victim will ultimately have paid thousands of dollars for a transaction that never takes place.

Another recently recorded scam involves individuals claiming to possess large quantities of vegetable oils (soybean, cotton, or palm) to supply raw materials for the biofuels industry. The scammer usually sends out a sales agreement asking the victim to sign and provide bank details, including an irrevocable LC (Letter of Credit). He will also claim to possess samples ready to be shipped to the victim, a well-calculated ploy to encourage the victim to start sending money, usually in small amounts but gradually increasing. In fact, Cameroon does not possess export production capacity for any such products. Local production is insufficient to meet domestic demand and the international market price for these vegetable oils is far lower than the domestic market prices – hence there is no economic incentive to export. In most business scams, transactions are requested to be carried out via Western Union or Moneygram rather than through reputable banks.

Cameroon Sets Up Chicago-Size National Park to Protect Gorillas

March 2nd, 2009 by admin

Cameroon, with one of Africa’s highest rates of deforestation, has set up a new national park to protect gorillas, chimpanzees, elephants and a rare type of antelope called bongo.

Read complete article here