Update from Kumbo, Cameroon
This past week proved equally busy and auspicious for the staff and members of HIC. Four major events showcasing the diversity and depth of the Institute’s humanitarian and rural empowerment programs were held in and around Kumbo in Bui Division.
On Saturday, the Himalayan Institute Cameroon held a public celebration in the nearby sports stadium to mark the opening of the School of Energy Farming as well as the graduation of the Total Health students, and the nine month anniversary of the HIC headquarters.
Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, Spiritual Head of the Himalayan Institute, addressed the local leaders and guests to outline the plans for the School of Energy Farming. This model protects local farmers from the fluctuating price of coffee by introducing new crops, herbs, and oilseed plants, as well as modern agricultural techniques and equipment. A report was given of the successful graduation of fourteen students within the classroom portion of the Total Health program.
The Senior Division Officer (SDO) , Mr. Panjouno Daniel, acknowledged the, “Difficulties and misunderstandings, inherent in an environment where bureaucracy constitutes one of the impediments to the administrative missions, have been solved more or less rapidly, and now one may say without mincing words that the future of the Himalayan Institute in Cameroon is on a good track.” He then aligned his office with Himalayan Institute Cameroon, “I am promising that [HIC] will constantly have at my level and that of my collaborators the necessary assistance needed for the smooth running of this development-oriented initiative.” The SDO is the most powerful governmental figure in Bui Division, roughly equivalent to a combined governor-senator in the United States.
Milano Kumbo Sports Academy
The Himalayan Institute Community Center opened its doors to the administrators and athletes of the Milano Kumbo Sports Academy. One of the Institute’s first contacts in Kumbo was High Court President Roland Mbenkum, a man who, eager to recompense his birthplace and guided by his experience interpreting the law, founded the Sports Academy. His vision was of a safe place for the region’s many talented young athletes to train, a place where they could realize their potentials without succumbing to drug abuse or promiscuity. Mbenkum explained: “You can get them out of crime just by letting them play. When they run – I have watched them – they come and lie down and then they sleep deep. They get up in the morning and they want to run and they want to do something useful. You get them out of those practices that kill them.” The Institute presented the Academy with a variety of sports equipment collected from abroad, and formally recognized the four athletes who had placed exceptionally well in the Boston Marathon.
School of Energy Farming
On Monday, the visiting Himalayan Institute members were driven to Kishong village where HIC owns fifty acres that will house the infrastructure of the School of Energy Farming and experimental plots. They were greeted by local drummers and juju dancers before being escorted to a pavilion where blueprints for the project were revealed. The property offers hillsides for terraced farming, dry grass fields, and low-lying wetlands, enough diversity to accurately reflect the conditions of various local farmers. On this land HIC will test various herbs and oilseed crops to determine which are best suited to each type of land and how best to rotate the crops.
Kumbo Public Library
Tuesday marked the ribbon cutting for the new Kumbo Public Library. A year ago, when Pandit Tigunait met with the Lord Mayor of Kumbo, he expressed his desire to found a library.
They drove to where the library building stands. It is a very well-made structure, but only a small portion of it is used because the library only has some 1,000 books. Since then, the Institute, with the help of its members and the Honesdale Rotary, has collected approximately 30,000 books, which now await the completion of the library. With the SDO’s cutting of the red, green and yellow ribbon (the colors of the Cameroonian flag), construction and renovation of the library can officially begin. At a luncheon held on the second floor, the Lord Mayor of Kumbo, the SDO, Pandit Tigunait, and representatives of HIC, the Kumbo Rotary and the Honesdale Rotary signed a document pledging to support both the library project and each other.