Laying the Foundation for a Women’s Coffee House Against a Stunning Backdrop in Cameroon

Ancient Tropical Rainforests, Highland Coffee and Beachside BBQs

By Tammy Leland, Crooked Trails Co-founder

Welcome to the Republic of Cameroon, often referred to as “Africa in Miniature” one of the most culturally diverse African countries, a mosaic of white sand beaches, active volcanoes, ancient rainforests and endless African wildlife!

Cameroon playing soccer

Meet the Love Sisters, the heart and soul of community care in the quaint coastal town of Limbe, Cameroon.

Cameroon love sisters

Meet Matti Foncha, the tireless coffee entrepreneur, engineer, humanitarian and founder of Cameroon Boyo Coffee and the Conscious Coffee Project.

Cameroon Matti Foncha

In March of 2014, my family and a small group of adventurous travelers packed our bags and headed to Cameroon. On this Crooked Trails exploratory trip, we set our goal on finding the resources needed to develop a 100% philanthropic coffee house that would support women’s programs in the western province of Cameroon and to immerse ourselves in the rich culture and environments of this amazing country.

My family arrived early to be with my husband’s family in Limbe, Cameroon. We prepared and waited for our friends and fellow travelers to arrive.  Four days later they began to arrive in traditional African style; delayed flights, roadblocks and airport transfers in beat-up old minivans. Although infrastructure is good compared to other African countries, services for tourists are minimal. It made being in Cameroon a unique and real cultural immersion experience.

We all slept in the Paco family home, grabbing whatever mattresses, couches and bedding we could find. This would be our home for the next 4 days and without running water, we bathed with buckets of water fetched by the neighbor boy from a nearby well while Paco’s sister prepared traditional African meals for all of us.

We were up early on day 1 to host a community soccer tournament between the old guys and the young guys of the neighborhood. Winners would be hosted at a nearby restaurant for food and drinks. One of our travel companions, Meg, had secured a donation of uniforms for everyone and the boys looked sharp. The match was full of life and during breaks all of the players wanted pictures with our group, which we happily agreed to. The party after was an introduction to the community, and now everyone would recognize us when we strolled through town. (It wasn’t really that difficult; after all, we were the only white people in town.) Small children would follow us giggling and a little frightened. They would group together until finally getting the courage to shout out, “Hey white man, you speak English?”

The next three days were spent meeting with women’s community groups, doing coffee tastings, and having lengthy conversations about the value of an income source for the women in the community. We toured around looking for property in areas of town that could support the coffee house. Evenings were shared with friends at the small beach fish shacks where fresh grilled fish was served with plantains. The warm breeze led to sipping cool beers and listening to music as the waves slowly crept toward us and lapped at our feet.

The rest of the journey would take us into the highlands to the oldest rainforest in Africa, to the northern western hills to meet and work with the coffee farmers and to meet more amazing women’s groups who hosted us in their homes.

The highlights included: our visits with the Love Sisters singing “Women’s Day”, the family that hosted us in Bamenda serving a huge meal as we all gathered on their living room floor to cuddle under blankets, and the BBQ at Matti’s house to roast fresh coffee beans for after-dinner tasting.

Oh yes, there were hiccups, but as I affectionately remember the people, the families, the conversations, the hikes, the beaches, I forget what the hiccups were all about.

Cameroon Tammy hugs friend

JOIN US IN CAMEROON IN FEBRUARY 2017

For the past 2 years, Crooked Trails has been raising money to build the coffee house in Cameroon. Our goal is to raise the first $30,000 by February 2017 to purchase the land needed to begin building.

Please join us in February 2017 to help begin Catherine’s Coffee House, named after Paco’s mother who was a powerhouse for women in her community before she passed away.

On this journey, we will live with a family in the seafood-rich coastal town of Limbe on the slopes of the mighty volcano, Mt. Cameroon. Surrounded by tropical rainforests and beaches, Limbe offers adventure and cultural immersion, making it a great base for the building of the coffee house. In Limbe, we will be meeting with the Love Sisters, working at the project site, and visiting nearby communities and an ancient slave village. Traveling north we will meet with coffee farmers, artists and women’s groups to set up partnerships that support the shop and the communities. While traveling around, we will have the opportunity to trek the oldest coastal rainforest in Africa, swim in waterfalls, go caving, visit large African animals on safari in one of the best national parks, visit Bafut, Belo and Pygmy villages to see local culture and handicrafts and relax on a fine palm-fringed beaches with fantastic seafood, a cold beer, some lively home-grown Makossa music and endless football (soccer) on the television.

LEARN MORE ABOUT JOINING US IN CAMEROON IN FEB. 2017>>>

Previous PostNext Post

Share this Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *