Bisso

Bisso is a small village located in the middle of Cameroon's tropical rain forest. It is home to around 300 people (roughly 100 adults and 200 children and teenagers). There are also around 60 goats, 100 pigs, 80 sheep and countless chickens.  Life in Bisso is anything but easy. The people live off the cultivation of cassava (a tuberous root, a kind of potato). At the edge of the forest they occasionally grow cocoa, coffee, peanuts, sweet potatoes, palm trees and various vegetables. The women and children of the village sell the meager yields from their harvest at the market in Nkoteng, 25 kilometers away. Although Bisso is situated in one of the wettest regions of the world, good drinking water is scarce. There is a water source at the edge of the village, but it is a 30 meter deep gorge and climbing up and down is extremely dangerous in the rainy season. The women and children always fetch water from the nearby river. The water is dirty and not safe to drink. It is teeming with pathogens that are responsible for various stomach and intestinal diseases.

Cameroon

Cameroon is located in Central Africa on the Atlantic Ocean, and has a population of more than 19 million. It is neighbored by Nigeria, Chad, the Central African Republic, the Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville), Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. Almost half the population is under 15 years old and only four percent is over 65 years old. Many people in the villages cannot read or write, although compulsory education does exist.  The country is rich in mineral resources. But it is usually international corporations that make all the profit. The country's people hardly benefit from these resources at all. So Cameroon remains a poor country in terms of its wealth. Dependence on the former colonial power of France also hinders the development of the country.

Faces

Marta Nkolo is 44 years old. She is a farmer and sells her crops on the market in the nearest town. Since the project started in Bisso in the summer of 2010, she has been one of two project managers. She looks after the finances. "It's great to see how people in the village are trying to make a difference. This is not only good for Bisso, but also for the whole region. Everyone is joining in," she says. The little girl is glad about the new school in Bisso. Before the school was built, she had to go to school in a neighboring village about 25 kilometers away. She had to stay there from Sunday to Friday with the other children of the village. The road was too far to be tackled every day. "Now I don't need to go to the another village for so long without my parents. That's great. At last we have a school in our village," she rejoices.