Thursday, December 16, 2010

Discovering the Emmanuel Sisterhood in Bafut, Cameroon

I thought I knew every nuke and cranny of the Bafut Subdivision in the North West Region of Cameroon having been there for as long as I can remember (that’s what spontaneous Anthropologists will think). My first ever visit to the Emmanuel Sisterhood in Bafut from the 14th to 15th December 2010, proved me wrong. I discovered a place with a story that kept me perpetually bewildered.

Many years ago, some three Rev. Sisters left the then Center Province to settle on a small piece of land in Bafut. Because they had no means, they erected a small thatched hut with sticks, stuffed with mud and fortified with a bamboo ceiling. Two of them slept on the floor and one in the ceiling. They equally constructed a small kitchen and a chapel of the same material.

Relying on God to provide for them, they distributed functions amongst themselves such that at all times, one of them was in the chapel praying for divine intervention and protection. Thanks to these continuous prayers, God never abandoned them for a second, villagers came in from time to time to provide them with assistance and so they thrived on.

One of their first and major challenge happened when an extremely impoverished widow came in with children asking for assistance. Imagine a group of sisters in dying need of help being asked to help. Trusting in God, they did their best to assist this family with the little they could afford. Today, one of the children is a Sister and the others are on their way to having professional lives. This challenge gave birth to the idea of starting and orphanage.

Since then, God has been so kind to them such that the once tiny shank is today what is referred to as the Emmanuel Sisterhood of Bafut with a huge touristic potential. Besides the vastness of the land that they have acquired, the Convent can boast of many important buildings, housing a modern chapel, dormitories, offices, orphanage, rest houses, bakery, piggery, cattle ranch, diary factory, and a tailoring workshop that produces the different cassocks, robes and other liturgical material used in the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon (PCC). They equally produce all the communion elements used in the PCC.

The convent has huge potentials in almost all domains most of which is untapped. Strangely enough, the vast multipurpose institution is not well known even within the ranks of the PCC yet they are contributing immensely to the spiritual, educational and economic life the sisters and the community within which they operate.

I was privileged to be shown around the campus in the company of a college of young Pastors to be ordained into the Ministry of Word and Sacrament. I was amazed all along to discover this mammoth institution which to my estimation is not hitting the skies as it should thus; I immediately felt the need to assist. I realized that much needed to be done to take the institution to a new height such that it better serve the needs of the local community and beyond. In this light and as a following up to my reflections, and new desire; I held a working session with one of the Sisters – Sr. Marie-Joel who promised to table the outcome of our discussion to her boss when she returns from her trip to the US of A. I proposed to offer my expertise for free to enable them develop a 10 years strategic development plan and a communication strategy that will make the institution better known and thus maximize its services.

While I await their response (which I have all reasons to presume will be positive), I launch this clarion call to any good will person or organization that can assist me uplift both the institution and its quality of services to the highest height.

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