To have a place to call is a luxury that can at times be taken for granted. SLDI Alumna, Sr. Veronica Dinla, noticed that this is luxury that many people in Cameroon unfortunately do not have. During the 2018 SLDI Alumnae General Meeting Sr. Veronica and other members of the socio-cultural Commission decided to develop a project proposal to assist some displaced Cameroonians.
In order to help these people Sr. Veronica realized that she must first understand their situation. She and other SLDI alumnae embarked on a journey to visit one of the deserted villages in the Diocese of Mamfe to share the people's plight and also feel their pain. When she arrived she was greeted by members who were mourning the death of the latest casualty of their displacement.
“The few people we met had come from the bushes where they live to burry one of theirs who had died recently,” said Sr. Veronica. “Health centers have been closed down and there is rampant death”.
They then arrived at the Mfuni village where some of the displaced citizens live and from there they went to the main village Kembong. There Sr. Veronica experienced the reality of their displacement.
More than 200 families fled the villages to nearby bushes for fear of stray bullets or harassment by patrolling military personnel. The bushes are two to three hours of walking distance from the village. There in the bushes, they use grass covered with plantain leaves as their beds. They have no source of source of water so they are forced to drink whatever they see as liquid in the bush.
Their displacement has also had an effect on their economy. The citizens depend on farm products such as plantains, cocoyam and cocoa. Due to their situation there are no markets for them to sell their products.
The last time the citizens held mass in a parish, police surrounded the church premises and fired bullets in the air forcing them to leave the church. However, they still believe the power a prayer will help them through this situation. Sr. Veronica has come to help answer their prayers.
“In spite of these issues, they prefer to remain in the bush there, where they enjoy some freedom and peace of mind compared to life in the village at present,” said Sr. Veronica.
Through the SLDI program Sr. Veronica has learned skills such as grant writing and financial management. She is now using these skills to help these people get back on their feet again. She hopes to obtain enough money to help build single rooms for each family to restart their lives.
“It is our hope that we can develop a proposal to seek assistance for these people,” said Sr. Veronica.
Through the training she received through the SLDI program Sr. Veronica is know helping to bring a sense of belonging to those who feel like they don’t belong.