During his time in Cameroon, Ant has been interviewing local people to gain an insight into their lives. You can follow the full Humans of Cameroon on our Facebook page, but here are some of our favourites.
“This is one of my husband’s t-shirts, not mine. However I am in a women’s group, along with 15 others. We come together to share the workload in our construction and farming projects. I always prefer working in a group as everyone is more productive – working alone is just tiring!
I have ten children, including two pairs of twins! I don’t think their life is particularly different to how mine was at their age. We need more money to pay for their education so that they can get jobs outside of farming – but as I only have a farming job myself, it’s very hard to earn enough to break that cycle.”
“When I was growing up our parents didn’t let us do anything that could possibly get in the way of our education. For example, we weren’t allowed to go and play football – we had to study, study, study. People like Samuel Eto’o have shown us that sport and other activities can indeed lead to real careers.
Of course, education is always important, but we understand now that it’s not everything. Many of the taxi drivers and people stood at the street stalls you see here are very well qualified, sometimes with Masters Degrees, but even they can’t get any other jobs.
I have three children. It’s absolutely critical for me that I work hard enough to get them all through school. However if they find other interests on the side, I’ll always encourage them to pursue those too.”
*Yaoundé, Capital of Cameroon
“My mother sells food to children in a private school in town, and my father is a mechanic. I’m one of six children; 3 boys and 3 girls.
I have a 7 year old son… it was just a bit of fun at college. He lives with his mother’s parents, and I haven’t seen him for four years although we sometimes still talk on Facebook and Skype. I pay for his birthday party each year, anyway.
I now have a 22 year old girlfriend who’s a hairdresser. Three years ago I was presenting a radio show and she came along to meet the person behind the voice!
However, I shouldn’t be here anymore. I should be in the USA. I was great at basketball; it was my favourite thing to do and my father dreamt I’d turn professional. I was better than all of my friends, but I got really ill and had to stop playing. Just one year later a professional team selected four of my friends, and two of them are now playing in the NBA. It’s undoubtedly the biggest disappointment of my life.”
“My dad’s 51 and mainly grows and sells bananas. He’s had seven children with two different women… my mum passed away in 2001, at the age of just 33 while I was still in primary school. I don’t really remember her, as I lived with my grandma from the age of 2 to 5 before moving to town to stay with my uncle in town, where I went to school until the age of 14. My uncle has been the biggest inspiration in my life; he showed me how to live in our society. Both he and my aunt, who I see as a mum, produce and sell manioc.
I now live with my wife and son, who’s one and a half years old. I hope that he’ll become ‘someone’ and that he finds a job to support his family. My wife works on the farm and also produces traditional clothes to sell to the villagers. I met her 3 years ago at a football pitch after one of my matches – she had been working in the village selling her clothes and just went to watch the football afterwards. She was very pretty so I went up to her and said hello! We didn’t live in the same place back then so used to just meet at the weekends when we could get to a village in the middle, and slowly got closer and closer over time.
I’ve played football for a very long time – I always preferred it to going to school. I used to dream that I’d be a superstar footballer. Unfortunately you have to have a lot of money to join the big clubs and train with them – which my family didn’t have. Now I just play for my health. I find that if you are stressed out, you can just play football and everything gets better. Often it can be difficult for poor people here to have many friends – unless you play football. I’ve now competed in many football tournaments, which means I know people everywhere – in town and in various villages. My friends just come and find me and I play with them; we play every day when we can. I also organised a children’s football tournament last summer because I wanted to bring them together, live with them a bit and animate the village. I’d like to organise more tournaments in the future!
My wife also plays football too with other women in the village. Certain men don’t like seeing women playing football – I’m not sure why, maybe they get jealous seeing their wives going off to other villages to play in tournaments. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not a problem. Everyone should be able to live their life as they wish – the women should be able to have their liberty.”
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