CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME
Make a difference by donating today to All Bamileke Group Inc.
All Bamileke Group Inc. is a 501 c-3 nonprofit association created in 2007 in Atlanta, Georgia by Cameroonian natives of the western regions. The group’s core objectives include and not limited to:
- Promoting the proud cultural heritage of the Bamileke people of Cameroonian descent;
- Developing and enhancing the socio-economic capacity of the Bamileke community of Georgia; and
- Identifying indigenous resources for the ultimate benefit of the Western Region of Cameroon.
Since its creation, All Bamileke Group Inc. has successfully carried out the following goodwill projects in previous years and specific regions in West Cameroon:
1) 2013 - Baham Handicap Center (Wheelchairs and food supplies)
2) 2014 - Koundja Health Center (Patients and Maternity Beds)
3) 2015 - Balengou Health Center (Patients and Maternity Beds)
4) 2016 - Casa des Anges Orphanage (Beds and Food supplies)
5) 2017 - Bambi Health Center (Patients and Maternity Beds)
6) 2018 - Balembo Health Center (Patients and Maternity Beds)
7) 2019 - Bamougoum Health Center (Patients and Maternity Beds)
8) 2019 - Fotetsa Health Center (Patients and Maternity Beds)
9) 2020<->2021 - Bantoum Via Bangangte (Water Well)
10) 2020<->2021 - Ngeugoua Via Baham (Water Well)
In pursuit of the All Bamileke tradition of bringing development to our communities back home, our association is launching its 2021<->2022 Water Well projects to be carried out between the next dry season of October through December 2021. The total cost of the two projected water wells will be roughly $13,000.
Financial contributions toward the realization of these life saving endeavors are greatly needed.
Any amount is more than welcome and will be greatly appreciated.
BRIEF HISTORY AND DEMOGRAPHY OF CAMEROON
Cameroon is a country in west-central Africa. Cameroon has two official languages, French and English which were adopted from its colonial masters France and Britain.
Cameroon got its Independence in 1960 on the 1st of October. Since then till now it has had two presidents. Cameroon's first president was Ahmadou Ahidjo, followed by President Paul Biya, who has been in power from 6 November 1982 till date.
The population of Cameroon is made up of over 27 million people. The largest city in Cameroon is Douala which is the economic capital with a population of over 3 million, followed by Yaounde, which is the political capital of Cameroon with a population of 2.5 million.
In terms of Cameroon's population it is ranked as the 52th:
• Growth rate: 2.62%
• Life expectancy: 52.92 years
• Fertility rate: 4.57 per woman
• Mortality rate: 50.1 deaths per 1000
CULTURAL DISTRIBUTION IN CAMEROON
Cameroon has over 250 ethic groups and has been distributed into 5 main cultures:
1. Cameroon Highlanders also known as the grass fielders. This group of people include the Bamileke, Bamoun and the Tikar In the Northwest region. The grass fielders made up 38% of Cameroon's population.
2. The Coastal Region includes Douala, Bassa and many more could account for 12% of Cameroon’s population.
3. Southern Tropical forest, here we have the Ewondo, Bulu and Fang under the Beti sup-group. They constitute 18% of the population.
4. We have the Fulani which account for 14% of Cameroon population.
5. The Kirdi which make up 18% of the population.
PORTABLE WATER CRISIS IN CAMEROON
Though Cameroon seems to be advancing in development, it still faces a lot of water challenges, which are experienced in all the regions of Cameroon, most especially in rural areas.
Just about 30 to 40 percent of Cameroon’s population can access portable water, notwithstanding the fact that Cameroon has abundant water resources. Most people in rural areas can barely access portable water; they will have to trek for kilometers in order to acquire good water. Likewise in Urban areas despite the presence of features such as wells many still face water challenges.
The western region is noticed as one of the parts in Cameroon with great scarcity of potable water, as compared to others like the littoral and center regions, where this burden of water has been looked into to an extent.
The western region in general does not have a sustainable continuous water supply system and as a result the people have been pushed to use contaminated water so as to meet their water needs. In account the West region has so many water resources such as rivers, springs and streams that haven't been explored, which can actually serve as a large bank of portable water supply to the community at large if exploited and treated.
A Micro Biological Survey carried out in this area showed that this community uses poor contaminated bacteriological water as a source of drinking water, which definitely leads to health complications.
Many of the occupants of this region over the years have complained on how they have to go a long distance before acquiring water to drink.
The dangers and consequences of lack of potable water has been evident for years and will be a great improvement if these problems are solved:
• So many diarrhea cases in children in this area has been proven to be has a result of poor water supply
• Skin disease due to the lack of adequate and clean water supply
• Many water borne diseases
As such, interest should be at achieving good, satisfactory portable water supply in terms of accessibility, safety and adequacy. This could only be done by beginning from home.
1) From : Justin Mills (ABA Member) - Discovering My Bamileke Roots
I was born in Augusta, Georgia, and spent my adolescence in rural Glascock County, Georgia. My “village” consisted of a small section located in the town of Mitchell, where all my relatives resided in proximity. My great-grandparents were sharecroppers and migrated with the plantation owners whom they worked for. I speculate this is how my family arrived in such a small community, surrounded by cotton fields and farmland, as Mitchell.
I located primary sources which detailed enslavement in and near my hometown. One account detailed how General Sherman’s Union Army raided the property of a confederate named Major Neal in the 1860’s, and “stole his negroes.” The site where the “negroes” were stolen is awfully close to my hometown. Also, my mother’s maiden name is Neal, which leads me to speculate that my ancestors could have been enslaved by this Major Neal.
History of slavery is very apparent in and near my hometown. Roughly 10 miles away lies the Dickinson Plantation. Roughly 15 miles away lies Louisville, Georgia, a marketplace where enslaved Africans were sold still proudly stands downtown. Roughly 40 miles away lies Augusta, Georgia, where many enslaved Africans were brought in from the sea. All this information, along with the assistance of the spirit of my ancestors, led me to diligently search for my roots.
Therefore, during February of 2021, I purchased a Matriclan DNA testing kit from African Ancestry for $300.00. During May of 2021 I received my results, which determined that I share maternal genetic ancestry with Bamileke people in Cameroon today. Using African mtDNA samples available today, African Ancestry found identical, 100% matches for me with the mtDNA of Bamileke people. This means that at some point in the 500 – 2000-year history of my maternal lineage, there was a Bamileke woman. Also, everyone on my entire maternal lineage, from the past and into the future, is Bamileke, including my children.
The discovery of this information was overwhelming. Discovering that my maternal ancestor was taken from her home in Cameroon, brought me great sadness. However, I find peace knowing that by rediscovering my roots, I am keeping my ancestor’s spirit alive. I will not let her be forgotten, nor let the effects of colonialism or American chattel slavery dismantle my family’s history any further. From this day forward, my children will know our identity. We are the descendants of a Bamileke woman; therefore, we will proudly embrace our culture, and reconnect in every possible way.
A great friend of mine, named Monkam, leads a group titled “ReConnected Grassfields.” After discovering my Bamileke roots, I was invited to join the ReConnected Grassfields, where I was introduced to several Bamileke, living abroad as well as in America. It was in this group that I learned of the Association of Bamilekes in Atlanta (ABA), when a member shared a link to the group.
I then contacted the President of the ABA, and joined the organization. I joined because of the warm reception from the president and all members that I received during my first meeting, in June of 2021. I was overwhelmed that I was accepted although I was not born on the continent; I was adopted and treated as one of their own. This leaves no doubt in my mind of who I am: A proud Bamileke man.
I look forward to learning as much about this beautiful culture as possible and serving and helping others through ABA. It is an honor to join such a great association, dedicated to improving the lives of our brothers and sisters and embracing our cultural heritage. I look forward to the day my feet will touch the soil of the ancestral home of my direct relative, who was stolen from the comforts of her family and transported across the Atlantic, facing terrible fears and heartbreak. Her resilience is responsible for my existence. Since I share her DNA, I will also be resilient in this journey of discovery and uplifting of our people worldwide.
Justin L. Mills
Member, Association of Bamilekes in Atlanta
2) From: Moushe (ABA Member) - In Memoriam of My Ancestors
For over 30 years, I read, I watched, I listened to stories about other’s histories. I am told bits and pieces of what they wanted me to know with regards to mine. But I never got a complete picture of my Ancestor’s stories. No details about where I come from and who I truly am. This is because I was robbed. Robbed of my identity, familial ties, spirituality, customs, beliefs, practices, and culture!
So, I grappled, for years with spending a mere $300 to learn who my specific maternal tribe, my heritage, my lineage, and what my true ancestry was. But in February 2021, I decided to spend the money and get the answers. Get justice. Yes, justice. Justice for my Ancestors.
They wanted to separate me from my Ancestors, from my true birthplace, my real homeland. The land is so rich and powerful because it is from whence we all came. They stripped my Ancestors from everything they knew, understood and loved. And when they stripped my Ancestors, they stripped me. So justice comes in the form of not standing for it anymore and getting down to the connection and to learn who I am. Who I belong to and who my mother’s people really were.
So weeks leading up to the reveal, by African Ancestry’s notification, led to days, which led to hours and the anxiety dissipated because finally, I was brought face to face with a simple email which represented the name of one small part of me. Just 0.1% of my DNA. But that 0.1% means everything. It means history, it means greatness, it means I can write my story on paper, and right the wrongs through learning about my ancestors, for all those who come after me, to know who they are Ancestrally!
Yes, I discovered that I am from a very proud and noble people, who never forgot who they are or where they come from. They humbly remember their Ancestors and venerate them daily.
Recently, I learned in greater detail, about the Mexican Day of the Dead and their ancestral veneration process and that day of commemoration. It made me think about how my people, the Bamiléké, venerate their transitioned family members too, as do many other African ethnic groups and it excites me. Especially since the colonizer has brainwashed the African-American into thinking Ancestral veneration is bad.
It empowers and enriches my life to venerate my Ancestors. I am now reminded daily of the toiling, seed-sowing, and life pouring that my Bamiléké Ancestors have sacrificed for me to live and let live.
To begin to piece together my roots and the journey is so important to me and my life at this time. I am so hooked on this learning about my African Ancestral past and path that it is a drug for me. It brings me peace and pure and utter blessings!
If I could spend all day reading and learning about who I am, I would. Because as Marcus Garvey stated, “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” With no roots, I would have shriveled up and withered away. I am forever grateful to the Africans who boldly stepped out and took DNA tests that helped connect some dots for me. Those all important branches represent those dots that I am slowly but surely piecing together and mapping out the rich history of my people.
To be Bamiléké is to be born again! I don’t think I have ever been more ecstatic about having any information like I was and currently am, when I got the news about this amazing group of family that I had never heard of. I now have a true culture and legacy that I can truly be a part of.
Joining ABA was an important step in getting closer to learning about my legacy, heritage, my Ancestors, and my culture. It was necessary for me to not stop at that letter from African Ancestry to say I am Bamiléké, but to get involved and truly be Bamiléké!
To learn, to collaborate, to commune, to gain an understanding and to love, all that is Bamiléké and to take back that which was stolen is my reason for joining ABA. I know that ABA will aid me in my longing desire to get back my ancestral roots and culture. And I am ever so grateful!
Love, Peace & Blessings,
born Zenovia Leonora Palmer
From : ABA 2020 - 2021 Water Well Recipient Representatives - NGOUGOUA
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