Friday, 5 October 2012

Testing the village road- Track to WSC Research Centre

Location of Banyang Mbo Wildlife Sanctuary

it's 3 PM in the afternoon, I am enjoying my cup of hot cocoa drink, glazing out of my window, I see  pouring rainstorm. It's been the whole week like this afternoon, rainstorm and thunderstorm.

Today I made a trip to a former WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society, a conservation organsation based in New York) Research Centre at the fringe of the Banyang Mbo Wildlife Sanctuary (BMWS) within the Nguti Sub division. We started tracking from 8 am in the morning, all along the way  was the marshy road you can experience, for uncountable times I just stepped inside the marshy mud so deep that my gumboots got stuck! 

We reached the station around 10 am. It's located at the buffer zone that is managed by the community based conservation (CBC), which means the communities can utilize resources in sustainable manner. Here used to be a research camp site for the WCS team for their project of management and conservation work in the wildlife sanctuary. The reserved area is of high ecological value of reptiles, vegetation, and endangered animals like Dwarf crocodiles, elephants, chimpanzee, and the virgin forests. Our guide Mr. M. used to be a research attendance for WCS. "We stationed 1 week in the camp, and other 2 weeks doing field trips". "We used to cook, sleep, and work in this well-constructed wooden house. It's a pity to see everything left abandoned. Nowadays, Illegal hunters and chain-saw operators gather here and shelter. Broken windows, ruined furniture. “Here used to be a beautiful compound, we grow lemon trees, orange trees, surrounded by forest,"

The BMWS was first set up by the government as a reserved forest in the 60s. In the 90s, it's handed over to WCS for management of activities in the sanctuary, like monitoring illegal poaching, field works". But in 2006, WCS decided to withdraw the research project. Nature Cameroon then was founded with the assistance of WCS as torch handover of conservation works at the wildlife sanctuary. Since then, the centre has been abandoned for more then 6 years. In 2013 January, WWF will take over the management and hopefully they will renovate the Centre again. 

On the way we tracked back along the Mbie-Ntale-Mamfe Road to Nguti, we met some farmers carried bags of cocoa beans struggling with the bad road with their vehicles and motorcycles. Mr. M told me that he pays Ocada (local name for motorcycle)1000 franc CFA for a 50kg weight of wet cocoa beans. Imagine many farmers who have farms way far from the town, they may prefer sleep in the bush and work for 3-4 days than travel back and forth everyday. 

Historically, the anglophone regions of NW and SW Cameroon were under the rule of the British and of minorities, not like the French ruled francophone regions, where the government allocates more capital and resources for development. The two Anglophone regions only reunited with the Republic of Cameroon in the 70s.  Maybe because of the historical background, people from the SW region are more opened to challenges, inflow of different cultures and welcoming. "Although we have all the resources, oil, rich soil, the forests, it's sad that there are no supports like technical development (machines), people simply are not aware of the economic value of all these resources!" 

Only the beginning of our adventure! 
see how farmers transport the cocoa beans to town
A wooden bridge built with timber

Doremouse, a rare specie of rat we found ! Surprise :) 

It's sad to see all infrastructure are abandoned, can resources 
be used in a better way?
We tracked back from noon, and on the way we saw trees with high medical value "Celesediscust", the locals use the tree bark to make tea to heal malaria, typhoid and fever. 

Farmer transport the fermented coco beans back to
town by motor cycles (locally called Ocada)

I learned how to embrace the mud here in Nguti!

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