Dear Friends and Family,

My next five months will be filled with lots of projects, reports, and sad goodbye’s. Time is short and I realize this more and more every day. Which is why I feel such a responsibility to complete the work I started, in the same manner in which I started them- through faith and love for the people in this country of Cameroon.

My projects include: teaching at the high school, teaching teachers English in the community, hosting a weekly educational radio show, setting up correspondences between the high school of Bare and a high school in Wisconsin, Club Success (a club which teaches life skills to motivated high school students), the Water for Orphans project in Badzuidjong, West province, and lastly but perhaps most importantly the CEBEC School Development Project, in the centre of my own village of Bare.

In the honor of Bare, my children, fellow teachers, and my counterpart and best Cameroonian friend, Ernest Fondja, I am determined to complete the already-started construction for a school office and visitors center, opening up a classroom for students and encouraging everyone involved to keep up the hard work, as well as leaving them with a sense of hope in the development of their school.

This is why I am going to make a promise that I hope will motivate everyone to give a little. To every person that makes a donation of 25 dollars or more, I will personally see to it that they receive a gift– an African souvenir! Just be sure to list your name with your address on the donor’s list when you are contributing on the Peace Corps website, which is a secure, official website.

Just go to www.peacecorps.gov
Click on DONATE NOWThen from the donor page, click on VOLUNTEER PROJECTS.
A page will come up that asks you to search, iether by Volunteer or Country.
After searching iether CAMEROON or TARA SMITH, you will see a list of projects appear.
One of them will be titled, SCHOOL DEVELOPMENT PROJECT.
Click, read the summary to learn more about the project, and click on the link to make a contribution.

Please help me finish this project by May, when I will be closing out my service, packing up and returning to Texas!!!

We are together!

Tara Lynn Smith
Peace Corps Education Volunteer
2007-2009 Bare, Cameroon

Eric and I had an amazing time during his visit here in Cameroon! He enjoyed discovering Cameroonian culture, and I was loving every minute of sharing my life here with him, showing him what exactly I do here! I am trying to get some more photos up soon!

As you know, it is traditional to have outfits made out of the same tissue if you have some affiliation, such as in a group or family. We wear these to cultural events and activities. So it was only appropriate that I make Eric wear some too! I think we look good, n’est-ce pas?!

THANK YOU to all of you who contributed to the Water well project. It is in the process of being completed, now that the funds are there to carry out the project. The entire village of Badzuidjong is incredibly excited! Ernest and I made some calls to tell them that we had the funds and there was lots of laughter and yelling for joy!

These are the moments that make up my Peace Corps experience and make all the low points worth it! That is, seeing the amazing work that can be accomplished through me and my faith, hand in hand with others like you.

Special thanks to Lovonia, a contributor from New York that I have never spoken to before her donation. When I e-mailed and asked her why she contributed, she responded, “God told me to build a well in Africa. Its just that simple.”

We are together,
Tara L. Smith

I am working on 2 main projects as I finish out my next few months of service, and I am begging for your help and contributions to help me do this work! Everything else is set and in place; we are ready! With your support we can do some amazing development work here. Following is the other posted text at the official Peace Corps website:
https://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=resources.donors.contribute.projDetail&projdesc=694-127

SCHOOL DEVELOPMENT

The school in a small village in Cameroon was established by the Baptist & Evangelical church, in efforts to make education affordable for low-income families. The school consists of 8 classrooms and 385 primary students. Because the establishment is private, the government provides little funding.

The school community is eager to develop the school with a director’s office and visitor’s room (presently, the school director and secretary are working out of a classroom that could otherwise be used for students). In fact, over 50% of the project has already been completed. The Parent-Student Association contributed the finances, and the school Director laid the foundation with his own hands.

The only missing element needed to complete this development project is funding.

Investing in this school’s improvement will provide a better learning environment for local children, encouraging them to succeed. The administration will be motivated to perform better and the entire school spirit will be elevated with the project’s completion.

The community will continue investing themselves into this project, and once the materials become available, the project can be completed. Please join this school in improving the learning environment for these deserving youth. If 34 generous people donate $50, we will reach our goal. Please sacrifice one night’s restaurant dinner and movie and remember the children here that are struggling in their everyday lives. Will you be one of these 34 sponsors?

The following text was posted on the official Peace Corps website under projects that need contributions from generous donors. The original link is at: https://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=resources.donors.contribute.projDetail&projdesc=694-126

As I told friends and family in an email, this is all I want for Christmas! It is my absolute number one priority to complete this project before I finish out my service in June of this year. Every cent will be greatly appreciated, and I will show you the results of this blessing so you can see with your own eyes at the end of it all.

Much love,
Tara L. Smith

WATER FOR ORPHANS

The Kentaja Foundation was created by a man called Father Michel. With the life experience of being an orphan himself, great compassion for children, and faith in God, Father Michel oversees three orphanages in Cameroon that alleviate poverty and misery for abandoned children. For the past fourteen years, the Foundation has struggled with the question: “How can we live in peace when we are hungry for food and knowledge, when we are sick, and without hope of being taken care of or being healed?”

A tiny Cameroonian village without electricity or water is home to 60 orphans, ages 6-12. The orphans walk many miles every day to retrieve water from a river in which people urinate, bathe and wash clothes. This project aims to build a water well that will improve the quality of the children’s lives, and the entire population who also transport water on their heads daily. Coming straight from the ground, the water will be more sanitary, and fewer children will become sick, allowing for more time to study and enjoy their childhoods. The well will generate more income for villagers who will be able to spend more time cultivating their crops. The well will greatly improve the quality of village life.

Father Michel and his Peace Corps counterpart have already started the project by calculating the necessary costs. Community members have offered all that they can – lodging and food for the workers during the installation. Now, your help is needed to ensure the success of this project.

For more information, search our video, ‘Mlle.Tara.Smith Badzuidjong’, on www.youtube.com !