Friday, October 11, 2013

October 2013 Happenings at Malima Primary School

A Very Welcome Visitor
Summer, 2013

I apologise for not having contributed anything to this site for some time. I had technical problems with the site, but not because there were problems at Malima Primary School. The very good news is that being a village far removed from the everyday problems of the world, our children are left in peace to continue their education without worrying about the problems that are a plague to modern society.

There is much to be said for being incommunicado during these times. Once in a while, the village of Gouria receives visitors who bring selective good news. Laura and Maria, two lovely Spanish ladies, who are sisters, journeyed to Gouria in the company of Agustin, a member of our El Proyecto Malima/The Malima Project team. They were received like royalty and made to feel loved and comfortable. It is important that the village receive visitors to confirm that what we think has occurred, has indeed taken place. This is generally not a problem as the village requested our help and have always acted  as our partners.

Laura and Maria did a wonderful job of decorating the classrooms with wall paintings to brighten up otherwise drab walls with learning pictures. We have sent several people in the past but to add art to the walls means that you will be remembered for a very long time.

Agustin had a very full agenda of administrative matters to deal with, but mid-way through his stay he became ill, and worryingly, he still does not know what was wrong, although he is completely recovered. He attended a clinic that treats all who wish assistance, but the standard of the clinic is so far below that which we in the  West take for granted, he felt that in order to have the best chance to recuperate, he returned home to Spain.

This type of experience can be considered to be an integral part of understanding life in a third world country. The locals expect no more and somehow they manage to recover from their illnesses. Of course, some don't, but life goes on even though Westerners would consider some outcomes as outrageous. Even Maria and Laura became ill, but they were able to overcome their problems and to continue on. Even though the village has clean water from the borehole, it takes a little bit of getting used to life in the village, and the chances are that the visitor may go through a kind of iniatation period.

Shortly, the Spanish charity, El Proyecto Malima/The Malina Project will hold its Annual General Meeting. The news we will have to share is very encouraging, especially in that we have at long last been able to reach out to other villages around Gouria to share the love. More about that later, but in the meantime we extend our grateful appreciation to Laura and Maria and to Agustin for their contribution to the Project. It is heartening to know that they each got so much back in return.

Copyright (c) 2013  Eugene Carmichael

Thursday, February 23, 2012

February 2012, Malima Newsletter

Malima Students taking their opportunities to gain knowledge very seriously!

When Malima started, almost 13 years ago, our aim was to give a good basic education to children who otherwise would not have received this fundamental right. As time passed it became clear that it was going to be very difficult to stop the children at the end of primary, just when they had their appetite for knowledge whetted. Seven years ago our founding students were ready to move on to Secondary education. At that time there were no functioning schools of that nature in the area. The only options were for attendance at The Catholic School in Maroua, 130 kilometres away; or The Prostestant School in Mokolo, forty-eight kilometres away from the village of Gouria.

Both of these schools take children of all religious beliefs, but in both cases it meant children moving away from their homes at a very tender age to live in other accommodation, and arrangements having to be made for their meals. After discussion with family and sponsors, seven children took a giant step towards higher education, but since then another 100 have followed and continue to pursue their secondary education, making 107currently studying at that level. Many of these students continue to be sponsored by their original sponsors.

The Cameroonian Department of Education have refocused their attention on this area as it has become clear to them that a good education is well appreciated, necessary and expected. Apart from providing a little support to Malima, they have accepted the reformations that Malima made to their buildings and have hired the necessary teachers and have taken up the excess of students that were beyond Malima's ability to cater for. In addition, the government have established a nearby Secondary college, and as well one of the churches have opened a Secondary school only 5 kilometres from our village.

There have been some disappointments in some of the secondary students who have dropped out of the program. This is a seven-year program under the French system, but some of the girls have left to get married and start their families, and some of the boys have gone into the work force, farming their fields or helping their families. However, on average every student gets about four years secondary education, with the majority going the full distance.

A secondary education has now become a realistic expectation, as part of the normal course of one's formal educational program, rather than a luxury. We have already had the first secondary student ask whether she can find someone who would be willing to sponsor her to attend university to study medicine, as it is her ambition to come back to the village and to open a General Family Medicine practise. That would be her way of giving back to her community. For those of us in Spain, we have drawn in our collective breath in excitement. We know she would have a very difficult task to override the cultural taboos, etc, but somebody has to be the first to take The Step.

Sometime ago a sponsor asked :"How long should I be expected to sponsor the child?"  The real answer is, until you feel you want to stop, or have to stop. However, some people have grown so attached to their sponsored child, and are so very proud of how the child has grown, that like their own children they want to stay with the child in Cameroon for as long as they are needed.

That choice has to be a very personal one.

El Proyecto Malima / The Malima Project 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Christmas in the Village of Gouria, Cameroon

Not The Santa Claus Christmas

Here I present an essay written by one of Gouria's young men, Tenema Burnett who is living and studying in Valencia, Spain and Portsmouth, England. Gouria is a small village with about 3,000 inhabitants, and is located high in the Mandara mountain range in the Extreme North of the country. The name of the mountain upon which the village is to be found is called Malima. Various religious denominations are to be found there, including the Catholic Church and the Presbyterians.

Christmas in my village of Gouria

By Tenema Burnett

The magic word "Noel" is what all Christian folk, and even other believers in the village have been passionately waiting for. Noel is the only time of the year where there are abundances of delicious foods and it is also the time when many people get new clothes.

Early dawn on the 24th December sees each head of a family going to the village where they can buy meat for the special celebration. That day is also the last moment for women to have their hair done and get everything ready. As the night falls the first meat is cooked especially for each family, and about 8pm all young people go to the church to practice their role in the theatre presentation that will take place the following day.

The day of the 25th breaks with joy everywhere. Young people go to every house before daybreak wishing "Bon Noel" to all, and in return they get sweets, chewing gum, biscuits, chocolate, money, etc. Soon a fire is lit outside of the compound and family and friends sit around the fire having their first Christmas porridge.

About 8am the people go to the church and there is happiness and joy among all present. At noon food is cooked for the entire village. You don't need a special invitation to visit any of the houses. All are welcome throughout the village. The invitation is extended to Christians, Muslims, and people who believe in Animism. (That means belief in the material universe, including plants and rocks, etc.)

As the day progresses, at about three o'clock people begin to get ready, and by half-past four the village is blessed with new clothes and vibrant colours. The crowd then make their way to the state primary school where there is enough room for all the public to watch the play the Christians have prepared. Soon after the theatre presentation has ended members of the public begin singing and dancing.

Long after the adults have gone to their homes the young people continue celebrating well into the night.

Tenema Burnett

This is a wonderful description of the celebration of Christmas in a village so isolated. Although some practices follow those of Western countries in that gifts are given, it is good to see that Santa Claus does not exist in their culture, and is not thrust upon them by missionaries. At the end of the day it seems that our similarities between peoples around the world are greater than our differences.

Copyright (c) 2012 Eugene Carmichael

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Malima : A Visitor's View - Part One

Newsletter - December 2010

This August Anna Reilly, a Year 2 teacher at Cambridge House and long-standing member of the Malima Support Group, went to Gouria as a representative of the Malima Project with her daughter, Luisa. It was their first visit to Africa.

I remember reading Lorianna´s newsletters last year and thinking, wow, I can’t believe a simple journey can be so epic, so different from what we’re used to here in Spain or the UK. I didn’t realise this feeling would begin as soon as we left the plane. The run-down airport, the commotion, the lack of trust, corruption, poverty; we saw it all in the first half hour. It was definitely a baptism by fire. However, although the journey was long, tiring, difficult and incredible at the same time, I want to tell you about the village and people of Gouria.

The village of Gouria, home to Malima Primary school, is not what I expected. I have seen photos taken throughout the year and not appreciated how the land would change during the rainy season. As August is the rainy season in the north of Cameroon everywhere was green and blooming with produce. Corn and potatoes were the main plants I recognised but there were others growing. This gave an impression of the countryside bursting with life and colour. To say the area is beautiful in the rainy season is an understatement. The first few days we were there Luisa and I did a lot of walking to get our bearings and appreciate the scenery. There are volcanic peaks, hills and valleys, mountains, fields, trees, and the natural beauty of the area is breathtaking.

We lodged with a Muslim family near to where Judith’s boys stay with their elder brother, Vandi. The home, as all homes are in the area, is a compound with various simple rooms built around a central outside patio area. The rooms are not joined and therefore there is no sense of being “indoors”. The compound comprises of a store room, a few rooms for sleeping, a room for cooking using open fires and sometimes, depending on the means of the family, a room with chairs or a sofa which is used at night for socialising. There was no electricity or running water.

There were 10 people in the family we stayed with. Sadu, the man of the household was lucky enough to go away every now and then, for a few days at a time, to the cities and work as a driver. Most families in Gouria depend on subsistence farming and selling their produce or animals at market. He has 2 wives, his sister and mother living with him as well as 5 children. The children were teenagers and very hard working, helpful and polite. But at the same time once the working day in the fields was over, most of the family would come together in the evening and have fun chatting, laughing and making jokes or even dancing and singing. Luisa and I were lucky enough to enjoy many evenings with this family, as well as Vandi’s family. I was taken back to a distant memory that my father used to tell me about, when his family simply “made their own entertainment.” Even though these families endure lots of hardships, it’s good to see they are still able to come together, put their difficulties aside, and enjoy themselves.

We ate a family meal every day at 6:30 in the evening just after it got dark. Men and women with children eat separately. As we were guests, we were sometimes asked to eat with the men and older male children but also had the opportunity to eat with the women. Meals are eaten on the floor with a special mat or tablecloth placed down. The meals are communal with one plate of rice or maize dumplings and a bowl of sauce. People sit around in a circle and take what they want. Meat is a luxury and not often eaten. Some people only eat once a day if there is nothing left over from the evening before.

Many local visitors came and went from the two homes we spent our time in and it’s not uncommon to have people staying to share a meal if they are there at that time. Often, other friends or family members would pop around in the evenings, making the gatherings quite large. Both Luisa and I are very grateful that we were made to feel so welcome and had the opportunity to stay with and experience life with families in Gouria. I would like to take the opportunity to thank Judith’s boys, Tenema and Koda, for their assistance in many ways during the trip, as well as recognise the warmth and care given to us by the two families we shared our time in Gouria with. It will be a memory and feeling I will never forget!

Anna Reilly

Malima: A Visitor's View - Part Two


This summer Anna Reilly, a year 2 teacher at Cambridge House Community College and long term member of ‘The Malima Support Group’ spent August in Cameroon visiting the project along with her 16 year old daughter Luisa.

I have already described my observations of day-to-day life in Gouria, which as a first time traveller to Cameroon left a great impression on me. However, this newsletter is dedicated to Malima Primary School - the reason for our visit.
Malima Primary School is in its 11th year and in that time it has provided an education for hundreds of children, and provided work for many teachers. The overall management of the project is primarily overseen by Judith Burnett, however, there have been many other people involved in making it such a success; the school’s directors, the teachers, Gouria residents, people in the Malima Support Group, the sponsors etc. I therefore felt very privileged and a little overwhelmed when she asked me if I would like to visit Malima School on her behalf.
Before our trip Judith, Luisa and I had many meetings about what our roles would be once there, as well as being given background information about the local people involved in running the school. These sessions were intricate and invaluable with many notes being taken and questions asked. To be effective I needed to know as much as possible and be clear in my expectations for the trip. Luckily Judith was very thorough and we left feeling confident.
We arrived in Gouria on a Friday evening and were eager to see the school as soon as possible. We therefore headed there on Saturday morning with the help of an ex-pupil to show us the way. To get there you walk along country paths, zigzagging their way around people’s crops. The walk to school lasted longer than I had expected, about 40 minutes but after passing Malima mountain, the classrooms and school grounds emerge in front of you. Many hours of travelling and kilometres in distance had finally brought us to our destination. I will never forget the feeling on first seeing the school. I was in a different world, but felt an affinity with the place, a familiarity that did not seem unusual. However, a school is not a school without children and our first visit, although impressive, lacked life. For that we would have to wait until Monday morning.
School starts early in Cameroon and summer school at Malima was no different. People wake up at sunrise here and by 6.45 am we were on our way to school. After walking about 100 metres we were joined by other children who wanted to accompany us and take our bags. This continued throughout the journey and by the end we were quite a large group heading along the paths towards Malima School. At 7.30 a whistle was blown and all the children lined up with their classes. The school day started with all the children singing songs together. A child was chosen to come to the front and chose and led the song. The youngest children were very sweet when doing this as well as shy. Then, after four or five songs, each class went marching into their class with their teacher leading them.
To see all the children together was amazing. The children were participating in the activities they had been asked to do and were happy. Although we all know poverty is part of children’s everyday life in rural Africa, in a positive environment like this you can see beyond the scruffy and torn clothes, beyond the distance they have to walk by themselves to get to school, beyond the stories they tell you about their home life. When they are at Malima Primary School they are like any other school children; listening to their teachers, learning different subjects, putting their hands up to answer questions, writing in their notebooks, although maybe a little better behaved!
Malima Primary School is a special place that runs deep in the heart of the community. People in Gouria recognise they are lucky to have your support and are grateful for it. Many people I spoke to in Gouria have aspirations for the future that would otherwise have been virtually impossible. They include; furthering their education, finding jobs, improving hygiene and health, starting their own businesses or even simply being able to read the instructions on fertiliser packets and doing accounts. They see a brighter future thanks to the last 11 successful years of the Malima Project.
Anna Reilly

Sunday, November 28, 2010



Yet another school year has started at The Malima Primary School in Gouria, Cameroon. It is a very special year in that it marks the tenth anniversary of this wonderful little institution that has brought such extraordinary change to the village of Gouria. When Malima Primary was opened very few of the village children were receiving any education at all, and now approximately 99% of Gouria’s children are taking a good sound elementary education for granted, which is as it should be, of course.

The Malima Project now support a total of 120 children in secondary education, spread through three secondary schools. There are 200 children attending Malima Primary School, and eighty children are in our pre-school, even though they may not actually attend Malima.

We are very proud to see so many of our ex-primary students continuing their secondary education, to the extent that it is a normal transition. Not all who enter keep up their studies with some of the girls leaving to get married and start their families, only to later want to come back into the system. This is causing some problems and will have to be resolved, but considering that ten years ago it was rare to see a girl in secondary education we do want to be encouraging.

One of the girls has expressed a strong interest in medical studies. We have lived for this day, and she is very serious about becoming the first resident (traditional) doctor in the village. That it is happening within only ten years and is a very exciting development. We wish her the very best of luck!

Ten years ago we inadvertently asked one of the children what he wanted to be when he grew up, and he looked at us with puzzled eyes. The best he could think of was that it would be sufficient to be alive. Ambition was a word that was unknown, because unlike children in the developed world, children in Gouria had no dreams of the future. They lived just for the day.

We were asked to help bring education to the village, and this we have done. The question of a future for each child would have to be left to each individual. Whether a student wants to continue into University studies or to exit formal learning early, the choice must be their own. However, with education they will certainly be better prepared because education is liberation.

We congratulate The Malima Primary School on its tenth anniversary, and we look forward to celebrating its twentieth.

The Malima Project

Friday, October 15, 2010



This summer Anna Reilly (a Cambridge House Year 2 teacher and long-term member of The Malima Project), together with her 16-year-old daughter Luisa, visited Malima Primary School in the village of Gouria, in the Far North of Cameroon, West Africa. This is Luisa’s initial report:

Waking up to Two Realities
When you finally get back home, after being in the village of Gouria, you ask yourself if the village still exists. It feels more like a dream than a memory. When you wake up in the morning and see the rays of sunlight coming through your window, you wonder if it is under those same powerful rays that so many people in the village are working non-stop for an average of 8 or 9 hours in their fields. When you finally sit down to watch the television at night, you wonder if the villagers you met and lived with are really already asleep, surrounded by darkness, since most of the village doesn’t have mains electricity.
When you return to your normal life, it’s difficult to comprehend that most people in rural Africa (especially the women) have to work so hard all day, just to survive. During the dry season, the majority of girls or women have to make a daily trek to bring home water. In Gouria, this starts before dawn and can end around midday. It’s a task that, for us, is as easy as turning a tap on and off.
What do we consider to be essential in the life of a child here in Europe? We consider the right to an education, to hygiene, to health-care, to a balanced diet as the basics. So what happens when a place exists where children don’t have these same rights? This is the reason behind The Malima Project. Malima Primary School is a place where children can learn and forget about their daily hardships. The school is now in it’s 10th year and is a successful, accepted part of community life. You, as sponsors, are providing the children with a positive education, not only changing their lives in the present but also preparing them for a better and brighter future. It really is a dream coming true.

Copyright (c) 2010 Luisa Reilly
Eugene Carmichael

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Malima Primary School/ The Malima Project Annual Report

CIF: G97910012
C/- General Pastor, 36, 46183 L’Eliana
Aptdo 168,46183, L’Eliana

For the period September 1, 2008 to August 31, 2009
13th NOVEMBER, 2009

The year for The Malima Project Charity has been one of success, but not without problems. We have continued to function in the normal manner of raising funds to support Malima Primary School. It was our hope that during this past year the final building to house two classes might have been completed. This did not happen, although we did open dialogue with two new potential contributors.

One of these is in Cameroon, and time will tell what comes of our initial contact. For the time being we would like to keep the name confidential until we have their authorizaton to do otherwise.

The one thing that is absolutely clear is that we have to add another method of fundraising as the idea of education has caught fire with the children in Cameroon. As a consequence costs of maintaining the children in both primary and secondary is skyrocketing. Now, those in secondary are talking of going into university and working in the professions.

We have been associated with the village of Gouria for ten years, and looking over what has changed since we came on the scene truly takes our breath away. The village has gone from being a place where only about 25% of children were receiving a regular education to 99% plus today. There is health care, electricity, a village borehole with year-round water, Malima is the very best primary school in the extreme north, and there are secondary schools in the near proximity. Malima Primary School has been featured on the travel program, Lonely Planet, and the Cameroonian government is now taking a little interest in doing its share to educate its citizens.

The village now has a fledgling economy with shops, and motorcycles providing a link to the outside world, as does the mobile telephone network. Electricity, made possible through a generous grant from Graham and Lynne Hunt of Valencia Property has changed everything that is fundamental about the village, and has provided a giant leap toward the 21st century.

This year we are in the midst of selling lottery tickets for Malima for the Loteria de Navidad for the second time. We are grateful to a suggestion from one our school dads who has acted as facilitator. Naturally, Malima has bought tickets for itself and we hope to be winners in some substantial way, which might go some distance toward solving our immediate financial needs.

We have an outstanding receivable from Western Union this year in that a payment of 1,500 euros that was sent to Cameroon was paid to a third party by Western Union. They seem to accept the mistake is theirs and we are now awaiting settlement of the receivable.

We look forward to the next twenty years with enthusiasm and hope. The fact that our students now have ambitions and dreams is a wonderful thing. That was completely absent ten years ago.

El Proyecto Malima/ The Malima Project

Sunday, October 11, 2009



On Tuesday July 7th I arrived in Gouria after three years absence and almost 10 years since I first visited on August 6th 1999. This year I was with Koda, Tenema and Loriana, the teacher of Italian language studies from Cambridge House (for whom it was the first trip to the village.) Superficially not a lot has changed. A few more electricity wires and many more motorbikes than before, but the whole area as always dominated by the mountains, the fields and the general leisurely atmosphere of a slowly-working rural village.
As we approach school however we can start to see a difference. There are over one hundred children on the summer school this year. Those w ho have come from preschool and are going to start SIL (year 1) in September, (this year 37 of them), are all there. The children who the teachers felt need the extra month to raise their level a bit are revising content of the past year in order to be well prepared for next year. Missing are those who last year passed their entry exams for secondary schools. They just come to do an interview and write letters to their sponsors. The 70 students already at secondary sponsored by Malima also come to do this.
In education lies the biggest change in this village. Now nearly all children of school age are at school and practically every student aspires to continue to secondary. The importance of this for the future of the area is enormous. It has been a wonderful experience to see the students who started school in the first year, some now having passed their first secondary certificates. They are looking forward to university studies and jobs as teachers, doctors, nurses, not to early marriage and many children. Time will tell.
There are many other changes visible as you look a little more deeply. The electricity is beginning to spread and now quite a lot of people are using it to help their small businesses, that is to say shops with fridges to sell cold drinks, a bar, and televisions that are used as cinemas. There are now two electric mills in the village. Both have a lot of work and the Malima mill does make money for the school. These can be heard as a constant whirr in the background. It is an obvious sign that there is more money in the community because there are now at least 10 shops. (All selling the same goods and at the same price!) whereas when I first went to Gouria ten years ago there were none at all.
Agriculture has become slightly more efficient and fields produce more than a few years ago. This is where most of the money is made. The widespread use of fertilisers means plants produce 2 or 3 cobs of corn instead of 1. The use of donkeys for ploughing has meant an enormous increase in the amount of land that a family can cultivate. In 1999 all work was done by hand and the application of new techniques such as planting corn in rows instead of all over the place helps increase production as weeding can now be done with donkeys too.
Loriana and I had some specific objectives as well as general ones, of seeing if there were any problems in the day to day running of the school and discussing projects for the future. We wanted to organise once again a census of the children in the village to check figures for school attendance, also to interview all the present secondary children and check on their problems and aspirations for the future. (When I was last in Gouria there were only 7 children in secondary schools supported by Malima) Another project was to take photos of all the children so that our gallery would be current..
The general problems were practically non existent. François has done an excellent job and the primary school has been functioning exceptionally well. To prove this, results have continued to be very good and nobody had anything negative to say. This meant we could move straight on to the specific jobs.
As a result of the census we could see that nearly all children of school age attend school, around the high 90s as a percentage. Ten years ago the figure was around 25%. Among the 5-6 years olds practically all of them attended preschool last year and will go to primary in September. There are still a number of students who do not manage to get from primary to secondary in spite of passing entrance examinations, but even that is changing and the number of years of education a child gets has risen a lot. There are still some girls who are married off early, but this is becoming a thing of the past as the value of education is understood. Also the fact that children start school at 5 or 6 and pass secondary entry at 11 or 12 means that they are away at secondary school before they are of marriageable age.
Loriana took charge of the secondary photos and interviews and was very impressed at the standard of comprehension and the ideas that the students have. An enclosed letter to sponsors is based on the interviews and the photos. It was good to chat to these students. When they were younger they did not clearly understand how they were being helped, but now they do and they ask for news of their sponsors, send individual greetings, ask about your jobs, families, etc. The photos and gifts we received before we went were all handed over and the children were delighted.
There is a lot more to tell about this trip. In particular I want to tell you about some of the difficulties endured by certain of the children studying at schools away from the village, and what they do to try to overcome them As well there are some success stories to report, but that will be in the next newsletter.
Malima is now in its tenth year. Some of you have been supporting students throughout all that time. The results of your support are clear to all. A simple “Thank you” hardly seems to be sufficient, however, this is one of those things where just the doing says it all. Please be proud!.
Judith, the Malima Support Group, and above all ,the people of Gouria.
Copyright (c) 2009 Eugene Carmichael



El martes día 7 de Julio llegue a Gouria después de tres años sin visitar y casi diez años después de mi primera visita al pueblo el día 6 agosto 1999. Este año estuve acompañada por Tenema, Koda y Loriana (profesora de italiano en Cambridge House.). Para ella fue la primera visita. Superficialmente no ha cambiado mucho. Unos cables de la luz y muchas mas motos que antes por lo que se ve, pero toso la zona dominada por las montañas, los campos de maíz y el relajado ambiente de un pueblo rural.
Llegando a la escuela sin embargo empezamos a ver una diferencia. Hay más de 100 niños hacienda la escuela de verano este año. Los que han venido del preescolar y van a empezar la SIL (Year1) en septiembre están todos ahí. Este año hay 37. Los niño que sus profesores han pensado que podrían beneficiarse de un poco extra para estar mejor preparados para el curso nuevos también están ahí. Faltan los 29 que han aprobado y seguirán a los ya 70 ex alumnos que consiguen becas para continuar su educación en secundaria. Ellos vienen solamente a fotografiarse y a escribir a sus sponsores.
En educación esta el cambio mas importante en este pueblo. Ahora casi todos lo niños de edad escolar están escolarizados y casi todos los estudiantes aspiran a continuar a secundaria. La importancia par el futuro de la zona es enorme. Ha sido una experiencia maravillosa ver a los alumnos que empezaron el primer año ahora aprobando su primer certificado en secundaría en vez de ver delante una boda precoz y muchos hijos, ver estudios universitarios y trabajos como profesores, médicos enfermeros……. El tiempo dirá.
Hay muchos otros cambios si se mira unm pco a fondo. La luz esta empezando a extenderse por en pueblo y la gente empieza utilizarlo para sus pequeños negocios, tiendas con frigoríficos, un bar, televisiones como cinemas. Hay ahora dos molinos eléctricos en el pueblo. Los dos tienen mucho trabajo. El de Malima da trabajo a dos personas y un dinero que entra en la caja del colegio. Los molinos se les oyen como un zumbido constante. Una señal de que hay más dinero en el pueblo es la cantidad de tiendas que existen. Por lo menos 10. (Todos venden las mismas cosas y al mismo precio!) La primera vez que fui a Gouria no había ninguna.
La agricultura es ahora más eficaz y los campos producen mas que hace unos años. Es de aquí que la parte mas grande del dinero viene. La utilización de fertilizantes hace que cada planta de maíz produce 2 o3 en vez de uno. La utilización de burros para errar hace que una familia puede cultivar mucho más terreno que antes. En 1999 todo el trabajo se hacia a mano. La aplicación de de nuevas técnicas como plantar el maíz en fila en vez de cómo caiga hace que se puede también quitar malas hierbas con burros.
Loriana y yo teníamos unos objetivos específicos a la vez que unos más generales. Queríamos organizar otra vez un censo de los niños del pueblo para ver cifras de escolarización, entrevistar los alumnos de secundaria, ver sus problemas y sus aspiraciones para el futuro, (cuando estaba en Gouria la ultima vez solo había 7 alumnos de Malima en secundaria) y hacer fotos de todos los niños.
No había este año problemas en el funcionamiento diario del colegio. François ha hecho un buen trabajo y como prueba tenemos los excelentes resultados. Nos metimos directamente con nuestro trabajo.
Como resultado del censo de niños vimos que casi todos os niños ya están escolarizados. Hace 10 años la cifra fue de aproximadamente 25%. Entre los niños de 5/6 años prácticamente todos asistieron al preescolar el año pasado y empezaran primaria en septiembre. Hay todavía unos alumnos que no llegan pasar de primaria o secundaria pero aun esto cambia y el número de años que los niños pasan en la educación ha subido mucho.
Hay todavía algunas chicas que se casan muy jóvenes, pero el valor de la educación se empieza a reconocer. También el hecho de que los niños empiezan la escuela con 5/6 años hace que llegan a secundaria con 11-12 años y todavía no están en edad de casarse.
Loriana se hizo carga de las fotos y entrevistas y estuve muy impresionada con el nivel de los alumnos y las ideas que tenían. Los sponsores de niños de secundaria tienen una copia de las fotos y de la cartea que escribieron basadas en las entrevistas. Estuvo bien de charlar con estos alumnos. Cuando eran pequeños no entendían en realidad como vosotros los ayudáis pero ahora si. Piden noticias de sus sponsores, en que trabajáis, como están vuestras familias etc. Para los que habíais enviado regalos y fotos los niños estaban muy contentos de recibirlos.
Hay mucho mas de contar sobre este viaje. Especialmente os quiero contar algunas de las dificultades de los niños en secundaria estudiando fuera de casa y lo que hacen para superarlas, a la vez que contaros alunas de los éxitos de nuestros alumnos. Esto será en la próxima newsletter.
Malima esta en su décimo año este año. Algunos de vosotros habeis apoyado los estudiantes durante todo ese tiempo. Los resultados estan fácil a ver. Gracias a todos de nuevo.

Judith, y el Malima Support Group..

Copyright (c) 2009 Eugene Carmichael

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Annual Report The Malima Project Charity


CIF: G97910012
C/- General Pastor, 36,46183 L’Eliana
Aptdo de correos 168, 46183, L’Eliana
(Valencia) Spain

Annual Report 2008

The year under review has been a good one, especially as it has been without the excitement and uncertainties of the previous year. We reported that our founding director of Malima, Felix Ngambou Ngadeu had left Malima and moved to England, and he had been replaced by Mr. Sop Sighen François Delefete.

François, as he prefers to be addressed, was known to Felix, and came from the same village in the Southwest of Cameroon. He has had European experience as he lived for a time in Greece. His majors are mathematics and sports. We have found him to be a very able administrator, and the hope that he would take the school to greater heights is being realised.

His report forms the Malima Annual Statement, wherein he proudly announces that 100% of our graduating students have taken and passed the Secondary school entrance examinations, thereby continuing the unbroken results over the past four years.

At the beginning we promised our students the best elementary school education that we could manage. However, the children themselves had come to enjoy the learning experience to such a degree that they all wanted to continue on to the secondary level. Consequently, we now support a school and a half. Quite naturally, there is a cost to this. At present, The Malima Project is actively seeking an “Angel” to provide the programme with a significant annual lump sum grant that would enable us to enlarge our scope and to provide Malima with financial certainty.We therefore ask that this request be furthered through word of mouth. Your assistance will be greatly appreciated.

There is now another charity in the Gouria area in the form of “Fundación Kapsiki”. Two former Malima project members, who will undertake other efforts in Gouria and surrounding villages that The Malima Project had previously felt an obligation to assume, are leading this effort. We are therefore relieved of such activities, however, the hope is that in the future we may work together to accomplish even more than working alone.

Finally, having successfully experienced eight complete years of operations, it seemed realistic to propose to Cambridge House Community College that their sponsorship from the start be recognised by a twinning of the two schools. Simply put, without the initial and continuing support of Cambridge House there would be no Malima Primary
School. This has been accepted, and in the future both names will appear on the others’ letterhead.

Judith Burnett

Malima Primary School Annual Report

Extreme North
Cameroon, West Africa
Principal Sponsor:
Cambridge House Community College, Rocafort, Valencia

Annual Report
September 2007-August 2008

The following is the Annual Report submitted by our new Director of Education, Sop Sighen François Delafete. Mr. Delafete has completed one year’s service by taking Malima Primary School from strength-to-strength. He follows the very successful term of Felix Ngambou Ngadeu, Malima’s founding director.

“The school year began on Monday, September 3rd, 2007 and ended on Friday June 6th, 2008 for the primary classes. The pre-school opened on the 24th September 2007, and closed on June 5th, 2008.

During this period, starting from the very first day, classes were very effective with an average attendance of 95%. We are still operating on a basis of 4 classrooms for six groups that dictates that the school operates on a part-time basis as follows: SIL, CP, CEI, and CM2 attend from 7:30 to 13:00 hours; and CEII and CM1 Attend from 12 noon to 18:00 hours. The pre-school children who study in a separate building attend from 8:00am to 12 noon.

This year, as in the past, we have been proud to give our children an excellent education despite a few imperfections. Out of 79 children attending in the pre-school, 25 were selected to move into the Sil class, year One of the primary department. The others are taken into E.P. Gouria, the government primary school. The movement statistics between classes were as follows: From Sil to CP: 56% passed; from CP to CE! 72% succeeded; from CE1 To CE2 the figure was 60%; CE2 to CM1, 60%; and from CE1 To CM2 the pass rate was 70%. From CM2 to enter Secondary we registered 96% for the First School Leaving Certificate, and after some remedial summer work that figure rose to 100% for the Common Entrance Examination.

These statistics give our staff and myself great pride as that means we continue the past record of 100% passing into secondary education. That number was spoiled by 10 students who dropped out during the year, although we do hope to have some of them come back.

Other items of interest that took place during the year were as follows: A Malaria Prevention Campaign was launched that involved the school and students. That was undertaken in three phases, as malaria is an enduring problem in Africa.

The school purchased an insurance policy that insures all pupils’ health.

As usual, our school took part in the sports and cultural events organised by the ministry of basic education. Though our performances in sport were not quite what I would have liked them to be, we did much better in the cultural events such as theatre, dance, and marching. We were ranked 2nd overall in the division.

We have begun the final classroom building with funds donated by an English school for girls located in London. Presently the building is awaiting its roof and completion.

Before breaking for the end of year students and teachers planted trees in the schoolyard during what was called the “Journee de L’arbre.” That took place June 4th, 2008.

Financially, I wish to express to our sponsors my gratitude on behalf of my staff and students for your kind donations that allowed us to function within budget with all expenses paid on time. We ask that you please continue your support for the work that is being undertaken here in Gouria.

One final matter of interest is that the government of Cameroon through the Department of Education has taken note of the work that we are doing, and especially the results that are being achieved, by making a donation to the school.”

Sop Sighen François Delefete
Director of Education

Malima Primary School
Gouria, Extreme North
Cameroon, West Africa

Cambridge House Community College
Rocafort, Valencia
Transcript from Cambridge House Community College website:
“For over twenty years, Cambridge House Community College has offered an excellent education to Spanish and international students. Our aim is to create a stimulating, warm, caring “home” environment, and we aim to ensure that all our students develop their full potential regardless of their natural ability. The majority of our students start at Cambridge House at the age of three.
There are waiting lists for entry at all levels of Primary and Secondary, and students wishing to join our school after Early Years are assessed to ensure that the school is suitable for the student.
We aim to equip students leaving Cambridge House at the end of their studies with the necessary qualifications to have the best possible choices. The school follows the English educational system, giving our students the possibility of studying at universities in the UK, Spain or elsewhere. In Years 12 and 13 we offer a wide range of courses, including five languages, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics (pure and applied), Biology, Technical Drawing, Social Sciences, History, Art, Geography, Literature, Drama, and Economics and Business Studies. More importantly we hope our students will go into the world as caring, responsible citizens.”


From the very start, even before the Malima Project was even conceived, Cambridge House Community College provided sabbatical time for one of its teachers, Judith Burnett, to go into Africa to work with VSO (Voluntary Services Overseas). It was while she served to provide education in the village of Mora that the Malima concept was born through working with Bene Tize who is from the village of Gouria.

Judith provided some funds, left Bene in charge of getting things started and returned to Cambridge House to continue her teaching career. Later, when the one-room class was finished, Cambridge House made the time available on several occasions to Judith to enable her to return to Cameroon to progress the programme.

Cambridge House Community College was the original sponsor of Malima. They had faith in Judith’s vision and her determination to make a success of bringing education to children who were not being served, even when many people were trying to discourage her. The faith of Cambridge House has never wavered and they continue to be fully supportive in a multiplicity of ways. This makes this school the original and most enduring encouragement for The Malima Project.

Throughout the time period under review, Cambridge House was going through its own growth stages, so to be able to look beyond their own needs at a small village in the remotest part of Cameroon was a striking and unselfish achievement. After eight successful operating years the time has come for proper recognition of the fact that in spite of the work having been done by Judith and friends, without the principal support by Cambridge House there simply would not be a Malima Project.

Cambridge House Community College has now agreed that in order to build a stronger relationship with Malima Primary School, the two schools are henceforth twinned, thereby providing Cambridge House with a more proprietary interest in Malima’s success.

Invitación a la Junta General Anual

CIF: G97910012
C/- General Pastor, 36
46183 L’Eliana
o: Aptdo 168
46183, L’Eliana
Invitación a la
Junta General Anual
Fecha: Viernes 7 de Noviembre de 2008
Hora: 17:00 h
Lugar: Cambridge House Community College
Urbanización Santa Bárbara
Rocafort, Valencia
(En la Cafetería situada en la Planta Baja)

Como Colaborador(a) / Padrino(a) de la Escuela Primaria Malima y sus proyectos asociados, estás invitado a asistir a la segunda Junta General Anual del Proyecto Malima que tendrá lugar en el sitio y a la hora arriba indicados.

En la actualidad estamos trabajando para llevar a cabo algunos proyectos que nos tienen muy entusiasmados. Nos hace mucha ilusión tener la posibilidad de presentártelos en persona, y por eso esperamos que podrás asistir a esta reunión. Si no sabes llegar a Cambridge House, llámanos al 609.878.126 o al 96.390.5019.

También queremos mejorar y poner al día nuestras relaciones y comunicación con todas las personas que colaboran con Malima. Sólo te pedimos que nos dediques un momento para rellenar el formulario a pie de página. Vamos a optar por utilizar el correo electrónico siempre y cuando sea factible, para reducir los gastos de administración, y así beneficiar directamente la financiación de nuestra escuela en Camerún.

Espero sinceramente poderte saludar personalmente el próximo 7 de Noviembre 2008.

Recibe un cálido saludo,

Judith Burnett



Nombre: ......................................... Apellidos: ..........................................................................................
Dirección Postal:.........................................................................................................................................
Código Postal: ........................ Población: ........................................................ Provincia:......................
Teléfono de contacto (fijo): ............................................... (móvil): .........................................................
Dirección de correo electrónico .................................................................................................................

Esta información personal será utilizada sólo a efectos de comunicarnos contigo y no la compartiremos con ninguna otra asociación o entidad de ningún tipo.

AGM 2008 Invitation


CIF: G97910012
C/- General Pastor, 36
46183 L’Eliana
Aptdo 168
46183, L’Eliana
Invitation to attend the
Annual General Meeting
Friday, November 7th, 2008, at 5pm
Cambridge House Community College, Rocafort, Valencia
In the Cafeteria on the lower level

As a Supporter / Sponsor of Malima Primary School and associated projects, I am writing to invite you to attend the second Annual General Meeting of El Proyecto Malima / The Malima Project charity, to be held as noted above.

We are presently working on some exciting developments that we would like to present to you in person, therefore we hope you are able to attend. Should you require directions please call 606 025 356, or 96 390 5019.

We are also keen to improve and update our communications with all supporters of Malima. We ask that if you have not already done so that you take a moment to complete the form below. Our preference is to use e-mail communications as much as possible as this will reduce administration costs, the benefit of which can be passed directly to the school in Cameroon.

I hope to look forward to welcoming you to the AGM on Friday, 7th November 2008 at 5pm, in the Cafeteria on the lower level at Cambridge House Community College, Rocafort, Valencia.

Kind Regards,

Judith Burnett

First Name__________________________________Surname______________________
Postal Address________________________________________________________
Postal Code______________________Town________________________________
Province_____________________________Telephone Contact_____________________

Your information will only be used specifically to communicate with you by us and will not be shared with any other group or entity.

Friday, November 23, 2007




September 1, 2006 – August 31, 2007

A Tumultuous, Exciting Year

Malima Primary School
Camerún, Africa Occidental

Resumen de Actividades
1 de Septiembre de 2006 – 31 de Agosto de 2007

Un año Tumultuoso e Ilusionante

This was the year of change at Malima Primary School. Our director of education, Felix Ngambou Ngadeu, to whom primarily goes the credit for the successful completion of academic successes, as well as overseeing the developing infrastructure, moved on at the end of the school year to take up residence in the United Kingdom. Susy King, one of our VSO volunteers who completed two years in Gouria, having contributed greatly to the overall progress, also left with her newly acquired title of Mrs. Ngadeu.

Este ha sido un año de cambios en la Escuela Primaria Malima. Nuestro jefe de estudios, Felix Ngambou Ngadeu, a quien debemos el mérito por el éxito académico de le escuela, además de supervisar el desarrollo de las infraestructuras, se fue a vivir al Reino Unido a finales del pasado curso académico. Al mismo tiempo, Susy King, una de las voluntarias de VSO, que había completado dos años en Gouria, habiendo contribuido en gran manera al progreso general, también nos dejó con su nuevo título de Sra. Ngadeu.

As director, Felix had every right to hold his head high when he stepped into the sunset as he saw his third straight graduating class finish with 100% results. No school can lay claim to an eternal record such as this, but it is his for three straight years. This is not only a glowing testament to Felix, but also to the teachers who each did their part, but most of all, it is an outstanding tribute to our very determined students who chose as their motto, “ Failure is not an Option.”

Como director, Félix tenía todo el derecho de llevar su cabeza bien alta a la caída de aquella tarde en que vio cómo su tercera clase consecutiva de aspirantes a graduados terminaba el curso con el 100 % de resultados positivos. Ninguna escuela puede aspirar a conseguir siempre un resultado como este, pero esto es lo que ha conseguido Félix por tres años consecutivos. No sólo estamos pensando en el mérito de Félix sino a todo el resto de profesores y sobre todo al esfuerzo de los mismos alumnos que escogieron como lema ‘el Fracaso no es una Opción para Nosotros’

Quite naturally it was emotional to say farewell to two people who have been so instrumental in the well being of The Malima Project. They began their new lives together with our blessings and best wishes for a happy and bright future, and with our
eternal gratitude for a job well done!

Naturalmente nos emocionamos al despedir a estas dos personas que ha sido tan importantes para la vitalidad y buena marcha del Proyecto Malima. Empezaron su vida juntos con nuestra bendición y buenos deseos para un futuro brillante y feliz, y con nuestra eterna gratitud por su trabajo bien hecho.

Mr. Alex Free, the VSO sports coordinator volunteer also moved on after having fulfilled his one-year commitment. Unfortunately, he did suffer illness for a significant period of that time, but did his very best when his health allowed, and for that we are very grateful.

Alex Free, voluntario de VSO como coordinador de deportes, también se fue después de cumplir su año de compromiso. Desgraciadamente estuvo enfermo durante parte de ese tiempo, pero hizo todo lo que pudo mientras su salud se lo permitió, y le estamos muy agradecidos por ello.

The school was left in a ready state to go from strength to strength. We took great pleasure in welcoming the new director, Mr. Sop Sighen François Delefete. He comes from the same village as Felix, Bamenda in the Southwest of Cameroon. He has lived at times in Greece, Cyprus and South Africa. He holds Secondary School teaching degrees, his speciality being Economics He is also strong on sport, having played football at one time for the Cameroon national squad.

La escuela estaba preparada para ir de más a mejor. Recibimos con entusiasmo al nuevo director, el Sr. Sop Sighen François Delefete. Viene del mismo pueblo que Felix, Bamenda, en el Sureste del Camerún. Ha vivido en Grecia, Chipre y Sudáfrica. Tiene el título de Profesor de Secundaria, especializado en economía. Otro de sus puntos fuertes es el deporte, y ha jugado en la selección camerunesa de fútbol.

François, as he prefers to be called has proved himself very capable as he has opened the school on time and managed the inevitable last minute glitches with every ounce of professionalism. We are very pleased to have François at the helm, and we look forward to working with him as we go forward.

François, como él mismo prefiere que le llamemos, ha demostrado hasta el momento su gran capacidad, lo preparó todo muy bién, de forma que la escuela pudo abrir a tiempo a pesar de los cambios habidos y manejó con gran profesionalidad los imprevistos de última hora. Estamos muy contentos de tener a François al timón, y esperamos contar con él a medida que vamos avanzando.

Fresh, Clean Water.

Of particular exciting note was the successful find of an underground water lens that promises sustainable and clean potable water in the village. The village itself must now provide a form of pump to bring the water to the surface.

Agua Limpia y Potable

Un hecho de singular importancia fue el hallazgo de agua subterránea que promete el suministro de agua potable al pueblo. Ahora sólo falta que los mismos habitantes del pueblo consigan proveerse de algún tipo de bomba que suba el agua a la superficie.

The Next Twelve Months

We anticipate that the twelve months from September 2007, will principally be a period of consolidation, with the exception that the Project has received a very generous gift from a British school for Girls. This gift comes at a most timely moment, and its impact will change Malima completely from one that has offered its students education on a part-time basis, due to a lack of space, to full-time education for all.

Los Próximos Doce Meses

De momento nos parece que los doce meses siguientes a septiembre del 2007 serán principalmente un periodo de consolidación, con la circunstancia excepcional de que el Proyecto ha recibido una donación muy generosa de una Escuela Británica de Niñas. Esta donación llega en un momento muy oportuno, y el resultado transformará una escuela que ha ofrecido a sus alumnos educación a tiempo parcial, por falta de aulas, en otra que ofrecerá educación a tiempo completo para todos.

The funds will be used to build the final classroom block with two more classes, and a multi-purpose smaller room separating the two.

Los fondos se utilizarán en construir el bloque final, con dos aulas más y una habitación un poco más pequeña entre las dos para uso multidisciplinar.


The year has been one of mixed emotions. Through it all we pay tribute to our teaching staff who have shown unfailing dedication. They have honoured the “No child left behind” pledge by liberally giving of their time and skills. It is also encouraging to note that no child wants to be left behind.

The school has grown in every way, quite literally bursting at its seams. Malima is the model in The Extreme North of how education should be done. In the new school year we shall all seek to reach for new heights.

“The Best is Yet to Come!”


Ha sido un año de emociones contrapuestas. En todo momento hacemos constar la admiración por nuestro equipo docente, que ha demostrado total dedicación. Han honrado el lema ‘Ningún niño se queda atrás’ con una entrega incondicional de su tiempo y su capacidad. También resulta estimulante constatar que ningún niño quiere quedarse atrás.

La escuela ha crecido en todos los sentidos, literalmente reventando las costuras. En el Extremo Norte del Camerún, Malima es el modelo a seguir en educación. En el próximo curso escolar trataremos de alcanzar nuevas metas.

“Lo mejor está todavía por llegar”

Sunday, September 9, 2007


The Malima Project has received the best news of all. The fabulous touring SKA Band, "The Toasters" (, the most enduring of them all, 25 years on and still counting, has recognized the outstanding achievements of The Malima Project (TMP) be adopting TMP as their Official Charity.

This, we take as the greatest endorsement, and we are so encouraged by this development.

If we seem to be singing our own praises and blowing our own horn, this is not exactly correct, because the praise goes to those people who actually do the work. What those of us in the executive have got right are several things:

  • Our basic funding comes from children outside Cameroon who learn from the children in Cameroon what it is like not to have the things that we take for granted.

  • Our children therefore learn at an early age to care for others not as fortunate as themselves, something many adults never learn.

  • From the very beginning, we insisted that the villagers of Gouria would have to be fully involved in whatever the Project was engaged in, because they had to help themselves. Those of us on the outside only provide the finance, the guidance, oversight and control. They have to provide the man/woman power. This they do superbly well, and in the process a great deal of outstanding progress has been made.

  • Finally, the money that you donate is sent to Cameroon in full, except of course for banking/transfer charges. Administration expenses that arise here in Spain are funded through personal and corporate philantrophy. However, The Malima Project does not have any employees, it is a Not-for-Profit charity.

So, we especially welcome the generosity of "The Toasters", and we are very proud to be partners in our charitable endeavours. The beautiful music of "The Toasters" just became sweeter still.

Thanks Guys!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007




We take great pleasure in introducing our new Director of Education at Malima Primary School.

He is Mr. Sop Sighen François Delafete. He is a native son of Cameroon, coming from the same village of Bamenda, in the South West of the country as Felix, his predecessor. François, as he prefers to be known by, is a travelled man, having spent time in South Africa, Cyprus, and Greece. His speciality is Economics, and also of very exciting note is the fact that he is a keen footballer in a nation that has every reason to take great pride in its football achievements.

We have begun our working cooperation with François the way we want to go forward. We have much work to do to build on a very solid foundation. We wish François well in his endeavours and we look to the future with hope as we journey to the next level.

François, we welcome you to the team and we pledge our support.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Changing of the Guard

Felix, standing fourth from left.

As we say goodbye to our former director, I am taking the unusual step of posting our reference for all to see as we owe so much to Felix for having brought the work in the village to its present level, and for having provided for his succesor such a solid foundation to go on to the next level.


CIF: G97910012
C/- General Pastor, 36
46183 L’Eliana
Aptdo 168
46183, L’Eliana

July 1, 2007

To Whom it may Concern

This is to introduce Mr. Felix Ngambou Ngadeu, (Felix), a teacher and native of Cameroon, West Africa.

After several years of teaching in the Cameroonian educational system, in the year 2000 Felix was appointed Head teacher at the non/profit Malima Primary School, a charitable private school authorized by The Department of Education for the Extreme North of Cameroon. Malima Primary School serves the children of the village of Gouria, as well as their parents through adult education courses.

The remit that Felix accepted was to create something from nothing. We had hoped, with the modest financial backing at our disposal that he would build the very finest elementary school in the Extreme North of Cameroon. That he has achieved just that in only seven short years stands as testimony to the caliber of person that he is.

The Malima Project has the backing of The Malima Support Group of Valencia, Spain. It is this group that is responsible for funding and general guidance of the project. We have worked closely with Felix over the years, and together we have accomplished many things for the village of Gouria that extend well beyond the boundries of providing education. With the involvement of Felix,
· the school had to be built, one classroom at a time.
· Our students had to obtain birth certificates, as the custom in that village had been not to bother with such formality.
· The students had to be immunized against the usual childhood diseases.
· When funds became available Felix arranged with the electrical supply company to connect the village to a power supply for the very first time in its history.
· The first use of electricity was to install a milling machine as a major labour-saving device.
· Funds were provided through The Malima Support Group to rehabilitate old public school buildings so as to turn them into facilities for the government to resume its responsibility of educating its young people. Felix took the lead and provided his deputy head teacher to the government.
· In April, 2007, funds became available to try to solve the age-old problem of sufficient, potable water for the village. On April 18th, a successful borehole brought in a sustainable flow of clean, potable, and abundant supply of water for year-round use.
· Finally, his crowning achievement as Principal was to preside over the three successive year’s graduating classes wherein 100% of those graduating passed their final exams, as well as their entrance exams into secondary education. This has to be seen against a backdrop of 20-30% results from other learning institutions in the area.

Felix leaves Malima Primary School and the village of Gouria with a sterling record of achievements. He has set very high standards to be followed.

Having enjoyed such high caliber of cooperation from Felix, and having achieved so much in our collaboration, we are naturally unhappy to be losing him, but we do understand that it is to be expected that he would want to move on to other challenges.

We take this opportunity to publicly and sincerely thank Felix, and to wish him well in his future endeavours. This is surely an unusual letter of recommendation, and a bit longer than most, but Felix Ngambou Ngadeu is a most unusual person.

The Malima Support Group

Saturday, June 16, 2007

All Change

The Malima Project must surely be one of the most successful efforts of its kind. I have no hesitation is saying that as so much has been accomplished over the shortest period of time. In less than ten years, (eight years to be exact), a very small charity effort has seen huge returns. The driving force has always been one young woman, Judith Burnett, but she, together with Judy Allen, another teacher at Cambridge House Community College, went about the business of keeping the faith that what had been started in Gouria, northern Cameroon would grow into something of value.

So, from very humble beginnings to the present has been the most wonderful of journeys, and could only have happened because it was destiny's choice. First there came the tiny steps, and later the pace picked up and greater strides were made.
An established Spanish NGO recognized the very sincere efforts that were being undertaken and offered to help with some of the administration. In 2003, the Consejo Interhospitalario de Cooperacion (CIC) offered to take the work of The Malima Project under its wing, and to act as receiving cashier and trustees, even though they were really engaged in the work of providing hospitals and clinics to third world countries.
For four years this arrangement worked well, during which time The Malima Project realized superb success. However, mid 2007 it came time for the CIC to turn its full attention to its core business and for The Malima Project to stand alone. By that time The Malima Project had become fully experienced and more than capable of conducting its own affairs, and so, effective June 11th, 2007 it was registered as a charity in its own right under the name of "El Proyecto Malima/The Malima Project".
We thank the CIC for their help and wish them well!
For "El Proyecto Malima/The Malima Project", it's Onward, Upward, and Forward! The best is yet to come!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Breaking News!

The results are in for the final school exams at Malima for the 2006-2007 year, and for the Secondary entrance exams for entrance in September. Once again, Congratulations are in order as Malima has done it again! Three graduating classes in succession and three 100% results. In some places we say that the second success is a repeat, and the third success is a three-peat.

These results are achieved by hard work on the part of the teachers and the Principal; determination on the part of the children, and the Sheer Will on the part of all that "No child shall be left Behind:" In some places that is the motto of the Department of Education. At Malima, we live it!

The good news just keeps getting better.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Story Behind the Story/ The Awesome Power of Children

I was reflecting that as wonderful as the story of the finding of a source of sustainable, clean, potable water for the residents of the village of Gouria is, there is an even more outstanding story, and that is, the source of the money that allowed us to make the effort in the first place.

For that we must go back to the very beginning. As part of the vision of Judith Burnett, whose initiative The Malima Project is, she drew up a whole Wish List of things that she would have liked to see accomplished, and in going over that list we realised that all significant points have been achieved.

That is so neat!

On her list there was a first class elementary school; (Done!) A library; connection to electricity; a Mill for grain; a health clinic; a permanent source of clean water, (Done! Done! Done! Done! and Done!) Women´s Centre/Cultural Centre, in progress.

The other objective that we started with was the idea to teach children from both Spain and Cameroon at the same time. By appealing to the parents of Cambridge House Community College to persuade their children on the idea of making a small sacrifice by giving up a part of their monthly allowance to pay the school fees for a child in Cameroon, both sets of children received an education at the same time.

The children in Africa received a solid grounding in elementary education while at the same time acquiring a friend overseas who could help them to understand what life was like in another country outside Africa. This broadened their horizons and gave them something to aim for.

For the child in Spain they learned what life was like from someone they were actively helping to receive a good education. It also focussed their minds on how people so much less fortunate than themselves lived. They therefore had something for comparative purposes to realize how good their lives are. They also learned at a very early age to care for others who need help.

The story of the collection of the money was that all of the funds used for the purpose of exploring for water came from very young children. They turned their School Open House days into fundraising. When they drank the contents of a bottle of water they kept the bottle and then refilled it with small change. They participated in other school related fundraising events until we barely had enough money to make an initial try.

So, that´s where the money came from!

How does one adequately thank all the parents and teachers and especially the children for making this possible? The truth is that no-one has yet composed a poem beautiful enough to express gratitude of that magnitude. In fact I am sure that there are no words large enough to cover the situation.

Perhaps it´s quite enough for each and everyone who made their contribution, large and small to take on to themselves the fact that because of their intervention they have given the gift of life, for water is life, to even those not yet born.

Be Proud! Be very, very Proud, for you have had the privilege of doing something very rare. You have made a life-changing difference.

Congratulations to the children and their parents, administration and teachers of Cambridge House Community College of Valencia; Newton College of Elche; and Rivas-Luna of L´Eliana, Valencia.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Solved! A 2007 year-old Problem

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007. That's the date to remember as the day when everything changed in the village of Gouria, in the Extreme North, Cameroon, West Africa. That's the day when engineers probing for water found a mother-lode underground water lens in the village, and that's the date when life expectancy took a quantum leap forward.

Water is the stuff of life, and for a village that ran completely dry for many months of the year, a source of clean, potable, and sustainable water supply within the village is a major development, and the latest chapter in a period of only seven years.

During that time education came to the village in the form of the very best private school in the entire extreme north. Malima Primary School is realizing outstanding results. Then came health care in an accessible clinic; and the next major event was the connection of the village with electricity; and now, the jewel in the crown, Water, water, water.

To say that those of us who make up the G8, otherwise known as The Malima Support Group are happy is to grossly understate the case. We believe it to be a sign that this was ordained to happen by the speed with which it took place. On Monday, April 16th the first try took place but resulted in an unsuccessful attempt. On Wednesday, 18th, a second attempt was made and tapped into the very thing that was almost too good to hope for.

The knock-on effect of this development is so awesome that it is hard to envision all at once. We can expect better health, better year-round nutrition through a more balanced diet; more plentiful food supply through the ability to grow more varied crops; and yes, ultimately, a longer life expectancy.

For children not yet born they will inherit an environment within which will exist the framework for a quality of life that simply did not exist before.

So well done to the China Geo-engineering Corporation in Cameroon; and well done to all of you who kept the faith. Well done to Felix and to all of us, and especially to Judith Burnett, Congratulations! Your dreams have come true. How special is that?

The taste of success is so very sweet.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

What a difference one person can make!

I was just thinking about how things get started, and what does it take to make a difference. The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that it almost always takes one person with a vision to start change. The Wright brothers are generally credited with having taken the lead towards modern aviation, but I'll bet that only one of them awoke to explain his dream to the other.
And so it was in the case of The Malima Project and the great success that has been achieved. It took one person with a dream of one day establishing her own school in a place in which it was truly needed.
A young woman by the name of Judith Burnett, from Bristol, England had that dream, and found herself in the right place at the right time to receive a request from a resident of the village of Gouria, in the Extreme North of Cameroon, West Africa, asking, " can you help to bring education to our village that has been ignored for so long?"
In 1999 Judith's project began very modestly with a one-room school house on the prairie. When the first classes were held there were far more children outside the building then inside. I have been taking stock of what has been achieved since then. It makes formidable reading.
Judith is now joined by seven other friends, and we call ourselves The Malima Support Group. (MSG).
That one-room building has now been joined by three other double rooms, and will soon be joined by another. The school now has slightly more than 200 regular attendees in elementary education, and a Kindergarten of more than 100 students waiting to enter the mainstream education at the correct age. We hold adult education courses for the parents who never had the opportunity to have an education.
We soon realised that none of our children actually existed from a legal sense as none had birth certificates. That has now be remedied, and parents now routinely register their newborns.
None of our children had been vaccinated, so, a program had to be developed of childhood vaccinations.
As the children gained the ability to read the need for a library arose, and so the village now has one.
Electricity main lines went right overhead the village, but no-one was connected. MSG brought electricity to the village, starting first with the school. That was an earth shattering development as with one giant leap the village is brought into the 21st century. Nothing will ever be the same.
The daily routine of a housewife centers mainly around the need to obtain sufficient water, firewood, and to grind enough grain, a long and exhausting labour intensive task. So, the MSG, through the generous donation of a walking angel arranged to install a Mill, taking advantage of the newly arrived electricity. The hours that will be saved with this device is mind blowing.
Two more walking angels and a Nissan 4X4 was made possible as a gift to the school and the village. Now they have an ambulance, and a general workhorse that can be even more valuable than they are in modern society.
Throughout Africa, there is a problem known as "A failure to thrive Syndrome". This is due partly to a lack of resources and a lack of knowledge about basic nutritional values. We arranged for a class to be conducted in the village for 15 prime candidates who will share their knowledge with other villages in the area. That was an unqualified success.
The proof of the pudding is in the graduation figures. Normally, for the Extreme North graduation numbers are between the 20 to 30% range. We have had two classes graduate from Malima Primary School. For both years the figure was 100% of the children passed their final exams with Malima, and more telling, 100% passed their entrance exams for secondary education.
That's not magic, but it is very close to it!
The women of the village have long been under appreciated. Now they are to have their own center where they can learn new skills and share some serious quality time with one another.
What's next? Water. The eternal problem, or so it seems. If the engineers now probing for an underground lens meet with success, the knock-on effect will be absolutely Huge!
Wish us luck!

Friday, April 6, 2007

Water on our Minds

Water, the very stuff of life is the biggest concern for the people of Gouria. During the rainy season when the rains actually come, it is a time of plenty. The crops grow in abundance and the grasses grow tall, and all's right and green with the world.

Should the rains fail to come, a very bad situation becomes worse leading to such misery that is beyond the imagination of the outside world to comprehend. Even under "normal" circumstances the situation reaches an appalling state. This year, The Malima Support Group in Valencia, Spain, with the help of many people who have donated funds, have authorised and paid for two initiatives: (a) We will experiement by using guttering on the rooftops of the school buildings at Malima to collect the water during the rains; and huge industrial plastic containers is where the water will be stored.

(b) During the week of April 2nd, 2007, a firm of engineers are seeking out an underground lens from which water can be brought to the surface via a borehole. It is so very important that the drill is successful, but there can be no guarantees, so we shall just have to cross our fingers that we shall be successful. If so, a problem that has existed for over 2007 years will be solved.

Further, a new method to Africa will be tried in Gouria, that being the science of Perma Culture, whereby collected water will be used for irrigation through perforated tubing producing a slow drip to crops. This will extend the growing season with the knock-on effect of improved year-round health prospects for villagers.

Added to the recent introduction of electricity to the village, Gouria will have taken a giant leap forward into the 21st century. Can you imagine how thrilling that is for a people so long ignored?


Saturday, March 10, 2007

Malima Primary School. Update, March 10th, 2007

The Malima Support Group have just completed the transfer of funds to Cameroon for the purpose of exploring for a sustainable source of potable water in underground lenses. Should this initiative be successful this would be the solution to a problem that has existed since time began in this region.

The village of Gouria goes from a situation of plenty of water in the rainy season, to drought conditions when the most dreadful circumstances prevail. Hopefully, a borehole will find those underground water reservoirs that surely do exist. That would change the quality of life year-round beyond the wildest imagination of the residents.

In order to get a good idea of what residents have to deal with during the dry season, the next time that you wash your floor and are at the point of discarding the water, remember, that is what they have to drink and bathe with. We can only cross our fingers and hope that is all about to change.

And speaking about change, I just received an e-mail from Felix, (Malima’s Director) wherein he tells me that he is taking a course in computer literacy. He has sent me the accounts in XCEL format. Seven years ago when the school began, communications between Spain and Cameroon was painfully slow and laborious. No-one there had even heard of the internet. Indeed, communication between the north and the south of the country was virtually non-existent. Now we are using computers at Malima.

Mobile telephones were just being introduced seven years ago, but only in the capital city of Yaounde. Now, the country is covered, and even in the remote area of Gouria, Felix can go to the top of the Malima crest and find a directional signal and call Spain.

Meanwhile, the internet is coming more into its own. Village people are so excited by this that they will make the day trip into Maroua, or perhaps into Mokolo, which is closer to send and receive and to surf.

Our village was under-served in just about every way when we were introduced to it by Bene Tize, co-founder of the school. Within the intervening period the village has come to acquire the finest school in the Extreme North; a public library, its own shops, electricity, another mill, and a donated 4X4 that will serve several vital functions. The children of the school all have birth certificates that prove that they actually exists, and are vaccinated.

And now, for the most difficult challenge of all: to find a sustainable source of clean and potable water. That would be a dream come true. For that we need everybody to cross everything that can be crossed and to wish with all your might.

Stay tuned!


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Houston: Za Eagle has Landed!

Malima Primary School
Village of Gouria
Mandara Mountains
Extreme North, Cameroon
West Africa
Arrival at the school was on Friday, February 23rd. The peace
and tranquility of the scene in the photo was broken by our Three Musketeers roaring into the yard and doing laps around the flagpole in a great cloud of dust and a blaring of the horn. This brought forth from the classrooms 200 very excited children all crying in unison, David! David! David! It's enough to bring tears (of joy) to a grown man. He said I shall return, and he did with a magnificent cadaeu and two more adventurers.
All this is happening in a village that was utterly forgotten seven short years ago. They were at the back of beyond where nothing ever happened, and now, they have electricity, a school, but not just any school, the very best school in the extreme North that is the envy of many, a 4x4 vehicle that is the property of the school, and now, for the first time in 2007 years, they may have a source of clean, potable, and sustainable water if all goes well and the borehole that is near to being drilled brings forth water.
It is possible that the people of Gouria are wondering just what happened all of a sudden. Perhaps its true, good things can come to those who wait.
Dave, Matt and John will all wish to tell their story in their own words when they get back, but for now all of you who are well wishers can rest easy. The lads are safe, sound, and accomplished. Isn't it just great to know not just one, but Three Super-Heroes! Well Done Guys!!!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

February Newsletter

Malima News

January 2007

In November Malima received 2 more visitors from among our supporters. David, since his first visit last year that he described to us in one of our earlier newsletters, returned to the village. In doing so he not only fulfilled the promise he made when he was there before but also worked on some important developments. Maria Teresa Pomares Salceda accompanied him. She is the former owner and director of Newton College in Elche, one of our longest standing and most committed supporting schools. For Maria Teresa this was a visit she had been wanting to make ever since Newton College first began to help Malima. She describes the visit as one of the most moving experiences of her life and she herself will tell us more about her personal experience at a later date.
This visit was a very successful one from all points of view. David and Maria Teresa were able to witness the installation the of the electric mill, a follow-up project to the bringing of electricity to the village, aimed at making the lives of the village women easier, providing employment for several people and giving Malima its first self financing.
They were also able to meet the Chinese company who dig boreholes in the area and discuss the possibility of digging in Gouria. This will be invaluable to the village. Following these discussions we hope we will be able to engage the company for this job on their return from the South of Cameroon where they have been based during December and January.

Maria Teresa was particularly impressed by the need of the women for support to train them in professions that could give them some income. She has therefore agreed to finance the building and equipping of a women’s centre in Gouria.

Meanwhile David is at this very moment involved in the delivery of a donated vehicle for the use of the Malima Project and the village. He left with two drivers on February 9th and driving to Gouria across the desert. The trip will take around 15 days and he is hoping to arrive on 25th February. We all wish him the best of luck on this trip and looking forward to seeing him safely back home at the beginning of March.

A final very important note: we have been asked by the NGO,CIC, who act as trustees for the Malima funds, to ask all our sponsors not to use the word ‘padrino’ on the bank slips and transfers, substituting the word ‘sponsor’. This is a requirement from the Spanish NGO co-ordinators to distance their member organisations from scandals that have arisen in the past. We hope this will not inconvenience any of you and that you will be able to change anything necessary, (standing orders, for example) without too much trouble. We thank you all again for your support the Malima Project.

Judith (Malima Support Group.)
Malima News

Enero 2007

En Noviembre Malima recibió otra vez la visita de 2 de nuestros sponsors. David, después de su visita anterior la cual nos describió en uno de nuestros boletines anteriores, volvió al pueblo. Con esta visita no solo cumplía con la promesa que hizo en su primera visita pero también trabajó en algunas asuntos muy importantes. Fue acomp0añado por Maria Terea Pomares ex –propietaria y directora de Newton College, Elche uno de nuetros primeros sponsores. Para Maria Teresa esta fue una visita que tenia pendiente desde el primer momento que su colegio ayudó a Malima. Ella describe la experiencia como una de la más significativas de su vida. Ella misma nos la contara en un futuro boletín

La visita fue exitosa desde todos punto de vista. David Y Maria Teresa pudieron ver la instalación del molino eléctrico , un proyecto que seguía la electrificación del pueblo con la idea de hacer mas fácil la vida de la mujeres del pueblo, dar empleo a alguna personas y dar a Malima su primer pequeño proyecto de auto financiación.
Pudieron también hablar con la compañía china que hacen perforaciones en la zona para ver la posibilidad de que hacen una en el pueblo. Esto sera de gran valor para el pueblo . seguido estas discusiones esperamos poder contratar a esta compañía cuando vuelven del sur de Camerún donde han estado basados durante diciembre y enero.

Maria Teresa fue especialmente impresionada por la situación de las mujeres y la necesidad de darlas apoyo en cuanto a formación en profesiones que las pueden dar algunos ingresos. Ella ha decidido financiar la construcción y equipamiento de un centro para las mujeres en Gouria.

Mientras tanto David esta en este momento involucrado en la entrega de un vehículo donado para el uso del proyecto Malima y el pueblo. Saldrá con dos conductores el día 9 febrero y cruzara el desierto hasta llegar a Gouria. Esta previsto que el viaje costara 15 días y espera llegar el día 25 de febrero. Le deseamos mucha suerte para el viaje y esperamos su regreso al principios de marzo.

Finalmente y muy importante la ONG, CIC de la cual formamos parte nos ha pedido de describir nuestros ‘supporters’ como ‘sponsors’.y dejar de utilizar la palabra ‘padrino y apadrinamiento. Esto sigue la instrucción de la coordinadora de ONGs c el objetivo de distanciarse de problemas que han surgido en el pasado. Esperamos que esto no os causara molestias y que podréis cambiar transferencias sin problemas.
Os damos de nuevo la gracias por vuestro apoyo al proyecto de Malima.

Judith (Malima Support Group.)