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Far North Cameroon: Crying for Water| 27mins
Director: Dr Henry NJAKOI | Producer: Heifer International Cameroon
Focus Years: 2009 | Country: Cameroon
Subject Tags: africa, cameroon, food, livelihood, water
Quality Tags: Optimistic, Slow, Activating, Harmonizing
Created in 1983 from what used to be the vast North Province, the FAR NORTH Region with its chief town MAROUA spans 600 km from the Guider Mountain Chain to Lake Chad. With a staggering population estimated at about 2,500,000 inhabitants, the Far North is the most populated region in Cameroon. It has a surface area of 34,000 km². Maroua, the gate-way into this Safari Land is divided into two parts by two seasonal rivers, the KALLIAO and the TSANAGA. Her ancestral heritage is embedded in the many mountains that form a massive chain around it. But far beyond the charming beauty of this region, the Far North is also one of the hottest spots in Cameroon with temperatures sometimes as high as 45 ͦC. The climate here is Sudano-Sahelian: dry and hot with a long dry season that can go for at least 7 months each year. Here, like in some parts of Africa, the insufficient rainfall is the greatest adversity to the different urban and rural communities who are condemned to irk out a living from the sand and rock. Little wonder that the crucial problem of life and survival remains the fire need of WATER. This documentary was done in the hot month of April, 2009. As soon as one leaves Maroua and its leafy avenues, life seems to have come to a stand-still in almost all the village settings. They all look motionless and the clock seems to have stopped ticking out here. Like a furnace, the heat out here is unbearable. As you get closer to the mud and thatch huts there is an unusual crowd of women and children around water points. After a long wait, they all hope to go back home with a few gallons of this precious liquid. Despite the arduous task of drawing water and the long distance they have to cover, these villagers always have a wonderful time telling stories to ease the strain of time and the scourging sun. Undoubtedly, WATER is the most precious commodity in this sandy and rocky country side. Yes, WATER is a MUST and each homestead must go out there to fetch it at all cost. It is a matter of survival. After toiling in the sun for hours, the water they fetch is far from clean but in the face of this harsh reality imposed by nature, alternative solutions are but a wish. BARZA and MANDAYA, quaint villages near MOKOLO in the MAYO- TSANAGA division, OUZANG in the sunny MOKOLO subdivision, NOUBOU, a seductive countryside hemmed in the mountains of MOUTOURWA about 100 Km form MAROUA, DOUVANGAR, a stone-infested village lost in the hills west of MAROUA, DOUROUM, a remote village in the outskirts of MERI, south-west of MAROUA, BOBOYO, 10 Km from KAELE and MOUTOURWA, about 50 Km to the South of MAROUA, all in MAYO-KANI division are communities covered in this documentary. Boreholes, wells, pools, dams and artificial lake serve as a converging point and the determining factor for survival for both human and animals, not only for these communities in the Far North region of Cameroon, but also for herdsmen and animals coming from far-off Chad, Niger and Nigeria. As adaptive mechanism, in some communities, women have adapted judicious system in rationing the daily limited quantity of water available in drill-well. Though the quantity or quality of water is still far from desired, the people in these communities use ingenuity to conquer the cruel reality of the earth. DR HENRY NJAKOI, FORMER COUNTRY DIRECTOR HEIFER INTERNATIONAL CAMEROON (HIC): INTEREST OF HIC As the northern lands get dryer and hotter, only the concerted effort of stakeholders can quench the thirst of village communities out here. It is hoped that in the not-so-distant future, the beautiful Far-North Region, nerve-center and commercial capital in this part of Cameroon will regain her status of yester years. In this drive, nothing is as precious as water, the ultimate source of life.

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