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Recollections from our Tour Diaries:
by Mary Maimo

Starting in 1997 with a tour of the Northwest Province of Cameroon where music, magic and street theater was used to illustrate the principles for prevention of HIV/AIDS, a great relationship was sown between Project Troubador and the women of Kongadzem. We continued to work with this dynamic group of over 100 women leaders throughout the region in ‘99, ’01, and ‘02. Each tour would finish with a workshop on various theater techniques that the women could use to adapt to their needs after our departure. The last time we visited in October of 2002, we gave the Kongadzem Youth Club a grant of $3000 to continue the fight against HIV/AIDS using the tools shared by Project Troubador. Following are some thoughts from Mary Maimo, Bamenda Branch President of Kongadzem:

There is nothing so great, exciting and fulfilling in life as making new friends, enriching an experience and creating a long lasting relationship. It all started like a dream - a dream come true. A longing for someone to nurture us .... Project Troubador changed that dream to a reality.

To Kongadzem women, Project Troubador is more than gold and silver. We learned that HIV/AIDS sensitization was not only lecture, lecture, lecture! It could also be very successfully done with sketches, drama and music. They widened our scope, made us more popular, reinforced our skills through the training workshops they organized for Kongadzem women and the Youths’ Health Club on sketch writing, mask making and Playback Theater. Our organization has gained a lot of respect because of what we are able to do on HIV/AIDS. Government and non-governmental organizations now get us involved when it comes to HIV/AIDS because to them we are an old hand in the fight and have gained a lot of rich experience working with Troubador.

Recently we facilitated a “training of trainers” workshop on the community participatory approach for the fight against HIV/AIDS, funded by the Provincial Technical Group for the fight against HIV/AIDS and Project Troubador. We worked with six communities, six days per community. During this training Kongadzem women and the Youth Club thrilled villagers and students with Playback Theater skills learned from Project Troubador.

Troubador has attained her goals and objectives. She has become a household word in schools, colleges, villages and palaces. She has impressed thousands of Cameroonians in a very highly talented manner. Lives have been saved because the targeted populations have been filled with messages on HIV/AIDS and are trying to put what they learned into practice.

Project Troubador,we love you all. We thank you for your excessive generosity. We are still waiting for you in Cameroon. The battle has just started. There remain thousands of Cameroonians in all nooks and crannies whose hearts you still need to touch. Don’t give up the fight.

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