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Even in the cities it is not uncommon for girls to be responsible of the family affairs in addition to doing their daily circular duties. These may include getting up early every morning making breakfast for their husband, children and themselves.
Then getting the kids ready for school (showers, bag packing, etc) before getting themselves ready for work. When they leave work they have to rush to the market, get groceries and come home and get the meal ready. They husbands are served first, then the kids and the women eat last. The only relief Cameroon girls get is when they have a female child in the household or make enough money from their jobs that they can afford to pay a house maid.
Many worthy households have maids come in on a daily basis and take care of the household duties while the not-so-worthy either get some family relatives from the villages and move them to the city to help out or have to endure the strenuous daily task.
The treatment of the maids has increasing become an issue as most of them can not find them to go to school or do anything else besides taking care of their "madams". These maids end up getting married and their child also find themselves becoming maids to survive.
My father has one wife and six (6) - (3 boys and 3 girls in that order) with his wife, my sweet mom. Being a devoted christian living in the big city of Douala, Cameroon he was afraid that his boys will become wayward.
So he decided that his wife should not do any job that took her away from the home. When the youngest became a teenager she then returned to the work force.
These proved to be a blessing to the family as we always knew someone was home waiting on us to get back from school, every day. We never had maids and I am very grateful today for all what my mom did for me and all my siblings. She is a real hero whenever i talk of Cameroon girls.
Despite the enormous stress and strain that the Cameroonian society putts on Cameroon girls, compared to girls in other societies around the world, Cameroon girls do amazing well.
Ironically, Cameroonian girls who cope with the added school load in addition to their daily task perform really well at schools.
Generally girls are not the priority of their fathers sending them to schools as the boys are. It is not uncommon for these girls to be married and without completing school. As a result many may drop out of school to take care of the family responsibility of motherhood.
Recently, the UNICEF has taken interest in promoting the education of Cameroon girls and with great success. The idea is that since the Cameroonian society's well being (meals, healthcare, childcare, household management) falls heavily on the girls, they need to be well educated for families to see any real change.
Please watch this UNICEF video to learn more. As always we appreciate your thoughts, comments and feedback.
Photo Courtesy: VóO
Cameroonian women have a difficult cultural discrimination as to household task and as Cameroonian customs, a few have broken through such to make it to the top of the civil service.
Teaching and nursing is a profession that has absorbed many talent Cameroonian girls. Girls almost even out or dominate males at some levels of these professions.
With limited private sectors, the Cameroon government is the largest employer of Cameroon girls.
Worth noting amongst Cameroon women is Dr Dorothy Limunga Njeuma ( Effange), the pioneer Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buea, who is credited with transforming the world acclaimed University of Buea into a centre of excellence in Africa, and the world. Click here to learn more
Health care for girls is a major concern in Cameroon. Given the high cost of healthcare many girls do not get the proper health treatment they need.
Add this to the critical role girls play in the well being of the Cameroonian family units, you see that the effect of one sick Cameroon girls is catastrophic to the family.
Either others family members step up to cover here role or in the case of no other helper, the children end up with other relatives to take care of them.
I cannot even begin to emphasize the need of proper healthcare for Cameroonian girls.
The best options presently available is the intensive education and emphasis on preventive healthcare. Combine with a growing number of Cameroon girls being educated these approach seems to be bearing good return on investment for the government's efforts.
As seen in the video, Cameroon girls have a unique way of dressing.
Given the blend of over 250 ethnic groups with unique cultural flairs, it is not difficult for Cameroon girls to use their imaginations and come up with a mixture of cultural attires.
These pattern of fashion design by Cameroonian girls has been termed afritude.
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