“As good as bread”
Project “St. Brother Albert Chmielowski” in the Diocese of Doumé / Cameroon
Working for a long time in Caritas in the Doumé Abong-Mbang diocese, I notice how many needs there are, as people experience poverty, hunger and sickness. How many people suffer because of the lack of money necessary for surgeries, for treatments, for the repair of their homes which, for example, have lost their roofs due to high winds, which often occur in our region. Seeing the great demand and necessity of “every penny”, as well as the helplessness of the local population and the powerlessness of the world affected by the pandemic – I decided to use the local natural resources at the disposal of the local population. Having been in Cameroon for many years, I realized that the “treasure” of this area are the ARACHIDS – (peanuts). The harvest is generally once a year but, often enough we harvest up to several 100 kg bags. The problem is that people have no place to sell them and really do not know what to do with them. With this commodity they pay, for example, school fees.
Using their product, the fruit of the earth and the work of human hands, I decided (following the idea of one of the missionaries who worked for many years in Cameroonian schools) to try to transform this product into “peanut butter”, here called “Pâte d’arachide”. It is a daily food used with various meals, e.g. sauces, and recently, when bread appeared in the Cameroonian diet, also as butter.
Therefore, from October 2020, the Caritas team of the Diocese of Doumé, under the patronage of His Excellency Bishop Jan Ozga and led by Sr. Fabiana Leitgeber, SAC, started the project “Being as good as bread”, the aim of which is to produce financial aid for the benefit of the poorest and most needy inhabitants of the diocese. We have already started work on the construction of buildings where it will be possible to collect sacks with peanuts purchased from the people and to install equipment for their processing. The whole “action” was completed in May 2021. We had a lot of problems with the machines, especially with the peanut peelers. They kept breaking down and not doing their job. But for two weeks now – to our joy and the joy of the people – everything started to function at full capacity. The team was joined by three ladies who willingly undertook this task.
The most important thing is that this butter is tasty, caloric and won the palate of gourmets. People love it! This is because Cameroonian peanuts are of high quality!
Thank you all for the opportunity to share with you our new project, which I trust will meet the expectations and intentions of the diocesan Caritas team in order to help the most needy in our diocese: the poor, the sick and the hungry. I also trust that God will bless this noble work that has been dedicated and entrusted to Him.
I cordially greet all readers of the Pallottine Family and visitors to our website.
Sr. Fabiana Leitgeber SAC