“The Cameroon Experience” begins with a “Letter from Cameroon” by Bright-Mercy Ebane Ndutu

Academic Research, Activism, All Posts, Decoloniality, Decolonise Your Mind, Partnership, Teams

“Bi-directional decoloniality through systems interaction” – a new tandem-research project by Prof. Dr. Isabel Martin (University of Education Karlsruhe, Germany)
& Dr. Eric Enongene Ekembe (University of Yaoundé 1, Cameroon), April-December 2024

Editor’s note: Our new bi-directional decolonial praxis project is about to start! In my last post, I published the Call for Applications for stipends for Cameroonian students to participate in our project “Rethinking education: decolonising internationalisation and knowledge production” within the ASA Academia global format programme of Engagement Global (funded by the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development). We received a good number of applications, made a shortlist, and invited the shortlisted candidates for an interview. The female invitees showed up to their interviews, and 3 of them were selected and soon after accepted the scholarships.

They fly out to Germany this evening and will work at the University of Education Karlsruhe until 17 July. The results of their/our joint work will be presented at the 30th Anniversary Congress of “ALA” (Association for Language Awareness), which our university will host, on 9 July.

Their tandem-partners, three German students who won the same scholarships a few weeks later, will return the research-tandem visit from September to December 2024 and work with them at the University of Yaoundé 1 in Cameroon. 

Enjoy the first “Letter from Cameroon”! 


Letter from Cameroon

Hello there! My name is Bright-Mercy Ebane Ndutu, and I’m a final year student in the first cycle of the Higher Teacher Training College Yaounde (ENS), as well as a final year Bachelor’s degree student at the University of Yaoundé, majoring in Bilingual Letters.

I’m thrilled to connect with you and share a bit about myself. When I’m not immersed in my studies, you’ll often find me indulging in my passions, such as singing, engaging in thought-provoking conversations, watching movies, staying updated with the latest news, and exploring new opportunities that come my way. I believe in the power of education, and I’m dedicated to expanding my knowledge and skills to become a proficient educator. I’m eager to learn, grow, and make meaningful connections, and I’m excited about the possibilities that lie ahead.

Since Prof. Isabel Martin announced the “ASA Academia” Programme in my class in November 2023 when she was in Yaoundé on her DAAD “Fact-Finding Mission”, I was filled with excitement. However, the fear of the unknown gripped my heart. Completing my internship, which would count towards my end of year evaluation, and continuing my Bachelor’s degree program at the faculty made me unsure if I should forfeit my second semester. The saying “you can’t eat your cake and have it” echoed in my mind, reminding me of the need for a scale of preference in life, as some opportunities may never be retrieved.

Just when I was contemplating these thoughts, Dr. Eric Ekembe entered the picture and asked if I had applied for the project, a day before the submission deadline. I confessed that I had not. Despite my fear that my late submission might not be considered, he encouraged me to give it a try. I remain grateful for that. Challenging myself, I took a leap of faith, submitted my application, and anxiously waited for a reply within two days for shortlisted candidates.

The days passed, and I almost gave up hope, preparing myself for the worst while hoping for the best. It was on the fourth day after submission that I received an email notifying me that I had been selected as one of the shortlisted candidates. The rush of excitement and flood of nervousness flooded over me, knowing that I had to face an online interview on the same day. Trusting God, I pondered on what to say. During the interview, conducted by Professor Isabel Martin, Dr. Eric Ekembe, and Professor Kusi, I felt the tension but managed to answer their questions to the best of my ability. A few minutes after the interview, I received the wonderful news that I had been chosen as one of the participants of the project. My joy at that moment was indescribable.

The real application process then commenced, demanding numerous write-ups that consumed a significant amount of my time. I willingly made the sacrifice, knowing that the days ahead held promise and potential. The visa application process then arrived, and with prayers and hope, everything went smoothly, further amplifying the sense of promise and excitement.

Meanwwhile, during this time that I have been networking with the Germans, I have come to appreciate their exceptional qualities. One prominent characteristic is their remarkable efficiency and meticulousness in everything they do. Professor Isabel Martin, for instance, serves as a practical example of this trait. She demonstrates great attention to detail and ensures that all the necessary information regarding our project is supplied promptly.

The Germans also have a strong commitment to punctuality. Whether it’s sending documents or meeting deadlines, the team consistently adheres to timelines. Professor Isabel Martin from PH Karlsruhe, Ms. Mirka Gaborova who happens to be my contact person from Engagement Global, as well as Ms. Zynthia Masra, and others exemplify this aspect with their consistent adherence to punctuality.

Furthermore, the German team has shown an unwavering willingness to help. I have been impressed by the team’s overall attitude, but I was particularly touched by Ms Sarah’s warm and accommodating demeanor when I needed assistance logging into my PH account. Her hospitality and “ready to serve” attitude were truly remarkable. Sarah happens to be Professor Isabel Martin’s student helper. This indeed proves that like attracts like.

Additionally, I cannot overlook the exceptional hospitality extended to me by Prof. Martin’s colleague from the German Department, Dr. Nicole Bachor-Pfeff and her husband, Mr. Mike. They offered to house and look after me in the first two weeks after my arrival in Germany before we move into our furnished flat in town which Prof. Martin organised, to ease immersion.

Even before I had the opportunity to travel, they made me feel at home and welcomed in an online meeting. This demonstrated their genuine warmth and their active commitment to fighting against racism. Their gestures have not only made a positive impact on me but have also dispelled any apprehensions I may have had about racism towards individuals of different races.

Overall, my experiences with the German team have been overwhelmingly positive. Their efficiency, punctuality, willingness to help, and warm hospitality have left a lasting impression on me. I am filled with excitement and optimism as I embark on the ASA Programme journey with the best hopes and expectations. I am grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with such a dedicated and welcoming team, and I look forward to the transformative experiences that lie ahead.

So far, one valuable lesson has become evident: “Talent wins games but teamwork and intelligence win championships,” as aptly stated by Michael Jordan. I am grateful for the opportunity and ready to embrace teamwork, intelligence, and the future successes that await us all in the ASA Programme this year and in the years to come.

Thank you for reading!

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