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Pepperdine | Caruso School of Law

Cameroon: Visit an Orphanage, Make a Child Smile

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I'm in Cameroon trying to affect change in a country rife with corruption at all levels of public and private governance.  I am teaching after-school programs on the importance of good governance and human rights, but in my spare time I have the opportunity to do some amazing things in getting to know this country.

Today I had the joy of visiting a small orphanage in the neighboring town of Mutengene.  My wife Billie had the wonderful idea before I left, realizing that the quality of medicine in most of Africa is sub-standard, that it might be helpful to bring some basic over-the-counter supplies for the least fortunate.  I feels like its only a drop in the bucket, but if a few bottles of children's Tylenol helps some of these kids feel better the next time they get a cold or the flu, then its a good thing. 

All I did was walk in the door and I had children hugging my legs.  Their smiles were as wide as any I've seen.  I played with them with my digital cam.  They get such a kick just out of seeing themselves on the screen.  They howled with laughter when their likenesses became animated with video.  When it came time for all of us to take a picture the caretaker, Constance, brought in the baby, Shikensa, and placed her in my arms.  So adorable.  I wish I could take her home, but I can't today, Cameroonian adoption law wouldn't allow it.  At least for an afternoon I held a beautiful child deserving of love and made a few kids smile.

To Change the World, You Start with One Step.

- Joe Groff