August 1, 2016 – As I get older, some of my fondest memories are of chance encounters that take on a life of their own, things that appear to be random but upon further reflection maybe they’re not! Such is the case of my relationship with Francis Njuakom Nchii, Founder & Executive Director of CDVTA Cameroon. Francis and I had a chance encounter in Perth, Australia. We were put together for an educational session at IAHSA and I was riveted by his presentation about life in Cameroon and the horrendous way women and the elderly are treated. We spoke enthusiastically about his work for a few minutes after the session, his inspiration was contagious. CDVTA Cameroon is the organization that Francis has established to deal with these issues head on.
Upon my return to the US, It’s Never 2 Late made a simple $500 donation to Francis, not expecting anything in return. We just wanted in a small way to honor his work. Six weeks after this donation, Francis sent me a riveting email and a heartwarming video about the project he set up – The Jack York Elderly Women’s Sustainable Goat Rearing Project in North West Region Cameroon.
I was touched and amused at the whole concept. Somewhere in Cameroon is a goat called Jacky, named after me, providing sustainability for a village in Africa. In the video link, you will see dozens of Cameroonians, in unison, chanting thanks to some guy called Jack York that they had never heard of! You can’t make this stuff up.
I was stunned at this whole turn of events and instantly became obsessed to learn more about Francis and his powerful mission. So we Skyped several times and got to know each other. His story and presence drove me to want to help him more and share his story with people we know throughout the country. So here we are, Francis and I are getting ready to launch upon a two week tour throughout the US, showing him the country, helping him raise money, embarking on a journey that we have no idea what it will lead to, the only guarantee will be plenty of smiles and laughs along the way. Our journey will start in New Orleans where Francis will be giving the closing keynote address on August 2nd at the Pioneer Network conference and we will end at the Leading Age National headquarters on Thursday, August 11. We’ll be driving from New Orleans to Las Vegas, then flying to San Francisco for a fund raising event hosted by Sunny View (a Front Porch community), on to Colorado to meet all of the fine iN2L staff, then we’ll head to Maryland for a presentation at Integrace. Our last stop will be at Leading Age in DC.
Along the way we’re hoping to raise at least $20K for Francis to build a senior center in Cameroon, and also get him exposed to other people which can help expand the cause of his work in Cameroon. We’ll be sharing snippets of our journey and daily updates on iN2L’s social media channels.
If you’d like to donate go to the gofundme page we have set up for the GOATT Project. For $250 you can get a goat named after you! Thanks to Western Home in Iowa for providing the financial pass through for donations, thanks to Matt Luger and the Covenant Health Network for providing the first $1000 donation, and thanks to Larry Minnix, retired CEO of Leading Age, for making the first $250 purchase for a goat. If you ever make it to the center Francis will build, you may see Jacky and Larry grazing in the field together, most likely talking about the good old days.
So that’s our story, the journey begins this week, so stay tuned for the results. Francis told me in one of our skype sessions that he had no money go to Perth for the IAHSA conference, but God told him he should go as he would meet someone from an organization who would help change the trajectory of CDVTA. I’m honored to think that iN2L may have been chosen to fulfill that vision!