Fr Albert Kabala sm, District Superior of Africa, writes: The creation of the agricultural project at Nkoloman in the heart of the central African forest in Cameroon, by the African Marist District started in 2015 by the buying 5 hectares of land. Till date we have planted 7,000 plants of cocoa, 13,000 plants of banana plantains, 75 fruit trees (oranges, plums, avocado, pawpaw) in addition we have a vegetable garden, pineapple farm, a poultry farm, cocoa, yams, maize, sweet potatoes and a fish farm (2,200 three species of fish) where we are using natural methods respecting nature and without chemical products. We have started a well for drinkable water at the farm.
"One particularly serious problem is the quality of water available to the poor. Every day, unsafe water results in many deaths and the spread of water-related diseases, including those caused by microorganisms and chemical substances." (Laudato Si, 29). We have succeeded to put a solar panel for electricity supply in the farm.
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The objectives of this project concern youth. It is all about training and initiating these youths on manual work, to make them interested in the biological/organic techniques so that they may be financially independent, create jobs for people so they can cater for their family so as to overcome the cost of life and poverty in Yaoundé, by so doing, we can fight against migration of youths to the West.
""Every campesino has a natural right to possess a reasonable allotment of land where he can establish his home, work for subsistence of his family and a secure life. This right must be guaranteed so that its exercise is not illusory but real. That means that apart from the ownership of property, rural people must have access to means of technical education, credit, insurance, and markets"." (Laudato si, 94)
This project is in response to Pope Francis' encyclical letter "Laudato si" No 13-14 " The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home. Here I want to recognize, encourage and thank all those striving in countless ways to guarantee the protection of the home which we share. Particular appreciation is owed to those who tirelessly seek to resolve the tragic effects of environmental degradation on the lives of the world's poorest. Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded. I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all. The worldwide ecological movement has already made considerable progress and led to the establishment of numerous organizations committed to raising awareness of these challenges. Regrettably, many efforts to seek concrete solutions to the environmental crisis have proved ineffective, not only because of powerful opposition but also because of a more general lack of interest. Obstructionist attitudes, even on the part of believers, can range from denial of the problem to indifference, nonchalant resignation or blind confidence in technical solutions. We require a new and universal solidarity. As the bishops of Southern Africa have stated: "Everyone's talents and involvement are needed to redress the damage caused by human abuse of God's creation".  All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents."
The Marist Fathers of the District of Africa have chosen to go towards the poorest at the periphery of Yaoundé in the midst of the young people. This choice is specifically in the heart of the forest, which is without potable water nor a good access road. The population make a living essentially through farming in precarious conditions and most young people do not have a good education. The urgency now is to train youths. As Pope Francis says in N°15 of Laudato Si :"Finally, convinced as I am that change is impossible without motivation and a process of education" and with our Marist education tradition, we are thinking to add to this project a component of theoretical learning in agricultural technology if we manage to build a few rooms on the site of the field. With the rooms, young people will learn and so, they will no longer be tempted by illegal immigration to the West.
Albert Kabala sm