Arrived in Yaounde late late late last night after 16 hours (roughly) in a metal tube over the Atlantic, then the Sahara.
If this post makes no sense please bear the above in mind.
This morning we met with the US Embassy. It was me, Michel from CAMFAIDS, Rev. Cannon Albert Ogle, and Maxensia Nabuuka from Uganda. I will post more from this meeting down the road, after I follow-up on some discussion points, maybe after we see if there is action or not.
But – I walked away from that initial meeting (one hour pushed to one and a half = productive conversation) with a hopeful connection. Cameroon is no Uganda. Cameroon and Francophone Africa (I am sure and more sure after our meeting) is the new front on which the LGBT rights are human rights stage. Uganda – for all its horrible issues – is light years ahead of the civil society here in Cameroon. But, the first step is awareness that one needs help – the LGBT Community needs help – and not just against the inhumane anti-homosexuality law that has 16 people imprisoned for being who they are – but to organize, collaborate and grow capacity and learnings.
Today I will be listening to several speakers at the 6th African Conference on Sexual Health and Rights. The first is Maxensia’s presentation during the Maternal Health and Diversity Session. Then I will sneak into the Plenary session on comprehensive sexual education – my wheelhouse. After lunch I will sit in on the HIV/AIDS policy and legal panel discussion (will criminalization be discussed). Then at 4:00 Albert will speak during the session titled Fulfilling Sexual Rights in Policy Development sub set Culture and Gender.
Updates to follow but I figure I will leave you with this: this morning, sitting in the lobby of the Meumi Hotel at 7 am (glazed over) and a man walks through wearing coveralls ready to paint? Maybe patch a leaky roof? He walks through with a beautiful boom box (I would have coveted in the 1980s) on his shoulder and echoing throughout the lobby (cement floors, double doors wide open letting in the Yaounde morning breeze) the music and haunting voice of Leonard Cohen.