Coming to Africa: The Story of The Greens' Pioneer Volunteers
Colby and Mallory had never been to Africa. What did they think about Africa and how did they get to Africa for the first time?
In 2011, Franklin (@mr-greens) from Cameroon, Africa connected with Colby from the Phoenix, Arizona – US via an online course during which Franklin shared a lot about his organization, @thegreens, with course mates. At that time, @thegreens’ active project was Beautiful Clean Green Schools (BECLEGS). Colby was inspired with the work of Franklin (@mr-greens) who always shared pictures, videos and blogs about his work. As such, Colby asked Ngalim if he and his fiancée Mallory can volunteer with his organization.
Young Franklin couldn’t believe two Americans could be inspired by his work and want to volunteer with him in Cameroon. This sounded too good to be true but by the way, how was Franklin going to accommodate, feed and live with these two western citizens? Not even his parents could believe two Americans wanted to visit and live with Franklin as well as volunteer for his organization.
While Franklin reflected over 1001 questions, Colby and Mallory had tons of questions to answer. They wondered how life in the ‘Jungle’ (Cameroon) was like. They thought about the kinds of wild animals they will see and how sleeping with bugs in tents was going to look like. Colby and Mallory thought, Africa was a country and Cameroon a jungle. It was their first time to hear the name Cameroon and they were worried about the ‘Tarzan-life’ in the jungle of Cameroon.
While Franklin thought ‘Coming to Africa’ was too good to be true, he was proven wrong when Colby and Mallory wired their volunteer allowance for him process their documentation and make all the necessary travel/volunteer arrangements. On the other hand, Colby and Mallory’s fear of life in the wild was softened by frequent calls and video chats during which Franklin answered their questions.
After getting their travel to Africa visas, both of them were still afraid and couldn’t believe they were going to travel to a jungle and meet someone they have never met in real life. How could they trust and believe in someone, who was just a virtual friend? Could this be a scam? Hours in flight and their only question was “what if they arrived and Franklin never shows up?”
At the Douala airport, you could hear a sigh of total relief and get feelings of absolute joy when Colby and Mallory hugged Franklin and members of @thegreens.
Memories of June 2012 will never fade from Franklin’s mind: This is the year Franklin became a global citizen. Colby and Mallory’s volunteer experience with @thegreens marked a new beginning for both parties who are now members of one global family.
Talking about Cameroon and Africa as a jungle, Colby and Mallory wrote some very interesting take home lessons and some of the favorites were;
- Cameroonians have the cleanest shoes
- The wildest animal we saw was the chicken
- Cameroonians eat spaghetti with the fork
- Cameroonian meals are spicy and delicious
- Fruits and vegetables are in abundance
- Cameroonians are very welcoming and a bunch of happy people who always great each other and share very beautiful stories.
Going to Africa and living in a jungle sounds too good to be true.
The most interesting part of this story is that in 2013, Colby and Mallory got married. Franklin and members of @thegreens created this song as a gift for their wedding.