Volunteering is the practice of people working on behalf of others or a particular cause without payment for their time and services. Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity, intended to promote good or improve human quality of life, but people also volunteer for their own skill development, to meet others, to make contacts for possible employment, to have fun, and a variety of other reasons that could be considered self-serving.
The contribution of volunteers in the development of Shisong Hospital cannot be over-emphasized. Before the first Cameroonian doctor was employed, volunteer specialists from various parts of Europe and the United States were invited to work in Shisong, and these contributed enormously to the nationwide reputation that the Hospital has developed.
In the recruitment process, a Volunteer Agreement is signed between the Volunteer’s Association, the Volunteer and Shisong Hospital. Some of the Volunteer Organizations with whom we collaborate include Christians Abroad (England), Lay Mission Helpers (Los Angeles, USA), etc.
The Hospital, in appreciation of the Volunteer’s contribution, undertakes to offer the volunteer an agreed monthly stipend to cater for their living expenses in Cameroon while, at the same time, offering them free housing facilities.
The volunteers are responsible for their air ticket back and forth. The volunteer takes care of the Hospital house and equipment entrusted to them without undertaking to sell or give them out. They are, however, welcome to freely contribute toward house maintenance. For security reasons, the volunteer is strongly advised to not invite guest into their house without discussion with the Hospital Authorities. The volunteers abide by all the rules and regulations of the Institutions and follow its programs, including religious and social activities. The volunteers also undertakes to maintain good moral conduct in the environment outside of work.
We receive volunteers who come as family or individual.
V. HOW TO REACH SHISONG FROM FROM DOUALA
1. Douala – Bamenda
To get to Shisong, which is near Kumbo town, you need to travel from Douala to Bamenda, the Capital of the North West Region. Bamenda is about 400 km from Douala and the journey by road takes on average 6 hours by public transport. Midway on the journey, at Melong, the buses stop for passengers to eat, mostly local food even though some of the provision stores have bread, cheese, drinks and other tinned food. The fare from Douala to Bamenda is 5.000 CFA. The following travel agencies are recommended for the journey: Guarantee Express, Amour Mezam Express, Patience Express and Jeannot Express. If you buy your ticket from Douala to Kumbo town, the price will be a little less than when you pay Douala – Bamenda – Kumbo. This option applies only to Amour Mezam Express that plies Bamenda—Kumbo. The road from Douala to Bamenda is tarred all the way through.
2. Bamenda – Kumbo
This is approximately 110 km, but takes about 2 hours 30 minutes as most of the road is untarred, although it is regularly maintained. It costs 2.500 CFA to travel from Bamenda to Kumbo. In Kumbo you will be dropped at a place called Njavnyuy, (Tobin) from where you will get a yellow township taxi for 250 CFA to Shisong. These taxis may be unusually loaded. It is best to avoid arriving Kumbo after 7.00 pm because of the non-availability of taxis at that hour; however, in dire need, you may have to pay about 1.000 CFA to hire a taxi from Squares to Shisong.
It should be borne in mind that most of the qualifications made in this document are by African standards.
VI. ACCOMMODATION IN SHISONG
So far all guests coming to Shisong Hospital are lodged by the Hospital administration if possible. Accommodation is basic but reasonably comfortable. The houses all have the basic facilities such as bed, mattress and sheets, electricity, living room, chairs, gas cooker and refrigerator, kitchen utensils and toilet / shower facilities with water heater. Almost all of the houses are linked to the internal telephone system. You may wish to bring a mosquito net, though being 1.700 m above sea level the number of mosquitoes are few.
VII. MORE ABOUT CAMEROON
1. Ports of Entry
Cameroon has three international airports, one located at Nsimalen near Yaoundé, another in Garoua and the third in Douala. Douala airport handles most of the international flights and most of our guests from abroad arrive at Douala international airport; that is why the description of how to get to Shisong focuses mostly on Douala via Bamenda or Foumban.
2. Brief Description Of Douala International Airport
This airport was inaugurated in June 1977 by the Head of State. It has a runway about 3 km long. This airport receives all international airlines. Some international planes do land and take off from the Nsimalen international airport depending on the schedule. On arrival at Douala airport there are always many porters often dressed with green jackets wishing to help. For security reasons, you are strongly advised to look after your own luggage. If you are being met by the Reverend Sisters they can be identified by their grey or white religious dress and their blue or white veils.
If nobody is at the airport to pick you up then there are always township taxis which are very safe. The rates are not fixed, as this depends on your destination. Arrange the price before entering, whose average is about 5,000 FCFA. Also at the airport there are various hotel agents holding placards advertising their respective hotels and hotel rates. If you choose a given hotel then you are transported free of charge. Another option that we would very much recommend is to make a reservation beforehand at the Catholic Procure, Rue Franqueville, Akwa, BP 5280, Douala. Tel. 00 (237) 33 42 27 97 Fax : 00  33 42 73 37. Their email address is firstname.lastname@example.org They have standby taxis that will be sent to bring you from the airport.
Since the beginning of 2003 we are having a Hospital in Douala: St. Padre Pio Hospital, Douala, Akwa Nord, Handy number: 00 (237) 677 93 16 40; or (237) 3340-2948.
Fax: 00 (237) 33 40 80 55. If you inform Sr. Charlotte Dzemoyua, who is the Administrator of the Hospital at the , you might be able to spend the first night there.
3. A Brief Description of The City Of Douala
Douala, which is the economic Capital of Cameroon, is the biggest town in the Republic with a population of more than 1.5 million inhabitants. It is the major doorway into the country. It is one of the few towns where the immigrant population outnumbers the native population. It handles more than 90% of foreign trade and besides numerous primary, secondary, high schools and technical colleges, it also has a university.
Douala is characterized by a flat landscape with temperatures which are constantly high usually above 25 C, though moderated by a sea breeze. Rainfall is generally heavy and atmospheric humidity throughout the year is high. It has mainly dry and rainy seasons.
The vegetation is forest but which is being eroded due to exploitation. It is of importance also to mention that Douala has the main seaport which handles most of the imports and exports of the country, with a quay greater than 300 m long of deep water.
4. Geography of Cameroon
Cameroon has 10 Regions. Two of them are English speaking, the South West and the North West Regions. The capital of the North West is Bamenda which is 110 kms from Kumbo.
Shisong is found in Kumbo, the head quarters of Bui Division, in the North West Region of Cameroon.
5. CURRENCY AND EXCHANGE
The unit of currency in Cameroon is the Central African Franc or CFA of which €1=650 CFA and $1 = 450 FCFA. Coins come in 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 500 denominations. Notes are in 500, 1.000, 2.000, 5.000, and 10.000 denominations.
Exchange of foreign currencies especially the Euro, sterling and dollar as well as personal cheques and travelers cheques can easily be carried out in the administration office. Credit cards can only be used in certain places in Douala or Yaoundé. The banks are an alternative to monetary exchange. International monetary transactions can be done through Western Union services in Kumbo.
6. PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
1st January – New Year’s Day
11th February – World Youth’s Day
Good Friday – Easter Saturday – Easter Sunday (dates vary)
1st May – Labour Day
20th May – Unification Day
Ascension Thursday – 40 days after Easter
Any day that falls between two Public Holidays; e.g. between Sunday and Tuesday = Monday will be Public Holiday, known as the Bridge Day.
End of Ramadan – depending on the moon, will be announced via the radio
25th December – Christmas Day.
These dates are useful to know as Embassies and Consulates in your own country may keep these Holidays. You may find them closed.
VIII. MORE ABOUT BUI DIVISION
1. Population and Administration of Bui Division
According to the last census of 1987, Bui Division had a population of 189,361 with the head quarters (Kumbo) alone having 33,353. With an annual growth rate of 3%, the population of Kumbo is estimated at 76,779. The Division is controlled by a Senior Divisional Officer assisted by other Subdivisional Officers and ruled by the Fon(s) and Traditional Council(s).
Bui Division, like the rest of the Region, has a Savannah type of vegetation with few areas of man-made forests mainly composed of eucalyptus and cypress tress. Shisong is found at an altitude of 1.770 m above sea level. There are two seasons, namely the dry season which runs from November to mid March and the rainy season from mid March to October. Shisong registers a rainfall of about 302.3 mm – 318 mm in July and August and 1.00 mm – 1.5 mm in December and January. Temperatures range between 4 and 30 C in the Division.