Giving back to the community

Margaret is a neighbour of the CMF hostel here in Yaounde Cameroon.She also attends Mission Baptist church of Awai, the CBC church that we attend with our students. She has worked for missionaries as a domestic for many years. The problem with her work is that everytime a missionary family goes home on  home assignment she becomes unemployed. In talking with the kids, we’ve been discussing the need for a “restaurant” (road side meat and plantain vendor) in our area, we decided to approach Margaret to see if she would be interested in starting her own business. CMF hostel has a peanut butter business so we decided to use our profits to get Margaret started, we gave her a barrel and a grill, Jordan chopped wood and delivered it and then we gave her money to buy her first order of beef to cook. She is now serving her delicious roasted meat to lucky customers. As her business grows she has plans to add chicken to her menu. I am writing this because it makes my heart happy to see the students that are living in CMF hostel thinking about the needs of others rather than themselves. God has blessed Gord and I with 12 wonderful generous students who are making a difference in this world starting right here in our community. Margaret

My Run-In with the Gendarmes

On my way to the bursar the other day alone with Jessica we got stopped by the gendarmes at a road check. All my papers were in order…but he still insisted that I leave Jessica with him at the check point and go get more papers to prove that she belongs in Cameroon. He asked me several times, “what should I do?” and my reply was always, “give me back my papers and let me go”. In Cameroon that question asked by any uniformed person  is code for “give me a bribe”. When he realized that I was not going to pay a bribe or leave my daughter with him he finally let me go on my way…did he seriously think I would leave Jessica with him? NOT. Luckily I have been through enough of these check points in the last two years to know that staying calm and waiting as long as it takes is the best way to get through without incident. I do have to say that if he had continued to insist that Jessica stay at the stop I might have paid the 500cfa just to get out of there. We try very hard to hold to the “we don’t pay bribes” rule, but at what point do I put my safety and that of my daughter before a rule?

Some thoughts from Jordan

Life is always interesting here in Cameroon. I have started school break and am learning what it means to do physical labour. My mom asked one of the Cameroonian yard workers to apprentice me this break and teach me to use a cutlass.  We live at the edge of the rainforest, while that may have its advantages it also requires allot of work keeping the underbrush cleared so we don’t have dangerous snakes  such as forest cobras and mambas living close to the house. While I was working with Leonard,  I learned some new terms in Cameroonian Pidgin English, I was told that you have not worked hard if you have not “paid body tax” (blisters), or when you wake up the next day and your whole body is sore that is, ” my skin be hot”. These terms reflected well the next day and my skin is still a little hot. There are so many things I still need to learn while here in Cameroon, with God’s grace and the wonderful people he has put in my life , I’m sure I will return to Canada with a whole new perspective on life.   Jordan

Jordan Erickson

It’s summer, but it’s not called summer. By Jessica Erickson

At our school here in Africa we don’t call this vacation “summer vacation”, we just call it “break”. We do that here in Africa,  because technically there is no summer, there is just rainy season and dry season.  Anyway the hostel got empty really fast and now it actually has an echo. I started off really bored but I quickly found things to entertain myself. I have been running everyday and I have gotten onto a healthy diet. I also started my break reading program with a book called “Because He loves me” by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick. It is about the inheritance that we are going to receive as Christians and most of all it is about Gods love for us. This book has really helped me to understand  and learn so much more about God and His love for his children.  I am really looking forward to getting my hostel siblings back and starting a new year of school at RFIS and officially becoming a tenth grader!


Jessica Erickson

Making yogurt go a long way..another recipe.

One thing that Celestine(CMF COOK) does well is make things go a long way. Here at CMF Hostel we make our own yoghurt in big quantities so that we can have sour cream and creamy salad dressings.


1 125g starter plain yoghurt (unsweetened)

3 cups of powdered milk

3 cups cool water

Mix these ingredients together.

Add 3 cups of boiling water

Cover in a sealed container (we use a thermos type container) and set on the counter (not in the fridge) for 12 to 24 hours. Do not open during this time. After this time remove yoghurt and place in a container in the refrigerator and enjoy! Save 1/2 cup of your fresh yoghurt to star your next batch.

To make sour cream 

1 cup of your fresh yoghurt (drained overnight using cheese cloth or a dish towel)

1 tbs of lemon juice

1/4 tsp of salt

Mix ingredients together and enjoy!



Season of Good-Byes

It’s that time of year again…the time of goodbye’s. The last month has been very busy at the CMF hostel and RFIS (Rainforest International School) with IGCSE exams, drama production week, graduation banquet, SAT, AP exams and regular exams. Us hostel parents have called this month, “May Madness”. With all of this business, sometimes it’s hard to remember that once school ends, many families and students that have become part of our family will be leaving Cameroon, some for one year furlough and some for good. We recently attended an appreciation diner for the teachers at RFIS that included a time of saying goodbye to the teachers that are leaving this year. As each teacher and their spouse was called up, it dawned on me just how much I will miss each and every one of them.  Among those leaving are the other two sets of hostel parents that have become friends and prayer partners to Gord and I. I can’t help but to have a feeling of loneliness and even a feeling of not wanting to get so close to the coming hostel parents who will probably also leave after one year. But my hardest good-bye will be to one of our CMF hostel kids that is graduating this year, Seong-Chan Kang has been in our home for two years now and truly has a special place in my heart. As I think of him going off to University I hope that one day our paths will cross again, but I also know that I may never see him again and can only hope that Gord and I have helped equip him to live a life that reflects his love for Jesus Christ. My comfort in this time of transition is knowing that Jesus fully understands my feeling of loss and loneliness and that he has sent the Holy Spirit to be a comforter to me.


Seong Chan our graduate from CMF Hostel
Seong Chan Kang graduated from RFIS and from CMF Hostel. He will be missed by Gord and I.

Some cool recipes I make here in Cameroon

I try to be a little creative with the food I serve the kids in the hostel (sometimes by choice and sometimes from necessity of not having the ingredients I need) I thought I would share a couple of my favourites here on this blog.

Tomato, Onion, Avocado Salad.

Layer sliced tomatoes on a large serving platter. Add slivered red onions and chunks of avocado over the tomatoes. Sprinkle with parsley and basil. In a cup add 1 clove of minced garlic, red wine vinegar and olive oil. Pour mixture over your salad and serve. Do not refrigerate or your avocados will turn brown.(unless you dip them in lemon juice which would change the taste of the salad).



making food look good
Sour Cream
Sour cream is not available here in Younde so I found a recipe to make some. Start with some plain unsweetened yoghurt, drain it well, using a dish cloth (cheese cloth is not available here) and a sieve. Leave in the refrigerator overnight or at least for a couple of hours to get the proper consistency for sour cream. Once it is drained add the juice of one half lemon and some salt. Voila you have sour cream!!
And now a failed cooking project…..Cupcakes in ice cream cones.
sounded like a great idea….first problem : could not find flat bottom cones in yaounde, second problem: the bottoms get soggy and the cupcake dough dropped out the bottom (I have since been told that I should put a marshmallow or an M&M in the bottom of the cone to prevent the soggy bottom) I do have to say that the kids in the CMF hostel had no problem helping me get rid of the failures.

Memories of making Perogies

I remember as a child how much I hated perogi making day. Hours and hours of standing in the kitchen rolling, cutting and stuffing perogies.  Today I taught Celestine our wonderful Cameroonian cook how to make these delicious little tournovers. The whole time telling her stories of my childhood days of making what seemed like millions at a time. The more stories I told the more I realized just how wonderful those times really were. Living in Cameroon has allowed me to use many of the skills that my Mom taught me growing up. I cannot just run to the store and buy already made products, things are made from scratch, most times I don’t have all the ingredients necessary.  All this to say “Thank You Mom” for teaching me this skill and for creating memories that have lasted.

Celestine learning to make perogies

I hope they taste as good as they look!!