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Hope College's chapter of Engineers Without Borders is currently partnered with a community, Nkuv, in Cameroon, West Africa. The problem to be addressed is finding potable water for approximately 500 people who live in this community. The people of Nkuv use three main streams as their water source, which are used for drinking, cooking and bathing. As a result of drinking this water, the villagers are afflicted with malaria, fileria, dysentery, dermatitis, meningitis as well as multiple waterborne diseases.
The community used to have a small health clinic that, although overloaded with patients, was able to provide a small source of aid to the villagers. Due to lack of funding and supplies, the health clinic was forced to close. Now ill people of Nkuv must either walk or be carried for approximately two hours over the surrounding mountains to the next largest city. Even during childbirth, women have no one to aid them and as soon as the first contractions are felt they too begin their walk over the mountain. (top)
Vehicles rarely make the trek over the mountain from Kumbo to Nkuv due to the horrible road condition. Once a week, a truck drives over the mountain to the village to pick up local produce as well as to take the older children to secondary school. Several nurses and doctors also visit the village once a month to provide limited health care as well as immunizations but they too are unable to visit more frequently due to the poor road conditions and the cost of vehicle repairs that this road incurs.The University of Kentucky has recently (2009-2010) adopted a project to assess the condition of the road. (top)
The children of Nkuv start school as early as the age of two when they go to nursery school. At nursery school they pass the day with singing songs and learning basic "rhymes" in English. Around the age of five the children attend Primary School where all of their lessons are taught in English. They learn basic math, spelling, writing, geography and history. There are seven grades in Primary School and once the student has completed his/her seventh year, he/she has the option of continuing with schooling at the secondary school in Kumbo. For those children that chose to attend secondary schooling, they must live in Kumbo during the week and travel to Nkuv on the weekends to help the family with the farming. (top)
The village of Nkuv is a farming community and any available land is farmed. There are no machines or farm animals in Nkuv so all farming is done by hand. All members of the community work together to ensure the success of each farm as well as the family connected with it. (top)