'The Living Africa' interviewed Mfangam Michirendi Marguerite Laure, a girl student at the Josué Mouiche Protestant High School. Marguerite (Mfangam Michirendi is her last name) was born on 6th of October 1979 in Njisse, Foumban. She is in the 3rd grade of the second phase, with German as her optional subject. We asked her about her social environment, her family life, the kind of house she lives in, how she travels to and from school, life at school, etc.
Marguerite, tell us about yourself, your life at school and at home.
I live in the city of Foumban, in a suburb called Njinden, 2 kilometers from the school. I am from a polygamic family. My father is married to four women and has 30 children. My mother is his second wife. We live in a modest home, which is built from packed earth with a straw roof. Our house consists of 10 rooms: 1 for my father, 4 for our mothers and 5 for the children. That makes an average of 6 children per room.
How do you travel to and from school?
I walk to school every day, and return at 15:30. The system of having a short lunch break during the school day, instead of a break of several hours, was started in our country several years ago.
The subjects taught in my class are French, English, German or Spanish, Mathematics, Natural Science, Technology, History, Geography, Civics, Physical Education, Household management and Child care, Manual work, Traditional art crafts, Management of personal funds for church work (Stewardship).
Can you tell us about your classes?
Generally, classes are held in classrooms, and occasionally outside for Physical Education and sporting activities, Natural Science laboratories, and Technology. The classes are taught by lecture, and are the only source of information for students who are financially unable to purchase the texts.
Are their any extracurricular activities that you can take part in?
We have various clubs and activities that are meant to brighten up school life. There are clubs for choir, theater, dance, English, CIPCRE-CU (International circle for the promotion of the scholarly endeavors and university), etc.
What do you do after school?
After school and on non-school days, we work with the family on domestic and field tasks. With my classmates, we study in the school's library. We study our lessons alone or in a group. We do our homework. Sometimes we take long walks.
What do you think about the atmosphere in your school and your relationships with your teachers?
For me, the atmosphere in school is the best that I know, because the students organize field trips, recreational evenings and dances for the end of the sports activities, and for the end of the school year. All these activities allow us to open up, to travel and to discover new things. These activities take place under the watchful eyes of our teachers, who are like parents for us, and are the source of knowledge for us.
What are your views and your expectations regarding the future: with regard to life in general, work, and the future of your country?
For the last decade, the young people here have been watching helplessly as the level of unemployment, particularly among educated young people, has continued to grow. All this is due to the closure of employment providing companies, and to the lack of creation of new companies. We do not have the financial means or experience to set up our own businesses. So the horizon is very uncertain for life in general. But we hope that with God's help, after the uncertainties created by the establishment of democracy in Africa, the return of stable, lasting peace will allow for a rebirth of the economy of our country. If the economy grows, we hope that there will be the assurance of work for everyone.
What is the influence of the rest of the world on your way of life and your thinking?
Because of the influence of the radio and television, young Africans are in contact with other cultures. This has resulted in a metamorphosis in the preferred styles of clothing, of hairstyles, etc. The youth identify with famous singers, actors and football players. From documentaries, young people have access to current technical progress and scientific discoveries.
What ambitions do you and your fellow students have?
The dream of most students seem to be to travel, either for the purpose of education, or for tourism or to start a professional life. Those who have not traveled at all want to go abroad, for example to Europe or the United States, because those who have already traveled present themselves as "supermen" and women, as people who have succeeded and are more open-minded. We count on the Western world to help with local education projects for young people here.