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The Starfish Project helping Africa - Cameroon progress

We will be posting reports from Joseph on this page.

First Course report January 2003

At exactly the same time as the January course was taking place at the Boship Hotel here in England, the very first Starfish course was taking place in the Cameroon. We thought about Joseph and Bronhilda so much, and we were so happy to receive this report from Joseph.

STARFISH COURSE IN CAMEROON

After returning back to Cameroon in July 2002, after going through a three day intensive stammering therapy course organized by Anne Blight of the Starfish course, I knew I had started on a long journey that was to lead me to help other stammering persons in Cameroon.

On return to Cameroon I had to work very hard to have my own stammer under control first, before I start to teach the technique I had learned to other stammerers. You have to be a bit selfish and concentrate first on your own recovery before thinking of trying to help others. That is why I had to take all these 6 months to master the Starfish technique, have my own stammer under control before thinking of helping others. Being alone in Cameroon far away from the other attendees of the Starfish courses, it was not all that easy for me to have the technique taught during the Starfish course in me. Thanks to the availability of the internet I was always in touch with Anne and other people who had attended the Starfish course. I have to mention here friends like Paul Bond, John from Japan, Hailey, Margaret Wood, Albert, and others who were always very supportive of me and my recovery.

On return to Cameroon, I travelled to the North Western part of Cameroon in a town called Kumbo where I was to organize the first Starfish course. In Kumbo, I met with the Vicar General of the Kumbo Diocese of the Catholic Church who allowed me use his church and the newsletter of his church to sensitize the people about the Starfish therapy program that was to be available to them. They accepted and authorized me to us the facilities of their church to organize Starfish courses in that locality. Back in Douala, I started to master the Starfish technique while at the same time teaching it to my half sister Bronhilda with whom I was to run the courses here in Cameroon.

Everything being set, I requested the Zonal Coordinator in Kumbo to select well motivated and strong will stammerers from his religion who were to go in for the first course. I requested that the said stammerer should be literate i.e. they should be able to read and write the English language which is the language to be used for the course.

Eight stammerers were selected out of the 34 who were interested in the course. The limited number was to insure that the stammerers were given proper attention, as this was the very first course. The eight students were to join myself and Bronhilda in the running of other courses in Cameroon.

I left Douala on Thursday the 16th of January and after travelling for two days, I got to Kumbo on the 17th of January. Saturday the 18th and Sunday the 19th were reserved for courtesy visits to the authorities of the Catholic Church in that locality who had authorized us to us their facilities for the course.

On Monday, the 20th, Bronhilda arrived and we continued arrangements for the proper organization of the course. Some three of the eight students to attend the course were not based in Kumbo and we had to sort permission from some families for them to stay for the three days of the courses. The students were not living in a hotel but in adjacent residences to the venue where the course was to be run.

As I had earlier said the students for the course were EIGHT in number, five males and three females. The youngest was 25 years old and the oldest was 40 years old. All of them could read, write and speak English language, which was the only language for instructing the course.

The course ran from Wednesday, the 22 to Friday the 24th of January starting each day by 9am and ending by 5pm. At the end of the three-day course all the students showed a good mastery of the technique and all the stuff related to controlling stammering.

Many interesting questions were asked to me as to why this method was called the Starfish, why their breathing had to from the costal diaphragm etc. All these were proofs to me that they had actually understood whatwas taught to them.

Copies of the Starfish manuals were handed over to the students and those based in Kuintar Kumbo constituted themselves into a self help support group within SCAC and will be meeting once every two weeks to practice the technique learned and to discuss any problems arising and to support themselves. After mastering the Starfish technique very well some of the strong and well motivated students will help in the running of the Starfish courses here in Cameroon.

This course was run according to the method used in the U.K., the only difference being that there was no video recording of the speeches of the students prior to and after attending the course. The Chairman of the SCAC who had promised to hire a camera and trained camera man for this course did not succeed to do that. Before I end this report, I wish to thank all those good persons in and out of Cameroon who made this project of teaching the Starfish project in Cameroon a reality.

I have to thank sincerely Anne and David Blight and other benefactors over there in the U.K who made it possible for me to attend the last July Starfish course in Boship Hotel, and also insured that I got the necessary logistic and material support that helped me to start this first Cameroon course. I have to thank my half sister Bronhilda who showed much interest in learning this technique to have her stammer under control and assisted me in the running of this course. I have to say a big thank you to the authorities of the Catholic church in Kuintar Kumbo who advertised the course and gave us facilities to run this course. I have to thank my boss of the CAJUREC Firm in Douala who gave me 10 days off duty to go up to Kumbo and organize this course.

After assessing the success of this course, we hope to organize another course in the coming months. Best wishes for the growth of the Starfish all over the world.

Joseph Lukong



Newspaper article announcing the first Cameroon course

photo of Starfish Cameroon course article
Click to enlarge

We are so proud to reproduce here the first pictures received from Joseph of the first Starfish Cameroon course. The first picture is of all the new people on the course practising voice projection with Joseph and Bronhilda.

2nd photo from Starfish Cameroon course

and the second picture is of everyone on the course.

Cameroon first course students article

Joseph is currently working hard to organise the second Starfish Cameroon course.



Please click on the links below to read more about the Starfish Project Cameroon initiative: