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Source: Stocksnap

One Activist's Quest To Create An Ecovillage In Rural Africa

By Maria Cook

In rural Cameroon, tradition and family are vital to people's way of life. In small villages, like the one that activist Joshua Konkankoh grew up in, natural living and self sufficiency are simply parts of everyday reality. These important skills are passed down to younger generations by their elders. "Wisdom was handed down from the elders and through customs. Life in the village was about solidarity - sitting around a fire in the evenings and telling stories," Konkankoh said. 

So when Konkankoh moved to Yaoundé, the bustling capital city of Cameroon and home to around 2.4 million people, he found himself suffering from a bit of culture shock. So many of the traditions he'd grown up with seemed completely absent. "People [in the city] were more individualistic … I found no values of culture enabling young people to follow in the footsteps of their ancestors," he laments. 

Source: Facebook

Konkankoh had learned many traditional African skills over the course of his life, and had brought these with him to his new home in the city. But in his new home, he had no way to put them to use. At least not at first. After a while of living in the city, he began to meet other young people much like himself. People who had learned the same sorts of skills as him growing up, and people who longed to stay connected to their roots, and a more natural way of life. 

Banding together with other like minded young people, many of them university students like himself with knowledge of indigenous farming techniques, Konkankoh helped create a community garden in the city. It was a project built in the spirit of togetherness--a spirit that Konkankoh believed was central to who he was as a person. He could tell that his fellow gardeners shared the same belief. "From this concept of living off the land and the rite of passage, they were actually saying that a better world is possible in a slum in the city."