CDC (Cameroon Development Corporation)
CDC is the largest employer not only in this area but also in Cameroon. It was originally built by the British. After Cameroon's independence, CDC was taken over by the government. It is now trying to be "privatized", but as far as we know the process is not yet complete. For obvious reasons, CDC is the largest land holder in Cameroon as well.
When Steven was here, we took a full day trip to drive around Mount Cameroon. Our guide was a manager at CDC, as we had to take many private CDC roads. We visited tea, coconut, palm nut, banana, and rubber tree farms. We went to see a palm oil manufacturing facility with a new boiler purchased from Malaysia, which makes sense only if you know that Malaysia has a lot of experience producing palm oil. Some farms only need a few people to take care of them, such as coconuts farm, but tea farms require a large number of people to do manual work. CDC literally builds some small villages along the tea farm roads.
When you drive out of Buea, regardless of which direction you take, you will see CDC farms. The rubber trees will give you a picture of neatly spaced trees bent uniformly in the direction of the wind, along the highway. They change the shades of their colors depending on the seasons and time of the day. Then, a few minutes later, you see dark green banana trees with blue plastic bags for their fruits. If you stop the car and walk closer to these forests, you will see multiple colored birds, large and small, darting among the trees and singing songs we are not at all familiar with. These are the typical scenes of this area. But not all stops will be rewarded. If you stop alongside the rubber trees, the rotten latex smell can scare you away quickly.
This semester, the chemistry students will hopefully take two trips to visit CDC. Tom personally went with two teachers in the Department to CDC head-quarter in Limbe (25 miles away) to make the arrangements. You can see that they do not use telephones for such arrangements. Not only did we go there in person, we had to take formal letters of request with us to present them directly to CDC manager. Then we come back to wait for their answer. This is the Cameroon way!