First Woman Pilot in Cameroon
We have known Christine Njeuma since she was very young. Her family has visited us in Johnson City, as well as in Massachusetts, many times over the years! One of the pictures this week shows our two families on the ETSU campus in the late 70's. Certainly that relationship was one of the important reasons that we are here in Cameroon now.
It was in deed very exciting for us when Christine was hired as the first women pilot by Cameroon Airlines shortly after we arrived here in Buea last year. Just like everywhere else in the world, the first of anything is always a break-through. We waited with her to hear the hiring news for what seemed like a long time. It was actually only a few weeks. After a training period, Christine was finally given her flying assignment about one and half months ago. She is flying small Beachcraft commercial planes between the two largest cities in Cameroon, Douala and Yaounde, and she sometimes makes the trip from Douala to Molabo in Equatorial Guinea, which is just south of Cameroon. We are hoping that we will have some opportunities to fly with her in the future.
When Steven was here, Christine was one of the persons who went up to the summit when we did our big hike to climb Mt. Cameroon. You might want to go back in the files of our big hike to see her picture there. Christine also went with us on our trip to the north when we visited Waza and Roumsiki. At that time we were waiting to hear about her assignment by Cam Air.
Christine acquired her flight certificate while she was working on her Master's degree in Florida, which was after she received her BA in French in Gainsville, FL. As you can see, she knows about the U.S. and it's culture quite intimately. We believe that she will be a tremendous asset for Cam Air. She will be scheduled to get her training to fly Boeing 737's soon, and then she will get into international routes. Her professional debut here in Cameroon has created a huge propaganda bonus for Cam Air already. In the male-dominated African society, her presence in this male-dominated profession speaks well for Cameroon, the country, and for Cameroon Airlines. While we can not tell you if there are any other female pilots working for Africa's commercial airlines, we are certain that the number is very small.
Christine, we are proud of you!