As promised, here are some photos to help illustrate the extravagance of Cameroonian Youth Day. In Danfili, the week consisted of soccer matches, talent shows, a round table debate, and finally a big parade followed by a dance party. I played in a soccer match between female secondary school students and women of the community, and was nominated a member of the “grading committee” for the other events, which took place after dark.
Parades of this sort are common for national holidays. While my small town celebrated on the grounds of the primary school, bigger towns take to the streets! I know the photos look small in the post, but if you click on them you can see larger versions.
The different school groups prepare their lines and routines before the parade begins. The primary school was separated into “Group 1” in purple and white, and “Group 2” in blue and yellow.
A crowd of mamas and other family members wait under the Cameroonian flag in the shade.
Look familiar? The preschool students lead the parade, chanting, “l’ecole maternelle a les jolies choses…” (okay I don’t remember more of the chant, but they’re adorable!)
The preschool boys are very good at marching in straight lines.
Group 2 girls parade past.
To spice up their marching, the Group 2 girls execute a waving routine with handkerchiefs.
Voila, the CES (Secondary School). Our secondary school currently ends with the French school system’s equivalent of ninth grade, but the director has applied to expand to a full “lycee” status. Currently, if students want to continue school after troisieme, they must attend another school 45km away.
The Majorettes in one of their formations, impressing the rowdy crowd. The average age of girl students at the CES is fourteen. Only about a quarter of the CES students are girls and few make it to troisieme.
Male secondary school students. The average age of male students is sixteen, as many boys take time off of school.
Meet our town crier, entertaining the crowd and encouraging them to support their students. He speaks a little English, and likes to publicly draw attention to my foreignness.
Monsieur Pascal helps the primary school students get in formation for their “mouvement ensemble” dance for the audience.
An encore performance by the preschoolers!
In the same fashion of the talent show from the nights before, these girls dance while onlookers flock to give them money to encourage them in school. These dancers are serious, no smiling!
The Danfili Youth Day grading committee. My colleagues work at the secondary school and offered funny quips throughout our week of watching dances, skits, and marching.