This morning, as everybody was celebrating Women’s Month, I stopped everything I was doing, I closed my eyes and started smiling. I was smiling because I was dreaming of a green world, where everyone is cautious of the impact of climate change, on women we are celebrating this month, on the young lady I am.
My dream was a kind of journey. It started in Cameroon, my native country. I was seeing women in Campo, free to go to their forest as they want, free to get fish from their water. I saw myself swimming in a river, not a polluted one. It was so nice, being connected to nature, so fresh and relaxing.
I also saw Yaounde, my current township, free from plastic bottles. In my dream, I saw Coca-Cola and Cameroon brasseries stop serving juice in plastic bottles. It was so nice, I felt proud, secured, and safe. My health was guaranteed and everything was put in place for me to breathe clean air.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
My journey then brought me to DRC, my neighbouring country. Oh! I was in the forest, dancing makossa in the forest. I decided to visit a friend who stays at Kinshasa. While listening to the radio, we learned that the government has decided to cancel the selling of oil blocks. That was so nice that we decided to stand up and celebrate. Other Indigenous People joined us and we were so happy that the forest was safe. It was so beautiful…
After that, I went to Senegal, my second country. It is one of my favourites in Africa. Each time I have been there, I was so sad seeing women fighting to have fish to cook in their houses. In fact, the big companies were taking almost everything from their ocean that it was so hard for them to have fish even to feed their families, let alone the possibility of selling it and having some money.
But in my dream everything was different… women were happy! Awa, one of the women I met around the seaside said something in Wolof. I did not have the time to catch it, but was told that in English it means: “Now I can celebrate Women’s Day. Our fish are back. My family and I are sure of a daily source of protein in our diet.” It was so nice.
Journalists, both national and international, were happy to cover the story. In my dream, I was thinking about watching the news in the evening and to capture all those smiling faces of women and share them on my social media. Yes, the theme of the 2023 celebration is addressing the digital gender gap as an important tool for inclusion. For me, digital is a powerful way to denounce climate injustice but when we have some victories, they must be celebrated.
I have never been to Kenya, but my dreams brought me there. I was amazed by the beauty of the city. On my way from the airport to my hotel room, I saw a movement of women, coming back from the celebration. They had banners with the message “Mbegu zetu, uhai wetu” translating to “our seeds, our life”. There was a kind of light shining and lightening their faces.
I asked the driver what the problem was. He told me that for many years, they have been asking the Kenyan government to amend a punitive seed law that criminalises farmers for selling or sharing uncertified seeds without any response. As a gift for the International Women’s Day celebration, the government decided to accept their request. He added that for two days now, the whole country has been celebrating this important decision. In my dream, I felt honoured to have come to Kenya for the first time in such a great context.
My thoughts then brought me to South Africa. Solar panels were installed almost everywhere.
The government decided to turn to renewable energy to stop load shedding (power cuts). An old classmate was in Cape Town. She was doing her PhD research in a university there. She was one of the rare female researchers of her home country to do research in mechanics. I remember when I often discussed with her one of the difficulties she faced while writing her thesis was due to light. She always had to deal with load shedding.
She is now a doctor, and is telling me how studying conditions have changed and are now much suitable for other students in her university. The government finally found a solution to load shedding, giving African women a chance to safely pursue their studies. It is so nice to see those intelligent women studying in South Africa, representing Africa on the world stage.
My dream was about to carry me to another beautiful country when I was suddenly woken up by my younger brother… I was so sad to come back to reality. My beautiful dream had to stop there, but I am still hoping my dream will come true and will continue advocating to see that change in Africa.
Luchelle Feukeng, the dreamer.
Luchelle Feukeng is a Communications Consultant at Greenpeace Africa based in Yaoundé, Cameroon.