From a basement to a beautiful building!
This is what is in store for the 150 members of the Brunstad Christian Church fellowship in Bafoussam, Cameroon. Presently, church services and activities are held in the basement of a building, with very few facilities available. This situation is far from ideal for the congregation, particularly for the youth and children, numbering approximately 105, who need a safe and pleasant environment with amenities that facilitate healthy outdoor activities, fellowship and spiritual growth.
In July 2020, the project of building a church venue able to accommodate and cater for all the needs of a growing fellowship, was embarked upon and is now in the advanced stages of completion. The meeting hall is complete, the grounds are being landscaped and retaining walls, fences and gates are being erected. The original deadline for completion was set for the 15th May 2021, however the project is well ahead of schedule.
A team of six young people, who completed the Christian Youth Development Program (CYDP) hosted at BCC South Africa in 2017, who have returned to Cameroon, are driving the project with support from South Africa. Although these young people received training in various spheres of construction and project management while on the CYDP, a project of this size has required a substantial amount of technical support and further training from South Africa.
Reporting systems were set up to facilitate daily communication between the project managers in Cameroon and South Africa, to assist with daily and weekly planning. Through frequent online meetings, phone calls, videos and photographs, a considerable amount of training and transfer of skills has taken place. A CCTV camera system which was set up has also been a tremendous help in monitoring the building process from all angles, with the advantage of also having an overview of the entire project. This of course is not the most optimal method of training, but in the circumstances with international travel curtailed, it is the only way the construction could proceed and young people could be employed and trained. The scope of the work has included budgeting (and keeping within budget), costing, procuring materials, administration, accounting, bricklaying, plumbing, electrical work and so on, as well as taking care of the health and well-being of the construction team.
This has been an excellent opportunity for the 25 young members of BCC Cameroon who were chosen to join the CYDP in 2020 in South Africa, but were unable to participate due to visa delays and Covid-19 travel restrictions. This team has been the workforce of the project. They have been supported by volunteers from the Bafoussam congregation, as well as from the BCC fellowships in Douala and Yaoundé, who have worked tirelessly over weekends assisting with roofing, concrete work, landscaping and various other tasks. For all intents and purposes, the drive to complete the project ahead of schedule is so that these young people, who missed out last year, can join the 2021 CYDP in South Africa.
Despite the many daily challenges experienced during construction, a tremendous amount of effort has been put into this project to achieve a high standard of work, which will result in a venue that the BCC fellowship in Bafoussam can be proud of!