In the midst of tall coconut trees, plums, pear, mangoes and huge timber tress sit a handful of houses constructed with sun-dried brick and zinc roofs.
By Patience Toge
Over 600 hundred villagers inhabit Afanoyoa in the heart of the rich tropical forest in Yaounde III municipality, 30 kilometers away from the city of Yaounde. The only route to the village is an eight-kilometre dirt road.
Afanoyoa is named after one of the leaves found in the area, which means “Sleeping Bush”. The villagers are mostly peasant farmers, who own large parcels of land inherited from their grandparents. They cultivate cocoyam, plantains, cassava, cocoa and coffee. They also hunt a lot for bush meat and tap palm wine.
Afanoyoa villagers practise traditional farming using cutlasses and hoes.
According to Mvogo Serge Anicet, one of the patriarchs of the village, who also works at the National Assembly, the soil is virgin, with no chemicals used as fertilizer.
“Crops are allowed to grow wild in the forest, with very little cultivation. Even though the villagers carry out large-scale farming, most of the crops produced in the village are for local consumption,” said Mvogo Anicet.
Majoile, a farmer, told The Green Vision that most of the food produced in Sleeping Bush is sold in neighboring towns.
Afanoyoa does not only produce large amounts of bush meat and palm wine; there is a great deal of eru in the wild. Unlike in the South West Region where eru is cooked in palm oil with waterleaf as a softener and eaten with garri or water fufu, in Afanoyoa, the climbing plant is cooked as Okok, one of the main traditional dishes. Instead of adding meat, fish or cow skin (kanda) as is the culinary custom in the South West, Okok is cooked with groundnut paste in palm nut juice and salt. It is served with fermented cassava called mbobolo tied in leaves.
What will fire your appetite and enthusiasm in Afanoyoa are the “pharmacies”, which unusually supply not drugs, but beer and hot drinks.