At 6:30 on a saturday morning in Douala, children arrive with their parents to take part in the activities of the day. They are part of the Potager club, a project initiated two years ago by Erik Kontchou with the objective of reconnecting young children from the big cities to nature, agriculture and breeding.
**"We noticed that children in the cities of Douala and Yaounde in particular had very little contact with nature. So we asked ourselves what we could do to solve this problem and we created the vegetable garden. We started with the Covid and parents did not send their children anymore. So for almost two years we stopped and this year we started again with the project".**Erik Kontchou, told Africanews correspondent Joel Honore Koam.
One of the kids, Tedon Mathis has become accustomed to this club. He now dreams of becoming a farmer.
"We came to remove the weeds and put natural fertilizer on our plants so that they can grow faster" he says."We were taught how to raise and plant the plants properly. This will help us so that if in the future we don't have enough money to buy things we can plant and harvest them ourselves". Mathis explained.
For the parents who come here with their children, it was necessary to do something else for the kids other than academic work at school where they go five days a week. Daniel Okala, is one of the parents who share this notion.
"We need to give them a culture other than that of the ordinary school. We must add to the school an apprenticeship of a man, so that they know that they can grow crops, be trained in aquaculture in agriculture, and tomorrow with the means they can have projects in this sense. Those who will be able to have land will know that with a piece of land I can make a field, we can exploit a swamp by raising fish ".
It is also an opportunity for some to do some real family activity better than walks and outings, particularly with agrculture.
**"After the child must also have contact with the earth because we live in apartments and the earth is not very present in our daily life, and then it is an activity that the children appreciated a lot, finished the grace matinee, since we started they are the ones who wake up on Saturday morning to say that we go there. We don't need to put pressure on them".**Jeanne Enyama, another parent explained.
The club resumed activities in March after a one year hiatus brought about by the covid pandemic. Erik Koutchou has said his long-term goal is to allow children chidren understand the importance of agriculture, climate and nature in general.
So far, nearly about 600 children have been impacted. And 100 children are registered in the club. "As I told you each child must return with mainly two things in mind, the first of the things, what I eat, how is it done, the seed that I put in the ground how does it grow, it is necessary that the children become aware of what they put in their mouth. This is the health issue and we have a second issue that is very strong which is the business mindset and then the climate mindset. We must love and appreciate nature" Erik stressed.