If we are friends, then we’ve discussed how much I love Buea. Mount Cameroon keeps cloud cover at a maximum (freckled, sunburn-y blanche over here, people. I am Jack’s ever-present skin cancer anxiety), there’s an actual ice cream parlor (the staff of which graciously looks the other way when I order for two despite clearly being alone), the Atlantic Ocean is a taxi-ride-through-a-tea-plantation away, and a university keeps the city vibe young and progressive. On top of that, there are some sincerely wonderful friends living there, and the combination of all those things has turned Buea into something of a personal retreat center.
Currently happening in Buea, decidedly more important than my fixation on ocean air is ChessMate. And if you’re moving on to the next paragraph without opening that link in a new tab, don’t be that guy. Click the hyperlink, then continue reading.
I call ChessMate and Kaleido Hub to your attention for a few reasons. First, it has its roots here in Cameroon with people I know and love, whose abilities and drive I have the utmost confidence in. But I also want you to know about it because this is the kind of project you should generally be hearing about, investing in, trusting. Regular people using their skill sets to create projects that satisfy creative urges and benefit their own community. I expect that many of you have enjoyed communal, creative spaces and know how crucial they can be for thinking, learning, sharing, changing the tides of history. Also, chess + art = WOWCOULDTHISBEANYMOREPERFECT?
I won’t say much more about this here since you’ve all got the campaign link and there’s that whole “beating a dead horse” thing. And I know this may not be what you’re used to seeing as far as an African-based call for donations and project attention goes. It’s not on the brink of a cure for Ebola, it’s not single-handedly going to destroy Joseph Kony, and there are exactly zero unpronounceable, multi-syllabic words from remote, jungle dialects. It’s chess, computers, and a cultural center. This is a modern, community-minded project set up to benefit a modern community–simply that. It is innovative without over-extending itself. Frankly, the world needs more community-centric projects; created by the community, for the community, etc. etc. ChessMate–and by extension Kaleido Hub–is effective development (in the truest, most universal, “evolution; growth; maturation” sense of the word ‘development’, though, not in the “send aid immediately for the development of those poor, African failed states” sense) and this is my declaration of support. Think about it, folks. Tell your friends. Tell your wealthy benefactors. Tell that trust fund cousin you’ve always been jealous of. And sorry about the sarcasm. It’s a coping mechanism, I swear.
Want to know more about the photos? Here’s the dead horse again: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/chessmate-evolution-of-chess-into-digital-art