Tuesday, November 1, 2016


Founder, Project C.U.R.E.
Author, The Happiest Man in the World: Life Lessons from a Cultural Economist

Douala, Cameroon, Africa: February, 2004: Cameroon Airways flight #817 took me from Kinshasa, Congo, to Douala, Cameroon. I was met at the airport by a Canadian missionary named Dale but was quickly handed off to a sharp, young, black national named Vincent who delivered me to another missionary guesthouse located just across the street from the shipping port and docks in in a very rough and industrialized section of Douala.

While eating with Vincent, I asked if there would be any possibility of meeting with any government or shipping people who could help guarantee our success in getting our containers into Cameroon without problems and without getting gouged with shipping fees, duty, or taxes. Vincent later brought to my room a roly-poly local man named Tim Francis. Tim ran his own company and specialized in receiving shipments through the ports and all the government officials. I found Tim to be a wonderful and warm Christian who was dedicated to helping the Baptists get their cargo shipping containers into Cameroon successfully. I told Tim that my old granddad had taught me that it was easier to stay out of trouble than it was to get out of trouble. I was there in Cameroon before I shipped anything into the country for the Baptists so that I could stay out of trouble and be successful, rather than getting one of my valuable medical loads tied up in customs or with the port authorities.

Tim thanked me for my approach and said he wished every shipper would be as dedicated and efficient. He then pulled out of his briefcase files showing me exactly what I needed and how to word the different letters and forms. It was important to use certain words in the official letter of donation, as well as the request for tax exemption.

Tim was a real answer to prayer. I had fretted and stewed all the previous week wondering how we would ever deliver the medical goods to the far north of Congo. In Cameroon I now had an ally who would help us. Tim had been able to do through the Cameroon government what Larry Sthreshley had never been able to do in Douala or Yaoundé.

Before parting ways, I asked Tim if I could count on his help if I had problems with getting my loads into northern Congo. I had been thinking all last week of the possibility of shipping the Congo loads into Douala, Cameroon, and taking them across Cameroon and the Central Republic of Africa, then directly into northern Congo since there were no roads to Loco, Wasolo, or Karawa from Kinshasa.

Tim thought that just might be the way to ship and promised he would help Project C.U.R.E. try to accomplish it.

Saturday, February 7
What an absolutely horrible, miserable night! When I walked into my room at the Douala missionary guesthouse, I noticed a round fan sitting on a nightstand, pointed at the head of the bed. There was no mosquito net in sight so I interpreted all that as an indication that malaria-carrying mosquitoes were not a problem in the city of Douala. Should some errant mosquitoes come flying around the bed while I was sleeping I presumed that the fan would blow the blood-sucking winged harpoonists into kingdom come!

Well, shortly after I had fallen asleep with the fan running, they shut off the electric generator. The mosquitoes had known what they were doing. I was sure they had successfully used their strategy before. My deductions were all wrong and the army of waiting dive-bombers hiding in the shadows of the room laughed with glee as they organized their commando raid on my succulent white meat.

When I stirred and awoke I realized that the vicious initial attack had resulted in six or eight successful strikes. They had forced me to involuntarily give blood to their cheap “Blood Bank of Mosquito, Africa.”

It quite frankly frightened me when I fully awoke and realized that I had been penetrated by malaria-carrying bugs for a certain time. I freely doused myself with Deet repellent and began a counter-attack operation of smashing every pot-bellied bloodsucker that I could find in the room. Several confessed before dying and offered to inject the blood back into me. They were perched on the walls, the ceiling, the drapes, and the bathroom mirror – everywhere!

I sat there with my flashlight in the middle of the night waiting to spot another enemy. I was angry at the mosquitoes. I was angry with myself for not taking more precautions. I had seen people with malaria dying all week in the hospitals. I could only hope that the anti-malaria prophylactic I had been taking would do its job. Now it would be mandatory that I take the medicine for another four weeks after I returned home because the mosquitoes had deposited the malaria virus into my system as they stole my blood supply. The venom would get into my system and pass through my liver, which would do its best to screen out the foreign impurities from my blood.

However, the malaria would stop and harbor in the walls of my liver and about four weeks later would hatch and send out a newly energized batch of attackers into my body. That was why malaria always proved so dangerous. You would think you were well past the time when you were infected and then blam; you would be hit with a barrage. That’s when you would really start getting ill and running a fever.

Malaria was nothing to be fooling with and for nearly 20 years of travel in the world’s worst slums and jungle I had escaped the dreaded fever. As I started to lay back again on my pillow I decided to tear the room apart and see if there just might be a mosquito net hidden under the bed, under the mattress or somewhere else in the room.

Behold! In the back corner of a wooden cabinet I discovered a crumpled, dirty net left by some other at-risk pilgrim. That was good enough for me. I set out to rig up the net over the bed using some pretty ingenious and desperate methods.

Finally, with the dirty net suspended over the bed I was able to fall back into a fitful, itchy sleep for a few more hours.

I got up at 5:30 a.m. so that I would be ready to head out early Saturday morning from Douala to the Mbingo hospital in the northern sector of Cameroon. At the guesthouse I was able to negotiate for a small loaf of French bread, some butter, and two cups of hot tea. Vincent, my driver, had also been up early and had the Toyota van washed up and filled with diesel fuel for our trip. It would take us seven hours of hard driving without stopping for lunch to make it to the Mbingo hospital with one stop at the Baptist Convention headquarters in Bamenda.

Next Week: Colorado Connection in Banyo

© Dr. James W. Jackson
Permissions granted by Winston-Crown Publishing House


Dr. James W. Jackson often describes himself as "The Happiest Man in the World." A successful businessman, award-winning author and humanitarian, Jackson is also a renowned Cultural Economist and international consultant, helping organizations and governments to apply sound economic principals to the transformation of culture so that everyone is "better off."

As the founder of Project C.U.R.E., Dr. Jackson traveled to more than one hundred fifty countries assessing healthcare facilities, meeting with government leaders and "delivering health and hope" in the form of medical supplies and equipment to the world's most needy people. Literally thousands of people are alive today as a direct result of the tireless efforts of Project C.U.R.E.'s staff, volunteers and Dr. Jackson. 

To contact Dr. Jackson, or to book him for an interview or speaking engagement: press@winstoncrown.com

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