With about two weeks to the Fako America 10th anniversary convention, the convention program has been released by the Fako America Executive Bureau. The program clearly shows the importance of this historic occasion. Not only do convention deliberations start a day earlier to accommodate the Special Constitutional Session, the panel discussions will focus primarily on a retrospective look at how far the association has come and what needs to be done to ensure its continued growth as it enters its second decade of existence.
From July 2 to July 4, 2004, Fako Dallas, the association headed by Mola Edwin Ndoko, will play host to Fako elements in the United States as they come together to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Fako America Organization. The fact that Fako Dallas, the youngest of all local Fako associations in America, would be hosting this historic event is a tribute to the dedication of its members and to their resolve to succeed against all odds. To paraphrase that famous inspirational children’s novel, this is the story of the little chapter that could.
Shortly after the July 2000 Fako America convention in Washington, DC, Mola Henry Njie, then Vice President of FECA Houston, and Mola Jimmy Jackai of Dallas, started informal discussions about the possibility of creating a Fako Association in the State of Texas. To this end, Mola Jackai became a member of the FECA Houston. In April 2001 Mola Njie and Mola Jackai held further discussions specifically relating to the creation of a Fako organization in Dallas. This was after Mola Njie mentioned his desire to move to the Dallas area in the near future.
When Mola Njie moved to Dallas about a year later in November 2002, he and Mola Jackai continued to brainstorm on the idea of starting a Fako association in Dallas. A month later, Mola Edwin Ndoko, the current chapter President, also moved to Dallas from Chicago. He was briefed on the discussions about having a chapter in Dallas. He enthusiastically endorsed the idea and promised his total support.
Arrangements immediately began in view of holding the first meeting of Fako elements in the area. Mola Jackai was instrumental in identifying Fako elements resident in Dallas, and informing them of the planned meeting. In January 2003, the first ever meeting of Fako elements in Dallas took place at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Mokonya Lyonga. The turnout was remarkable and the enthusiasm quite high. Members were encouraged to attend the second meeting to take place at the residence of Mola Njie. All those present were advised to fish out more Fako residents in the area and to invite them to the meetings.
In the second meeting, Mola Jimmy Jackai was selected by the members present to head a temporary executive team until more permanent structures were put in place, and elections duly held. Mola Jackai graciously agreed.
Shortly thereafter, work began on the bylaws of the chapter. It is expected that the final document will be debated upon and adopted shortly after the July convention.
In October 2003, Fako Dallas held its first ever election during a meeting at the residence of Iya Embelle Dorothy Njeuma. The following members were elected into office:
Once in office, the new executive decided to give Fako Dallas a solid legal foundation by incorporating the association as a not-for-profit corporation in the State of Texas. Articles of Incorporation were duly submitted to that effect, and they were approved in February 2004.
According to the Articles of Incorporation, the goals of the chapter are as follows:
1. Promoting healthcare and literacy among indigenes of Fako Division in Cameroon, Dallas/Fort Worth and around the world;
2. Promoting the interests of its members by means which include networking, fostering fellowship and encouraging communication;
3. Providing leadership and advocacy for the needs of and interests of indigenes of Fako Division in Dallas/Fort Worth and around the world;
4. Developing and encouraging cooperation with other associations in furtherance of the aforementioned purposes.
Fako America 2004
It should be noted that barely six months after its creation, Fako Dallas won, during the 2003 convention in Chicago, the bid to host the historic 10th Anniversary Fako America convention. Fako Dallas plans to live up to the challenge and give FA members a convention for the history books. Already, the chapter already organized a test run for Dallas 2004 when it organized a successful fund raising gala on December 20, 2003.
Although still a very young chapter, Fako Dallas has come a long way. We seize this opportunity to thank all those who have directly or indirectly contributed to the continued success of this endeavor. We also thank all those across the United States who have given us the moral support and encouragement needed to pull of this huge undertaking.
Fako Dallas hopes to live up to its goals. In this regard, it has a number of projects lined up for execution in the coming months. We will keep all FA members informed of developments in this regard. For now, however, all hands are on deck for Dallas 2004. We await you with open arms.
President Fako Dallas
Host Chapter FA '04
Dear Wana wa Fako,It is with great joy that I announce the launching of www.fakoamerica.org the official website of Fako America Organization on this day Saturday June 5, 2004.
Back in the mid and late nineties, while many Cameroonian cultural groups were busy establishing some form of web presence, Fako America was still relying primarily on cumbersome communications tools, such as regularly outdated mailing lists, for the sensitization and mobilization of the Fako Diaspora community in America.
In the summer of 1993, a group of Fako elements led by Mola Ngale Efange and Mola Makuna Tande began a series of in-depth discussions about the state of Fako division in general, and of the Fako Diaspora community in the United State in particular. They lamented the fact that unlike other Cameroonian communities in the US, Fako elements had never come together to discuss their collective problems or to celebrate their individual successes. It was also noted that the said community had never had a national organization in North America.
The general consensus was that creating a national Fako association in the US would be the best method for mobilizing the resources of the Fako Diaspora community for developmental and networking purposes. Unlike hundreds of similar discussions that had taken place within different segments of the Fako community over the years, the individuals behind the Summer 93 talks were determined to go beyond the rhetoric of despair and inaction of the past.
Mola Makuna Tande and Mola Mbua Efange, the brains behind Fako America, outlining their vision at the 1995 DC convention
In the years leading up to the creation of Fako America, I had spent a lot of time mulling over the absence of a representative umbrella Fako organization in the United States. Over the years, I jotted down a number of points as to why this was the case and what could be done to rectify the situation. However, for one reason or the other, I never seriously pursued this idea to its conclusion. Things were to change when my brother, Dibussi Tande, came over to the States in May 1993.
Anyone who visits the new Fako America website or makes a stop at FA’s online FA Gift Shop cannot but notice the impressive and very professional logo that adorns both sites, and which is found on all items at the shop. This logo was conceived and designed by none other than our own Mola Dr. Emil Isuma Mondoa who has, without doubt, been at the forefront of the Fako cultural renaissance within the Fako Diaspora community.
The logo, which brings back to life the long forgotten original Fako America motto that was coined Mola Mbua Efange, pioneer FA President, is laden with symbolism.
When sons and daughters of Fako gathered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in July 1994 for the first ever assembly of Fako elements in North America known as Fako America ’94, their wish was that the gathering would not only give birth to a permanent Fako organization in North America, but also create the basis for similar Fako gatherings across the United States annually. Buoyed by the spirit of unity that prevailed in Minnesota, a new organization called “Fako America” was born during that first gathering. 10 years later, the other wish of Fako America ’94 has become a reality: Fako America has so far organized nine successful conventions in the US, in collaboration with a number of local and regional Fako organizations – some whose creation was a fallout from the 1994 gathering.
The 10th Annual Fako America convention will take place in the city of Dallas, Texas from Friday, July 2 to Sunday, July 4, 2004. According to news reports from the host chapter, Dallas, Texas, all is set for this historic occasion which is likely change Fako America as we know it for ever.
Not only have all the venues for the cultural evening, deliberations and gala, including the official convention hotel, been selected, Fako Dallas is promising an entertainment package that has nothing to envy from those offered by major travel agencies.
Since its Creation in 1994, Fako America has had five Executive Bureaus, from the pioneer administration of Mola Mbua Efange to the current admininstration of Mola Dibussi Tande. Each of these administrations has had to deal with different sets of challenges linked to the times. Some of these challenges have, however been common to all administrations.
Whatever the challenges and obstacles, every single FA administration has done its best to to move the organization forward. This section of the website is in honor of all those who have served Fako America.
May future generations learn from their failures and be inspired by their successes.
NOTE: List updated with post-2004 administrations.
Since its creation, Fako America has always had an open-door policy with regards to membership that is in line with the diversity within its target community. Thus, membership is open not only to native born Fako elements, but also to their spouses, irrespective of their ethnic or national origins, and to their American-born children. All that is expected of all those who qualify for membership is that they duly acquit themselves of all financial obligations towards the organization. This open door policy has gone a long way to add color, vigor and dynamism to the association over the years - a dynamism that has kept it going strong in spite of all the obstacles it has faced thus far.
In 2001, the then FA President Lydia Evakise and her executive bureau realized that most of post convention financial misunderstandings and disagreements between host chapters and the national organization were caused by the absence of clear-cut and mutually acceptable rules regarding convention finances. The Bureau concluded that most, if not all, of these problems would be resolved if both parties agreed on mutually acceptable financial terms prior to the convention - terms that would be spelled out in a duly signed contract.