By Tata Mbunwe
Nsotomfom Modeste, a 26-year-old internally displaced girl from the Northwest Region, has found a comfortable spot in motor mechanics, one of the many jobs in Cameroon where women hardly venture into.
In her quest for self employment, she could have still opted for other jobs that society generally deems more befitting of women.
Rather, she ventured into one that many people not only consider as demeaning, but also view it as a completely male job.
On a regular working day, she enters her mechanic workshop not as the woman many people consider her to be, but as a mechanic like any other in town.
She is specialised in repairing heavy duty trucks, a job which she very much likes, her father told MMI.
“She is just happy doing what she does now and wants other women to at least have something doing,” said her father, who doubles as her coach.
“She won’t be going celebrating women’s day tomorrow, as she will be at her job site all day long,” he told MMI.
Before her forced displacement from Kumbo in the Northwest Region to Douala – where she and her family are now based, Modeste had dreams of working on a white-collar job.
But these dreams were shattered when the ongoing conflict broke out in the English-speaking Regions of Cameroon.
Her town of origin, Kumbo, was among areas worst affected by the conflict.
She had to stop schooling after an unsuccessful attempt at the GCE Advanced Level in 2016.
“She wrote the Advanced Level and failed. When the crisis began, she could not continue…. But things didn’t work so she decided to fend for herself,” her father recounted to MMI.
“She has a son who lives with me. She has got ambitions, yes. She just wants her life to be better.”
A motivation to many girls
Nsotomfom Modeste is much admired by those around where she lives and works.
Her primary desire is not only to be self-employed, but to also challenge the norm of young girls always trying to rely on men for sustenance.
To complement what she earns from her motor mechanics work, she also sells at a fuel station in Douala where she gets paid.
“She’s been able to win the admiration of her colleagues and many, as what she does is believed by many to be a man’s job,” he father said.
“This could serve as motivation to the many girls out there who find themselves in precarious situations because they only want to sit and wait for men to take care of them,” he added.
Mimi Mefo Info