Growing Hearts Across the World
This garden honors the Sister City relationship between La Crosse, Wisconsin and Kumbo, Cameroon.
The Cameroon Garden honors the rich cultural traditions of Cameroon and provides a gathering place where three rivers meet. It features colors found in the Cameroon flag, and artwork specially crafted to honor Cameroon’s culture and history.
Donors included community members and area businesses and area Rotary clubs in celebration of 100 years of Rotary here.
Donate by clicking the button at the bottom of this page.
Find the Cameroon Garden
Find the Cameroon Garden on the north end of Riverside Park in La Crosse.
Mami Wata (Mermaid) Fountain
Mami Wata is a mythical being whose story is common to all of Cameroon. She is a mermaid of the sea and the river. Families share stories of Mami Wata around the fire where they gather after dinner. Parents use Mommy Water to scare the children from going into the water too deep or for too long. They say she will take them if they go too far or are in the water after 6 pm. She is a big part of their culture for good and bad.
Raffia Palm Entrance
Two large metal raffia palms create an entryway to the garden, illustrating Cameroon’s most common and loved palm tree.
Rain Barrels: Four rain barrels feature fabric designs of West Africa.
Sculpture of Sense Pass King
Sense Pass King is a beloved Cameroon story shared for generations -a girl grows to have more wisdom and skill than even the king possesses by the time she is two years old – so they call her Sense Pass(t) King. The king plots to destroy her, but she saves the king by balancing on the edge of a ship and shooting an arrow at a sea monster. We imagine a sculpture of her in this pose amongst our hills.
Artworks to be sponsored:
The FON is the traditional leader of the NSO tribe. The story of the Ngonso and the narrative that ‘the Fon never dies’ exemplifies a strong role of folklore and oral tradition. The oral history shared is that this area was invaded. There were two brothers and a sister who were by the water’s edge. The two brothers abandoned the sister, crossed the water, and each founded a new area and became the leaders of those new areas. The sister turned around, organized the people, and led a successful fight against the invaders. She saved the community and became the original FON. The FON is important to everyday living and guiding of the community.
Turtle and Lizard and Soccer Ball
Sculptural turtles and lizards are planned as both animals are common in Cameroon and of symbolic significance. The people of Cameroon keep artistic elements as part of their everyday world. Having a turtle, lizard, and a soccer ball link our garden to Cameroon gardens.
Sculptural Fireside with an Adult and Two Children
Cameroon oral history is shared after dinner around a fire by mothers and children. Three large rocks are kept in the fireplace to hold cooking pans. This sculpture will include benches around the “fire” for people to sit amongst this sculptural family. The design includes room for a person in a wheelchair to join the circle. The metal fire might be lit for nighttime. The two children will be looking attentively at their mother.
Children Dancing around a Drum
Dancing is a part of daily culture in Cameroon. Daily, TV stations play dance music for an hour so children can enjoy dance time! In addition, people dance frequently to drum music. This sculpture would feature two girls and a boy situated around a drum. (Children are revered in Cameroon culture.)
A stylized entryway is proposed as you enter the Cameroon garden from the Ireland garden. In Cameroon, entryways are common, often square decorative blocks featuring symbolic animals such as the spider, lion, and lizard.
Click photos to enlarge
Years ago, the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration developed a relationship with the Republic of Cameroon,West Central Africa. That relationship grew into an officially recognized “Sister City” relationship with the city of Kumbo, Cameroon.
Sponsor a sculpture:
Sculptural elements will be added as they are sponsored by the community. Please contact Contact Chuck Hanson, CEH@haleskemp.com for more information!
A big “thank you” to all of our community partners!
- La Crosse-area Rotary Clubs
- Riverside International Friendship Gardens, Inc.
- La Crosse Friends of Cameroon
- The Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration
- Mayor Kabat and the City of La Crosse
- Bluff Country Master Gardeners
- La Crosse City Parks