Five chiefs of small villages in the West African nation of Cameroon gave the state of Louisiana $868 in donations from their villagers who were moved by the plight of Hurricane Katrina victims.
The amount may have been small, but represented a huge sum in a land where the average salary is 45 cents a day.
The chiefs presented the donations from 3,000 villagers to the state Senate on Wednesday. Individual donations ranged from two cents to $5. A 9-year-old boy donated 25 cents he had been saving to buy school supplies.
"They said they saw pictures of the storm on television," said state Sen. Robert Adley. "They thought all of Louisiana was gone and their people were frightened" for Louisiana residents.
Adley said the chiefs began working together with the Shreveport-Bossier Community Renewal organization in 2005 to improve their villages. The chiefs came to Louisiana with funding supplied by a group of churches in the Shreveport area, said David Westerfield, communications director for the renewal group.