Monday, November 9, 2009

A Visit From the Home Front

Hello from a guest blogger, Wendy (Allison’s mom), who will hopefully, fill in some gaps since Allison’s last and very long ago posting. My husband, Dick and I recently returned from a visit to Cameroon and since, unlike Allison, we have the luxury of high speed internet, I have included photos from our trip. Hopefully, these will satisfy many who have been anxious to really SEE Allison’s life in Africa. (If you don’t want to read my reminiscences, you can scroll down to the photos, the best part.)

Allison is putting in AND getting back so much from this experience. Her life is busy with work projects and to see her navigate Cameroonian culture, its languages, its social quirks (like incessant bargaining), with humor and great affection for the people, is a sight to behold. Speaking of sights, seeing Allison for the first time in over a year was pretty overwhelming. In the first instance of cross cultural confusion my tears of joy startled some security guard at the airport who asked me if anything was wrong. Far from it, seeing her was such a joyous moment. She looked just like herself but we were about to discover that she was transformed in so many wonderful ways.

After a night’s stay in Yaounde, the capital city in the south, we spent a comfortable night via couchette (our own sleeper room with bunk beds) on the 14 hr train north from Yaounde to Ngaoundere, the main city in the Adamawa region where Allison lives. There had been a very serious accident on this train route about 2-3 weeks earlier so we were very grateful to arrive safely only about 2 hrs late – we had heard tales of the 14 hour trip taking far, far longer. In Ngaoundere, Allison picked up a small refrigerator (gift from her aunt) and a sewing machine (gift from her grandmother) and we started our journey to Meiganga, Allison’s post. With a private car and driver and Allison’s counterpart, Bourdier, we were about to venture on what has to be one of the worst roads in Cameroon (or anywhere!) but which is, of course, the only way to reach her post. It has been said that Peace Corps volunteers compete for who has the hottest post, the worst road etc. Well, from what we saw over 2 ½ weeks and many miles traveled, Allison’s road to Meiganga wins hands down. Unpaved, full of potholes, with tons of mud marking the end of the rainy season, the road makes for a harrowing drive. We were held up by an overturned truck, darkness and, of course, torrential rain. Even in good weather it can take 4-5 hrs. It took us at least 7. We survived…. after all, we’re intrepid travelers, right? A wonderful surprise awaited us at Allison’s house……eight of her Cameroonian friends and her new postmate, Claire greeted us with shouts of “Bienvenue”, hand painted welcome signs all over, outside and inside, AND a very welcomed home cooked dinner - spaghetti and meatballs Cameroon style which meant a spicy sauce - quite delicious. This was the first of many signs that Allison is surrounded by caring and generous friends. To our surprise, the refrigerator and sewing machine, despite hours of shocks and bumps, arrived safely and Allison has not stopped raving about the joys of refrigeration (cold drinks, a place for leftovers so she doesn’t have to cook every day). It’s amazing how we take so many of our conveniences for granted. Looking back, travel was both challenging and comical from trucks overturned blocking the entire road in 6 inches of pure mud to jumping from a almost moving car pulling my pants off to squash killer ants that had run up my legs.

Allison’s French is shockingly good –total immersion is the best teacher. Luckily many of her friends speak French in addition to Fulfulde or Baya (the local ethnic languages) so her French is great and her Fulfulde and Baya are, well, a work in progress.

Meiganga is quite rural, surrounded by hills (you’d never know it has about 70,000 people, feels more like 1-2000.) The roads, (all dirt, of course) are this beautiful red color and next to the ubiquitous green fields make for a pretty sight. There are mosques and churches and the Muslims and Christians live side by side. This might be explained by the fact that people have Islam and Christianity interspersed in their families like Allison’s counterpart, Bourdier who is Christian but whose grandmother was Muslim. Bourdier, Allison’s liason for work and everything Cameroonian could not have been more kind and generous. He has a great smile and infectious spirit and we understand why Allison feels so lucky to work with him. He arranged so much for us including a day trip to a beautiful waterfall on the border of the Central African Republic and had us over for a traditional Cameroonian meal.

Cameroonians are a high spirited people and we were always greeted with warmth and excitement. Peace Corps volunteers are rare and their parents even rarer. We felt like special diginitaries the way people greeted us. We visited the local hospital where Allison works, the women’s center where she teaches young girls computers and life skills and organizes a scholarship program so girls can attend school. We also visited a group of handicapped men for whom Allison is securing a microlending project so they can purchase milling machines for a new sustainable business. We encountered friends of Allison’s everywhere and stopping to chat ( a must in Cameroonian culture) stretched each walk into the better part of a morning. We met the local tailor who offered to give Allison lessons on her new sewing machine, many neighbors, children and Allison’s favorite food vendors at the local market. We passed on the fried caterpillars but bought meat and vegetables since Allison invited 12 friends over with Dick as guest chef. The dinner and evening were great fun and some old standby games we brought, notably Jenga and Chinese checkers, were a huge hit.

Allison has constant house visitors – from children (often carrying babies) who silently sit on her floor watching the goings on (which in this case was us) or playing with her kitten, Houdini, to teenagers and adults who came by to meet us. The constant visiting would drive us crazy but it also made us relieved to see that Allison has a wide circle of friends and aquaintances who look out for her. We were invited to many homes for dinner. One of Allison’s friends, Leelee, knowing that we were in the restaurant business, invited us to watch her cook us a traditional meal. After 2-3 hours, we came to appreciate the effort involved in producing the most popular Cameroonian staple, Ndole. We sat in an unbelievably smoky cook house (a small enclosure behind the house next to the pig shed containing the fire and food hanging from the ceiling being smoked) Ndole requires the rinsing and peeling of raw peanuts, combining them with many spices into a bittergreen similar to spinach but whose bitterness requires hours of boiling. The ndole was delicious but the accompanying “couscous” a combination of flour and water into a sticky uncooked ball, was hard to eat more than a couple fingerfulls – an acquired taste. A tasty porridge, fried plantains as a side dish and bananas or fried beignets for dessert are common. Allison took us twice to her favorite fish restaurant where a woman grills whole lake fish (capitain and perch) outdoors which you then eat with your fingers and a spicy sauce –delicious!

In Meiganga, as in most Cameroonian villages, there are no taxis, no cars at all so local transport means motos, hopping on, with great faith, behind a moto driver and hoping he is careful and keeps his eyes straight ahead (which they almost never do). For me, these rides were always frightening as the dirt roads (yes, no paved roads anywhere) are basically uneven layers of mud with two foot potholes everywhere requiring a driver’s utmost concentration and agility in navigation. If it wasn’t for the oppressive heat, I think I would have walked everywhere. Thankfully, I did learn to close my eyes and enjoy the breeze while the drivers got us everywhere safely for about 20 cents a ride. The gas stations consist of a small table on the side of the road containing plastic water bottles filled with fuel. I also loved the sight of a single copier machine on the side of the dirt road as the local answer to Kinko’s.

After leaving Allison’s post, we spent the rest of our time in the Extreme North where most of Allison’s friends are posted. On the way we stopped in Pitoa to visit the family Allison lived with during the first three months of Peace Corps training. How lovely and sweet they were; no wonder Allison’s initiation to Cameroon was so positive. As they showed us their village, the little girls (her sisters) in their beautiful pagne outfits would fight with each other in order to hold Allison’s hands. The main city of the North, Maroua was a pretty surprise with huge trees shading its streets. From there, we visited many small villages (on the border with Nigeria), so picturesque with groups of boukarous (little mud huts with pointy straw roofs) nestled in the hills. They look like something out of The Hobbit. A trip to Rhumsiki in the Extreme North showcased the Mandara Mountains – stunning basalt rocks jutting out of a moonlike landscape. Our lunch and dinner there were a highlight. A local man cooks everything from his small farm including fowl and coffee beans. We started out with bread fresh out of the oven with a delicious garlic sauce and the best vegetarian pizza ever. We liked lunch so much we said we would be back for dinner and when we arrived, we found a single table (we were the only customers) set with candles under the stars and another scrumptious meal of squash soup and local guinea fowl followed by a lively political discussion initiated by the owner/cook.

Compared to other African countries that we have visited, Cameroon felt much more relaxed. The complete lack of tourist infrastructure might explain the absolute absence of begging and the lack of hustlers in the markets.

As luck would have it, our last day in Yaounde was the Cameroon vs Togo World Cup qualifying soccer match. How could we miss a chance to see 40,0000 passionate Cameroonians in one venue? Cameroon won 3-0 and the favorite son, Eto was applauded wildly. The enormous crowd was enthusiastic but not out of control; everyone stood when a goal was scored but orderly sat down afterwards. The half time show featured 100’s of women dancing, of course, African style – great fun.

During all of our travels, it was wonderful to meet other Peace Corps volunteers. They are a great group, so supportive of one another as they are all in this together! Check out the photos below for those we met.

Through it all, Allison was the consummate tour guide, arranger of everything, our tireless translator who was ready for a deserved rest when we left! Daughter and parents – this trip was the epitome of total role reversal. Thank you for all of it, Allison ……..and for all her friends in Cameroon. We will never forget it.

Chez Allison

a corner of Allison’s living room. She had all the furniture made for a ridiculously cheap price.

another corner of Allison’s living room – it’s huge!

Allison’s bedroom with her mosquito net

Allison’s counterpart, Bourdier had us over to his house for dinner with his girlfriend, her daughter and Allison’s postmate, Claire

A little food market near Allison’s house

Allison and Dick walking on a typical road in Meiganga filled with ruts and potholes

Imagine riding a moto over these ruts (made worse by the rainy season)

the staff at the hospital where Allison works run by Madame Sephora and her husband (both on the right) wearing the hats, t-shirt and wristwatch, all gifts from San Francisco

Allison and her postmate, Claire with their girl’s group at the Women’s Center, Meiganga

a typical street in Meiganga which is quite hilly. Gotta love that red mud which in the dry season turns to red dust that infiltrates everything.

Allison and Dick buying food for dinner and, of course, Allison bargaining over the price

the main market in Meiganga

Allison’s kitchen showcasing her new refrigerator!

good friends in Meiganga modeling gifts from San Francisco

a dinner party at Allison’s house with Dick as guest chef

good friends of Allison’s

Allison and her kitten, Houdini, both relegated to her 2nd bedroom during our visit

Ranch de N’Gaoundaba - beautiful old hunting lodge (empty except for us) on a lake

Allison, Jesse and Brian (PC couple from her original training group)

Allison’s wonderful homestay family in Pitoa who she lived with during training
(one other daughter not in photo)

Her mom, sisters and baby brother in their beautiful pagne outfits

Her sisters showing us around their home town, Pitoa

In Maroua, visiting with volunteers Ashley, Brianna, Joanna, Adam, Josh and Brad

Volunteers Dan, Brianna, Ashley, Caitlyn and Allison

Enjoying a home cooked meal with Caitlyn’s counterpart, Alim and his wife in their home

Rhumsiki in the Extreme North Province of Cameroon, just 3km from Nigeria

another scene of Rhumsiki

Children singing and greeting us in Rhumsiki

Rhumsiki mom spinning wool

Rhumsiki villagers

Rhumsiki at dusk

typical cluster of boukarous

In Djingliya, small village in Extreme North enjoying a beer with volunteers Joanna and Katy

a boukarou – notice the stone pillars holding up the partial roof

roofs of boukarous

Boukarous set in the hillside

Sunday market day in Touro, beautiful pagne everywhere

market day in Touro, Extreme North

Calabash helmet worn by women in Touro – designs signify marital status, # of children, geographic locations

Allison with Cara and Matt, volunteers posted in Touro

Touro woman with a pretty heavy load, probably at least 50 lbs.

More Touro finery

a simple, non designed calabash, Dick’s favorite

Monday, June 22, 2009

Appreciation and Birthdays Cameroonian Style

So an old woman spat on me today. It was a typically beautiful Sunday in Meiganga, sunny with foreboding purple-grey clouds in the distance waiting for their typical late afternoon turn to play. I had spent the morning cleaning my mansion of a house for a single woman. I sweated in the garden, had a young visitor stop by and ask random questions about America and went to a meeting with a community group of restaurateurs. Then a small girl with no shoes called out my good name “white lady”. I slapped her wrists and told her to call me al. She asked me something in Fulfulde and said my best friend’s name, Nina. Instantly I knew who she was and what she wanted. So I threw on my sandals and most fashionable muumuu and followed her through the maze of corn stalks and mud walls. Sometimes in Cameroon you feel like a puppy dog, powerlessly following someone to your next awkward yet great adventure.

My best friend Nina is 13 years old. She has lived in Meiganga her whole life and is an orphan living with her six brothers and sisters in their grandmother’s home. She is fascinated and I mean fascinated with the “world of white people”. This is something she has divulged to me. She has declared herself betrothed to my brother, loves touching my terrifyingly pale skin and always stops by with a small gift. I do manage to repay these gifts and one day Nina came to me talking about her grandmother’s back pain. So I gave her a small bag of aspirin and ordered a big dose of rest. So today when I arrive at the house with the bare-footed petite, I am greeted by Nina’s grandmother with open arms. Her grandmother starts to work herself up into some sort of frenzy. She starts to shake her fists at me, which is actually a sign of respect here, not offense. She is hugging me, shaking my hands, and saying something in Fulfulde. All of a sudden she spits on me and places her hands on my forehead. The American part of me didn’t really know how to react, but I just went along with it and figured Nina would have salvaged the situation if I had caused any sort of wrongdoing. In the end, she was very thankful for the drugs and all the pain they alleviated. Things continued well enough and think I will be going to work with them in their corn fields next week!

Last night I attended my first ever birthday bash. I had planned to go out dancing with my friend, but then we had to make a pit stop at a party of a schoolmate. Well I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. First of all, I arrive at her house and she is in the process of wrapping a package of menstrual pads. I felt bad about not having a gift and crashing the party, so I ended up giving her a beautiful wrapped box of biscuits. It was recommended to me to give her a box of condoms, which as a health volunteer I was in full support of. But then I realized crashing her party and then giving her condoms was a bit much for me. So there is no power in Meiganga and the building of the party is one of the sole buildings glowing with florescent lights and Rihana. When we enter the party, each one of us is carefully shown to a specific place at a specific table. I look around the room and it is littered with awkward boy and girls starting at the ceiling. Each table has potpourri of unopened drinks, ranging from soda to boxed wine. The center of the room has a massive spread of meat, chicken, popcorn,ect. I realize this is a SERIOUS party, but the best part about it all is no one is eating or drinking a thing. So finally enough people fill the room and the party officially starts. Some boys and girls perform the standard lip-synching performances. I am asked to perform but respectively decline. I am sure I could have shown those Cameroonians how to shake their hips. Then each table one by one gets up to get their food. This is the perfect time for all the girls to check out each other’s outfits. I realize my shabby jeans and sweater don’t really compare to the skin tight, ruffled skirts and elaborate 80’s style pagne dresses. I am embarrassed and quickly shuffle to my seat.

So eventually the party turns into an all out high school affair. Kids start pouring massive cups of whiskey and opening beer bottles with their teeth, only to let it spill all over themselves. Girls have trouble walking and no one is paying attention to the birthday girl. It’s my party and ill cry if I want to. Then we all line up to one by one hand the birthday girl her gift. I attempt to hide mine in my sweater, in fear of being realized as the only white chick who showed up with biscuits as a gift and mud streaked jeans. We finally make a swift exit and leave the glowing florescent building for the stark black streets of Meiganga. There was no dancing that night, we returned home and recounted the night’s events amidst giggles and blankets.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Raining Cats and Dogs

Rainy season is in full force here in Meiganga and life in every form has erupted. Mangoes and avocados rain from the heavens. It is so fun to tell Cameroonians how much a mango is in the states, how it is such a treat. I make mango salsa almost daily and have mastered tortillas from scratch. I found myself mid mango the other day wondering, how many is too many? It is almost the end of the school year and the beginning of real work in the fields. My own mini-champ is growing beautifully. I can now say that everything tastes better homegrown. I just finished the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and urge all to follow. In a year and a half I will meet you all in the Appalachian Mountains eating your locally raised turkey.

At the end of March I met up with all my stage mates in Maroua for a weeklong conference. It was a delight, just to be on vacation and see all the people I came to consider family during my first few months here. It was nice to share war wounds and gain perspective on things. I also picked up the new love of my life, Moses. Yes, some would consider him spiritual guru, but my version is much hairier and the only miracle he performs is pooping in his litter box. But really, my new addition is great company at night and loves to cuddle. I couldn’t be happier with him.

I have kept busy with work activities. Spend two days at the hospital, teach computers at the women’s center and meet with community groups. My work helping to organize the community groups has now come to depend on the level of commitment of the members themselves. It has been the most challenging work so far; there is no quick fix, no map, and no answer. Sometimes I wonder if I don’t just waste people’s time here. I am trying to plan a new project for the prevention of mother to infant transmission of AIDS and general nutrition. I am putting together a crack team of experts, so hopefully I can just sit back and relax and let them do all the real work. I mean that’s what sustainable development is right?

Today I celebrated Private Industries Day and all I got was a fully belly and a sunburn. It was actually a lot more fun than I expected of typical Cameroon fetes. There is always a general formula for national holidays: march in front of all the local authorities, wear some matching outfit and then eat and be merry. I have avoided marching in the past few fetes, as everyday tends to feel like a parade in front of the good people of Meiganga. Today I marched with the Lutheran Hospital in a t-shirt that said, “We treat, Jesus heals”. Gotta love it. After waiting in the sun for an hour and taking several pictures with strangers, I successfully marched without falling in front of hundreds. The Cameroonians are very serious about keeping in straight lines and marching in time. One of the nurses’ overly exuberant husband kept barking orders on how, when and who to salute during our time in the sun. Although it is usually a serious affair, another nurse managed to bring a wheelchair, mask and blood pressure machine. So we reenacted a mock procedure as we marched by the grandstands. I thought it was hilarious. It seemed to be a common pattern though; the radio station had microphones, bakery had loaves, cattle association had bull horns and raw meat (swarming with flies of course), the bars brought bottles of beer and shook them up and the moto drivers sped through massive crowds (thank god the hospital staff was there!). Festivities continued at a local bar where we all ate endless amounts of fish, beef, bread, batons of manioc and beer. After hours in the sun and beer-free for several weeks, I had to literally peel myself from the festivities and go home to lather myself in lotion. All in all, it was a grand day.

After much pressure and demand, I have agreed to the unthinkable. No, not shark diving or the Atkins diet, but to have my hair braided with synthetic extensions. Basically a pale Beyonce with less curves and more attitude. I keep thinking of Monica from Friends when she gets her braids caught somewhere inconvenient. All the girls I teach and my girlfriends have begged me and if I don’t do it in my twenties, when will I ever do it? It is required by schools and general standards of beauty to braid hair with multi-colored, textured extensions in Cameroon. It is a true form of self-expression and as I have said before, it can change the entire look of a woman. Not to fret, pictures will be taken. I am a little worried about pain and all my hair falling out though.

So one of the great things in Cameroon is that you can order custom made wooden furniture for an extremely affordable price. The other day I was walking home a new set of items (desk, screen door, chair and shelves). I had been waiting at the shop to have the guys lacquer the goods and find someone to pus-pus (wheelbarrow) it home. Halfway home, the dark violet clouds ominously float in and it begins to pour. At first a light sprinkle and in what seemed like seconds a raging storm. The problem was that there was nowhere to shelter this giant pile of stuff, so we blazed on through. All of a sudden I hear a crack and every single items has fallen out of the pus pus and into the mud. I forfeit my umbrella and help the guy pick up the scattered pieces. Immediately I see that the screens on the door have been sliced and he starts to stack items on top of each other in a completely disorganized and leaning tower of Pisa manner. So I pick of several pieces, but we are a few blocks from home and I have taken way too much and can barely lug them a few feet. I look around for help and not a soul can be found. At this point the rain is so strong I can barely see the guy with the pus pus in front of me and he has no idea where he is going. My thoughts are to just bulldoze through it all, but he keeps stopping at every door on the street and barely speaks French. After what seemed like hours we made it to my front door and we are soaked. In the end nothing was broken terribly and not badly damaged since the pieces were partially lacquered. It made the furniture all the more worth it!

Well, that’s it for this installment. Evenings are pretty slow here in Meiganga so I think of you all nightly. I miss you and hope none of you went to Mexico lately. Every now and then I catch the French news at a friends house. Lots of people wearing masks and not just in China.

I continue to get packages and thank my lucky stars for every morsel, thanks so much. Keep on with the random bits of news and Americana. I miss it more than ever.

Much love,

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Me Against the Grasshoppers

Not to worry, no news is good news here in Cameroon. I have almost six months here and I hate to say it but it doesn’t feel like it. The days have blurred together and it feels like less. It has been the longest time since I have seen my family and good friends. It often feels like the rest of the world is frozen in time and waiting for me while I am figuring things out here. I have officially decided to go steady with Meiganga. I have pledged my commitment, gone to first base and tried to meet all the parents. It is a pretty good fit and I see a bright future full of kids, birthdays and twilight strolls home.
The real love affair is with my garden. Now I might be the last to figure it out, but gardening is quite the exhilarating act. Each morning I jump out of bed to see what new development has taken place during the dog-howling night. It kicked my ass to get started, but since the moment I saw the first green head pop up, I have had my nose in my gardening book and have declared war against grasshoppers. All of my friends and neighbors are so supportive. My “future sister-in-law” even brought some sproutings of a spinach-like vegetable from her garden, to share with me. Everyone has some tip and wants to show me their own. As a community largely based in agriculture, with almost every family maintaining a garden on their own, it has helped me to fit in here. I can’t wait until things are ready and I can show all the new products I brought over from the States.
Mango season has begun and my eyes are glued to the sky. Way before they are ready to eat, they are plucked from above. It is the post-school activity to pillage the trees. The tactic: throw rocks or punch the branches with a long stick. Either way, my computer students can’t wait to get out of class and chase them down. It is raining mangos. I have a tree right outside of my garden, but none seem to be ready yet. I am hoping to leverage free reign on the fruit with neighborhood kids to get them to do the grunt work.
The international day of women just passed. There are several national holidays per year celebrating youth, teachers or women. I would large the largest component of them is matching pagne and marching. I was warned several weeks ahead of time that the pagne is a necessary purchase. So I jumped on the bandwagon and crafted a stylish frock. The fabric has pictures of women doing different tasks, with words honoring their presence in Cameroonian society. The day of the holiday I took a motto to my friend’s house. Although it was somewhat early morning, to my horror not a single female was sporting the blue, pink or green fabric. My first thought was oh man they played a prank on the new white chick. Fortunately, heading to the main stadium in the center of town I found myself in a sea of matching ensembles. Different women’s groups marched past the town’s officials, really just showing off how creative Cameroonian women get. There were some dogs sporting the pagne and several groups of cross-dressing men which even coming from San Francisco was quite delightful. Then the real party began in bar row. These women know how to celebrate! I joined some friends for a drink around noon and the place was busting with dancing, drinking, singing, eating, breast-feeding and general noise. The women who usually rest at home had their day in the sun and it was great to observe. I had to cut out early however, feeling like quite the lame duck. Surrounded by the energy of the women, I felt like the little sister sipping her glass of milk.
Work can feel like an uphill battle. Just figuring out where to work, what do with them and communicating it all can leave a girl exhausted. I started training on how to evaluate and plan for development projects with several community groups I became connected with. It is something that volunteers usually just do, but I wanted to teach it to a few members, who would then complete the exercises with their groups. Without the help of my counterpart explaining everything over again after I said it, it wouldn’t have gone over so well. But I think everyone grasped the importance of it. Now I have started meetings where they teach the material. It is quite interesting to see the translation. I have continued work at the hospital, pre-natal consults and organizing the pharmacy. I have been teaching a computer class at the women’s center. I tried to pair it with a life skills/future-planning class, but discussion based/critical analysis with the girls didn’t go over well. I have to change things up somehow. No idea. But they seem to really enjoy the computers. I am sure much like English, teaching something that I grew up doing can be extremely difficult. How to use the mouse and open and close windows is a whole new ballgame. Especially being quite the computer illiterate person I am. Exploring some options working with a radio station and there will be new volunteer here in August for small enterprise development, so hopefully we can collaborate.
Walking over to use the internet today I was again used a tool of fear. It is a common practice here, next to the smiling faces and children running to greet me, people will sometimes bring their small toddlers over to me, causing an incredible sensation of fear. They start to cry and squire to get out of it. It is odd to be so feared, even with the friendliest smile.
I have probably mentioned the love of female hair styling here before, but it can often completely change the identity of someone. On a monthly, sometimes weekly basis, women will change their weave or wig. Long hair becomes short, purple becomes blond. This renders them completely unrecognizable and I often take second looks just to spot a good friend. I don’t know how they do it, or where they get them from, but you never know what version of your friend will show up at your door.

Guess that’s all I can come up with for now. The dust is begining to settle, welcoming the rains, which I can't wait for. I will have a new roomate soon. A new kitty will join me after our in-service training in Maroua. Ideas for names? I waiting to see what I can channel upon our meeting. I will post some photos soon. I miss everyone so much and look forward to everyone’s news, even the smallest bits.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A little taste of life

So now that I am wasting time in Yaounde, here are pics from actually a long time ago.

My homstay mother wanted to take pictures with the ancestors, I evidently thought it was histerical.


My stylish family getting ready for a church event

I mean come on.

Edith and I

Deviled Egg Judgement, taken very seriously, cued by caitlyn's sweaty back and ashley's hand on heart

More scary fruit cutting on concrete with Aubrey, Thea, Jessie and Katie

Breanna and Brad warming up Thanksgiving

Classic Phil

Anitha, Ashley, Emily
Serious Deviled Egg competition

Le couple, Brian and Jessie. Brian looks quite good in pink, better than Jessie anyway.

Cara and Kauleen's sweaty back(sorry)

Making some sort of squash dish for Thanksgiving and basically slicing their hands up with the makeshift concrete cutting board.

Phil, Jessie, Brad, Kauleen, Aubrey, Brian, Adam, Thea
Pool party after site visits, some happy and not so happy campers.

Halloween:costumes were a little hairy, but we have charlies angels(Cara, Katie, Aubrey), fanta girl(anna), cara lookalike(caitlyn), sarah palin(breanna), chiquita banana(me) and hula girl(Kauleen). At one point I had live, rotting bananas in my hair wrap.