Tuesday, November 15, 2005

3 Day Weekend

We had an unexpected three day weekend! You may ask, how did your school get an unscheduled three day weekend? Well, to be honest, I’m trying to figure that out myself. At the same time, I wasn’t complaining. Apparently, we had Friday off because the President of Cameroon, Paul Biya, wanted to complete a census. We were informed Thursday afternoon, and by Friday morning I had slept in really late. On Friday afternoon, I found myself in a local grocery store listening to the radio. The announcer was discussing the census and it’s reception with the people. They talked about the training of the people responsible for giving the census (they went door to door giving a survey), the 60 questions that made up the questionnaire, and the fact that many people were not sure what would happen on Friday and that they didn’t want to discuss personal items for the census. Overall, I don’t think it was well received

Saturday night I went to a fundraising gala. This gala was hosted by a group organized to help bring pipe water to a village located in the north part of Cameroon. It was quite interesting and I should apologize that I don’t have pictures because I forgot my camera at home. The gala consisted of mingling and traditional dance from the village. I was quite embarrassed when the hosts proceeded to call out every single name from the guest list to walk to the front of the room and give a donation. Although strange, that wasn’t what really shocked me. After a person gave a donation, the announcers would then call out the amount that person gave!! I definitely wasn’t expecting that nor was I expecting to sit that long.

Sunday was quite relaxing, as it should be. I went over to Claudette’s house, the school librarian. She made some great fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, macaroni and cheese, and apple pie!! It was very delicious. Not better than yours Mom!

Almost forgot! Saturday I went to a student’s house to celebrate the German holiday, St. Martin. The kids made lanterns and we held them as we walked through the neighborhood.

Since, I don’t have pics from the weekend, I still decided that I needed to add something. So, we have a pic of Izumi and I at International day and a view from a friend’s apartment.

Have a good one.

Monday, November 07, 2005

More pictures

I wanted to share more pictures of our weekened trips.

First Break

We have gone a little over two months without a break at the school. This weekend happened to be our first ever break! It was quite short, being only a three day weekend, but it was well needed. We decided to do two day trips, one on Friday and the other on Saturday.

Friday, Izumi and I headed out to Mbalmayo, a town about an hour south of Yaounde. Imagine how excited we were as we left the city of Yaounde for the first time! Life is a lot calmer in Mbalmayo than it is in Yaounde. You don’t get the huge amounts of people nor the speeding taxis zooming in and out of traffic. After passing through Mbalmayo, we headed for a small village just further south called Akono. Life is very simple in a village like Akono. We drove by houses made of clay bricks and tin roofs. The people of the village are currently preparing cocoa beans, by drying them outside on huge tarps. In a few days, people will come by to pack them up in bags and take the cocoa into the city to prepare them for manufacturing. Many of the people in the village bury their deceased family members outside, in front of their homes (picture). They sell baskets, plantains, drums and so much more out on the sides of the street.

Saturday, we took a trip out to Parc National de Mefou, a sanctuary for gorillas. The park’s mission is to rescue gorillas who are either being hunted for meat or to be kept as a pet. Our tour guide was a ten week volunteer at the Park. She guided us around the sanctuary, telling us stories of how some of the gorillas were rescued. One story particularly stuck out. She told us a story of how they rescued one of the baby gorillas. They caught the hunters killing the mother while the baby was chained to the wall. Since they captured the hunters, the meat was not sent off to affluent people in Europe and the United States to serve for dinner. There were several other types of monkeys at the park,including chimps and baboons. However, the gorillas were definitely the best attraction. They enjoyed posing for the cameras and showing off in front of us.

The rest of the weekend was just as good, I celebrated Guy Fawkes Day with several British friends. The party came complete with a bonfire, a home video with fireworks, and hot dogs (yum)! Sunday was quite relaxing as I hung out at a Friend’s house.

The two trips out of Yaounde were much needed. It was so wonderful to get out of the city to see what other parts of Cameroon have to offer. I learned so much about Cameroon and can say this was a very humbling experience.