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.