Picnic in a Traditional Village-Hikoa Malep
The father of one of my students (Ngonkliba) graciously invited the entire ASOY community to his village, Hikoa-Malep. Unfortunately, only a dozen or so people went. For those who went, it was a day to remember. Our trip started out with a two-hour drive southwest to Esseka. After reaching Esseka, it took another hour to drive through the rainforest to the village. The 27 kilometer trip (1.2 miles) was fairly bumpy as we traveled on dirt roads that had been flooded due to the previous day’s rains. We traveled deep into the forest as we splashed into huge puddles of muddy water. On the way there, we drove through impressive palm tree plantations. The government owns these plantations and mostly uses the palm oil for exportation. Many Cameroonians use palm oil to cook their food. The people of Hikoa-Malep and the surrounding area are part of the Bassa tribe, one of the couple hundreds of tribes in Cameroon .
After a long journey, we finally arrived at Hikoa-Malep. The chief (the father of my student) and his family warmly greeted us upon our arrival. Throughout the entire visit, we were made to feel like close friends. Their homes were simple, made from wood and cement. During the first part of the day, we took a long hike through the rainforest. Our guides (my student and his uncle) pointed out various trees, rivers, and lakes. They gave us a wonderful tour of their village and educated us on the surrounding area. We drank from coconuts, ate guava, and toured the nearby train station.
After the tour of the village, we sat down for an amazing dinner, which featured many traditional foods. I enjoyed the fish soup!! After our meal, we strolled to one of their sacred areas where they demonstrated a traditional ceremony used to rid bad luck from those who participate.
The day was rewarding and provided a great opportunity for me to get out and learn about life in the village.