Thursday, February 08, 2007

Dining with Chiefs

After the Fon's (traditional chiefs) dance at the Mankon Palace, we were lucky enough to sit down at a reception with the Fon himself. We were first escorted to one of the waiting rooms then soon after to a different one. We waited around, not sure if we could talk or not. Then the Fon entered the room. For those people who are of the village, or know the tradition, should do their traditional greeting. In this case, everyone stood and clapped (I think it was 3 times). After snacking on peanuts, grilled meat, and small sandwiches we had a small discussion with the Fon.

In the picture with the two men sitting side by side, the man on the right is the Fon of Mankon, and the man on the left is another fon (I believe Bali or Bafut..can't remember...I should really write these things down).

In the room were 3 large pictures Fons, including the current one, his father,and his grandfather.

Here is a shot of poinsettias growing just in time for the winter holidays.

We took a trip to the pottery place in Bamessing. The "unskilled" workers (as our tour guide named them) dig clay with their shovels out from huge holes in the ground. They then throw the clay slabs up to someone at the top who catches them.That person then throws it to the next person,who places it in piles. Tough work!! My mom says she shouldn't complain so much about her work!

In another picture, we have a "skilled" worker (who was also our tour guide..i can't remember his name now, but it will come to me) who works with the clay after it has been cleaned, sifted, and stored.

In December, the various villages of the Bamenda area hold their annual Fon's dances where they celebrate the end of the year and the beginning of the next. We were on our way to Bamessing (where they have a nice pottery place) when we came across some men traveling to the Mankon palace for their annual dance. Of course, we had to take some pictures. Since it was such a special day, they gladly posed with us.

Monday, February 05, 2007

A nice drive on the ring road of Bamenda. We stopped to take some pictures.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

As we drove past Bali we stopped by one of the schools in the area. Here are various pictures of the school grounds. The school had very limited facilities and no electricity. When compared to my classroom (no matter how messy) shows the disparities between many groups of people.

In Bamenda, we stopped by the Bali Handicraft shop where they do all kinds of wood carvings. My parents ordered a stool made from the Padouk wood. I can actually identify various types of wood that they use here in Cameroon to make carvings. I just hope I'm right when I say this is Padouk. In the other picture my mom poses with the man who carved their stool.

Eating grilled fish at Down Beach, Limbe. We all feasted on fresh grilled fish and plantains. I must have eaten too many plantains when I first moved to Cameroon because nowadays I can't eat too much of them-they are too sweet for me.

We passed quickly through Limbe, only spending one day. But, during that day we drove passed a tea plantation and took in the sights of the beach. I really love Limbe's black sand beaches. Of course, you can't go to Limbe without eating fresh fish at Down Beach. The fish comes directly out of the water, onto the grill, and into your plate. You may sit and eat under a boukaru or out on the beach. Either way, the fish is just as delicious!

My parents and I took an afternoon drive up Mt. Febe. We stopped on the side and took in a view that overlooked the city. We didn't get too many great shots because it was so dusty. Cameroon is currently in the dry season. And, during the months of December and January, Cameroon experiences a great deal of dust from the Sahara desert. The dry and dusty wind which causes this is called the Harmattan. This explains why the day was unclear.

We went to the Mt. Febe Monastery where we took a trip to their museum called the Petite Musee Cameronaise. In the picture we have a bed made from wood (which I believe is the NorthWest province) and a few bronze pipes (West province).

Here is a picture of my classroom. The day before Winter Vacation I left without cleaning, so don't mind the mess. Also, here is a picture of three of the tennis coaches. I play with Joseph who is pictured on the left.

My dad took these shots of my apartment building and street. I have also added a few pictures of the school. Someone asked me to post photos of the school. So, I have two here, but if you go to some of the earlier posts (maybe Sept,Oct,Nov 2005) you will see more.

Drive around the city. We took a quick tour around the city. We stopped by the reunification monument, which symbolizes the union between the English and French speaking part of the country. We also drove by the soccer stadium.