I haven’t had anything happen to me lately that I feel like merits writing down, but at the same time my day to day life is so different from what it was when I was in the states, and what I would imagine is the day to day life of everyone I know that maybe I should try to give some sort of a sense of it to anyone who bothers to read this blog. The days that I don't have any work to do are becoming fewer and far between, but since what I do as far as work is pretty random I will describe a Sunday when there is no work to be done anyways. Everyone here respects the Sabbath which is actually a pretty nice break every week.
Every morning I wake up at about four in the morning to a rooster crowing. At first this was really annoying but I have come to terms with it, and even though his favorite roosting point is only about 15 feet from my bedroom window I really only half wake up, and sleep until about six. I usually do a little weeding in my garden, or clean up around the house in the morning because it is impossible to sleep when the whole village is already awake. At eight every morning I go over to Auguste's house to have coffee and breakfast. This is really great because if there are any projects or plans to discuss it usually happens then because Auguste is sometimes busy until late in the evening with work at the mayor's office, or with the community forest.
Afterwords I am left to do whatever I want the whole day. When there is no power (which is about a quarter of the time) I read through about a book every Sunday, and I am left to play guitar and lounge in my hammock all day if I want. When there is power though, I spend the time on the internet trying to catch up on news in the states at 150 kb/s. I have running water technically, but when it goes out for a few days in a row, and I run out of reserves, I pay some children to carry water to my house. It is kind of a joke among volunteers, but whenever there is something that you don't want to do there are always children you can pay to do it. Lately though I have been taking long bike rides on Sundays out “en bruse” and just exploring the surroundings.
Every evening at eight I go to have dinner at Auguste's house as well. I have really come to love Cameroonian cuisine as cooked by his wife Florence. I feel like that might deserve its own post though. The meal is always taken with the whole random group of Auguste's large family who happens to be there that night which is great because there is always some one new to talk to, as well as the usual characters. Everyone is always very welcoming and it is nice to feel as though you are part of another family when you are so far from your own.
When I need to get supplies that I can't get in village Yaounde is just a four hour bus ride away. That is really not all that far for Cameroon, and since the office is there I can stay overnight for free on my monthly trips to the bank. There are always volunteers staying there for one reason or another so it is actually quite a treat and I can talk to other Americans, and go get pizza if I really want to. For the necessities of life like T.P., batteries, cigarettes, and candles, I can go to “lapoule rouge” which is the only boutique in my village. It is really just a small room added onto a house with a covered outdoor area that serves as the village's bar, but it gets the job done.
All in all I would have to say that the main difference between life here and in the States is the pace. I never leave my house without a book because I don't know when I am going to be waiting for an hour for the Chief to show up, or for a meeting to start. At first I was always worried about having to wait around for everything, and about how people where wasting my time. At some point I realized that if I wasn't out waiting for some one (which is necessary to do anything) I would just be at home sitting on a different chair reading the same book.
Anyways here are some random pictures I have taken while working, and exploring the area on my bike.
|My post mate calls this "pride rock" as in the Lion King. I can see the resemblance|
|This was taken just outside of Lolodorf.|
|This is my living room.|
|I kind of have a thing for waterfalls|
|When I am bored I take random paths and see where they go, most of the time it is to a farm, but sometimes you see some cool stuff.|
|I wish this picture did justice to this place. It is pretty far away, but I want to build a house there and stay for the rest of my life because it is just so peaceful and pretty.|
|This is where your chocolate comes from. Cocoa farms are really pretty when it is time to harvest, and I think that Nestle buys a lot of it from Cameroon, so the next time you get a chocolate bar it might have come from this farm.|