Since I knew I wouldn’t be able to post right away, I have been jotting down notes in what now amounts to a collection of memorable moments from the first few days in Cameroon. As a result this is a lengthy post and I apologize in advance.
I got my first (and somewhat abrupt) introduction to Cameroonian family responsibility on the flight to Yaoundé when the woman in the seat behind me thrust her infant into my lap without any kind of explanation. Once she was halfway down the aisle, I realized she just needed to use the bathroom and I was the nearest potential babysitter. Although I was caught off guard, the kid was precious and he could have sat with me the whole way there. I’m actually hoping that there will be more spontaneous child cuddling during my semester.
Also on the plane, secret documents on my computer and letters read over the Atlantic brought a smile to my face from home.
|Flying over the Alps was beautiful!|
I can hardly remember what happened the first day of orientation. It’s just a blur of information, laughter, beautiful scenery, more laughter, and eating a lot of delicious things that I couldn’t really identify. But after almost week in Cameroon I am already a pro at bucket flushing a toilet and taking showers in water that is nothing less than “brrrrrzles.”
|Me at the monastery where we stayed for orientation; in the valley behind me is some of the city of Yaoundé.|
|View from my room at the Monastery.|
On Thursday we were dropped off in pairs around the city of Yaoundé, which sprawls for miles! I have never been so confused or directionally challenged in my life. Fortunately, my partner had a better idea of where we were. “Firsts” during that excursion: first time hailing a cab, first time being called “blanche,” first time in a hectic Cameroonian market, and first time in a cyber café. I wish I had pictures of all of these things to post, but we have been advised to keep our cameras hidden for awhile because pulling out valuable items in public makes you a bigger target for theft.
Friday was the first day at the SIT office. It is an open and airy house on a quiet street outside the hustle and bustle of “le centre ville.” There are 14 students on the program and this is where we will take our classes, prepare for the independent study, and spend some of our free time.
Things are still a little bit surreal, but I’m having a great time.
Next on the agenda: homestays.