|A picture of a public bus taken from a public bus. You can see the luggage strapped on top.|
The trip to Dschang was beautiful. Due to strong side effects of a motion sickness patch I really have no memory of the first trip to Dschang so it was basically a brand new experience. I was travelling on a public bus with three other people from my group (two students and a staff member) and we were fortunate enough that for the majority of the trip we each got two seats. That’s a huge luxury in a place where it’s standard procedure to sell five or six tickets for a row with four seats. But as we picked up people on the road between Yaoundé and Dschang, the bus filled up. At one point I counted 34 people on a bus made for 21 and there could have been more.
|Towards the beginning of the trip....|
|...Just outside Dschang.|
I’ll be staying in Dschang for the next month working on my independent study project. I’m doing a four week study on mathematics education in Cameroonian primary schools, using two schools in Dschang as a case study. I’ll be observing and hopefully get a chance to teach a little bit too. In fact, the next few days will be occupied by colored paper and scissors because a key component of the lesson I want to teach involves making sure every student gets their own shape to keep; with the potential for over 100 kids in a classroom I would really love a die cut machine right about now!
Observing and teaching should start next week; I wasn’t able to visit schools this week because everyone here is enjoying spring break. Unlike all the Cameroonian students, I have been very busy doing background research, sorting through bureaucracy at the ministry of education, conducting interviews, and collecting survey data from community members. In a small miracle of productivity I’m actually right on schedule. It definitely helps that I am living with a wonderful homestay family. Maman is always inviting me to see some new food in the kitchen, Papa loves to talk about differences between Cameroon and America, and at night I play cards with my brothers. Whereas other homestays have been great learning experiences, living here actually feels like home.
Outside the intense amount of work that goes into conducting a study and writing a 40 page paper in a month, this is also my last four weeks to really enjoy myself here in Cameroon. In my “spare time” I plan to learn how to cook some Cameroonian food, have some more Cameroonian clothes made, pick-up my last few Cameroonian souvenirs, and spend lots of time with my Cameroonian host family.
(I promise the next post will be much more exciting and ideally include some more pictures.)