Friday, April 8, 2011

Dschang Update

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.)


  1. Thank you for walking 45 minutes each way up hill to the Cafe to keep us posted. My sweet your eyes say...."I am very happy!" and that make my heart glad :-)

    Your dumb cat is now going to type you a love note. grsgryhtjaigsnot4g7sgoagru; Ok there you have it. From one end of the key board to the other. It is kitty French for Love you mommy, come home soon! # groups of ten and 8 leftover. In family vacation time that is like a trip to Quakertown.....see you soon sweetheart. LOVE YOU! LOVE YOU! LOVE YOU!

  2. I just realized that this bus is like the one we hired in Jamaica just for our whole family to be driven around in for 2 weeks....The 9 of us seemed to fill it, so 34 people would be something. I guess it beats walking. Just another reminder of how blessed our lives really are and how much we take for granted. This trip has been good for all of us!

  3. Dito that Mary; it does look like that bus! :-) Yes, Rachael, thanks for the many minutes of climbing up the "great" mountain to make sure we hear from you and learn about your wonderful experiences there. So very interesting and informative. It's like we are sharing it with you.