As a pre-service teacher I can say things like “the world is your classroom” because it’s true, even if the phrase is cheesy. My semester in Cameroon has ranged from ordinary daily living to extraordinary scholastic opportunities, but there’s been hardly a moment when I haven’t been learning something. I won’t keep it to myself so here’s a top ten list of Lessons Learned in Cameroon:
10) No matter where I go in life, there will always be room in my suitcase for a jar of peanut butter.
|It takes time, perseverance, and pure skill to get a peanut butter jar this clean.|
9) Getting the rabies shot wouldn’t have been a waste of money.
8) Being called beautiful over and over isn’t even flattering when it doesn’t come from someone who matters.
7) Sometimes a hole to squat over is actually preferable to a toilet.
|My own bathroom in Ngaoundéré!|
6) Dial-up internet does still exist and it makes Hope College wireless seem lightning fast (shocking I know).
5) Achieving a true clean feeling after a bucket shower takes practice.
4) The sky is the same all around the world so looking straight up can be a great reminder of home when everything on the ground feels strange and unfamiliar.
3) Just because it’s red doesn’t mean it’s tomato. Unknown sauces should always be sampled or you could end up with spaghetti doused in pimante.
2) It is possible for a homestay family to become just plain family.
|One of my most treasured photos of the whole semester.|
1) So much of what I thought I knew before coming here was derived from stereotypes about an entire continent being full of starving children and thatched roof huts. After a semester I know that’s not true, but I also know that I can’t replace that false image with a better one because the reality is that it’s impossible to squeeze a country, a semester, let alone a continent into one picture. I don’t appreciate stereotypes like all Americans are rich white cowboys, so I won’t generalize about Cameroon.
If you want to know what I found here besides starving kids and rural villages, let’s have lunch and I’ll tell you the whole story. (And I’m not kidding about lunch.)