Tuesday, July 29, 2008

J’ai une maison!

C’est vrai. They‘ve finally found me a house. I’ll be living in my village and not the bigger city about 15 minutes away. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good because I’ll be closer to my school and I won’t have to commute to work at all. It’s a bit of a pain in the ass in the sense that my village doesn’t have any running water. Soooo I’ll be bathing out of a bucket for the next two years. But hey, I did join the Peace Corps right? This is Africa, not the airport Hilton. But yeah I’m really excited that they’ve finally squared that all away and I can stop stressing about it. Apparently it’s got three bedrooms, a living room, and a “bathroom.” I’ll probably convert one of the bedrooms into an indoor kitchen though. I WILL have electricity, so at least I can have lights and maybe even a refrigerator.

One thing I hope I can find in my new village that we have here in Bangangté is the beans and beignet lady. More or less every morning, I walk next door and there’s a woman serving fried beans and fried beignets. Not exactly healthy, but unbelievably delicious. For 150 CFA (About 25 cents) I get a big plate of beans and three or four beignets. The beans are great and have some really killer spices in them, but they don’t even compare to these beignets. I can’t possibly explain the words the orgy of taste that are these beignets. They’re so fresh; the woman literally squeezes the dough into the fryer as you order them. Crispy on the inside and soft and chewy on the inside, it’s like the best plain doughnut you’ve ever had, only better. I’ve heard rumors that there are beignet ladies out there who serve them with powdered sugar. If I find one, I’m going to marry her and bring her back to the states. Sorry Mom.

Anyway training is really starting to wrap up. We have another week and a half of teaching left and then we start to administer “final exams.” After that we head out to the national capital to set up our bank accounts and party a little. Then another week and a half later we’re done. It’s crazy how fast it’s all flying by now. In 26 days we’re all going to be scattered about the country. Really exciting, yet melancholy at the same time. We’ve made a bunch of tight friendships in the short time that we’ve been together, and it’s going to be weird knowing some people won’t see each other for months.

We’re trying to set up a fantasy football league between the trainees. I think it’ll be a fun way to keep up with our teams back in the states and also keep up with each other through email when we’re all on opposite sides of the Roon. We’re going to do a live draft next weekend or so. Should be a blast.

Yeah so I’ve been reading a lot of other volunteer’s/trainee’s blogs and they all seem to be a lot more philosophical and deep and existential than I am. Am I cheating you guys by not posting really thoughtful updates about how this cross-cultural experience has lit a fire in my soul that can never be extinguished, or something fruity like that? Because I’m really not that deep of a guy. I don’t really feel any different than I did when I left, besides now when people here speak to me I can understand 50% of it and occasionally form a semi-logical response instead of smiling awkwardly and saying “Quoi?” Yeah, so sorry if you don’t feel like you’re getting meaningful insight into the inner workings of my mind. In fact, consider yourself lucky. It’s not pretty in there.


Uncle John said...

Hey Jim,sounds like things are starting to get interesting in Cameroon.You make me hungry when you talk about the food.I feel for you when you said you have to take a shower from a bucket,just the other day the A/C in my car wasn't up to snuffs.It turns out I didn't have the temp turned all the way down,trajedy averted.On a side note the Yankees traded Farnsworth for Pudge Rodriguez and the Jets might get Brett Favre,we'll see about that one.Take of yourself and I can't wait for your next blog.Love Uncle John.

Olivia Mukam said...

Jim, I love ur blog cuz it’s swift and witty. As a Cameroonian woman, from the Western province - Bamendjou - not far from Bagante, I read it with different eyes - one is of a Cameroonian reading about someone else describing her country from their distinct prespective. And the other is as a blogger, also writing about my experience in Cameroon - since I've been back in July for my one-year work experience- and relating very much with your stories, from the mishaps to the moments of joy. (check it out: oliviamukam.blogspot.com)
Also your blog reminds me a lot of the Engineers Without Borders blog (from UDel), who are working on a water project I initiated in my Bamendjou, and will be back again this January. Check them out: http://ewb-ud.blogspot.com/