So last week all of the chauffers (all they guys who drive the buses that make up the main form of transport between citys, as well as taxi drivers within the cities) went on strike. I asked Yannick why, and he said to protest rising petrol prices. Which totally made sense. And then he said because they were “mad about bjoihaghlgha changes to the ajfladjd constitution asogahldhfadhfal”. Or at least that’s what I heard. Probably thats not exactly what he said. “What?” I said—“The chauffers are on strike because of the consitution? That makes no sense to me.” Yannick said, “Tu vois un peu?” (“You see a little?”) That is his response every time he says something totally freaking crazy to me and I look at him like I have no idea what he’s talking about. Because I have no idea what he’s talking about.
Let me interrupt my ravings to give a little background about the whole ‘constitutution’ thing. Paul Biya, the current president of Cameroon, has been president for 25 YEARS. 25! And now he wants to make a change to the constitution that will allow him to stay in office just a little bit longer. And people are a little upset about that—you know how these underclasses can be so demanding. So while it makes sense to me that someone might protest his plans, the fact that it was the bus drivers seemed a little weird to me. In fact, my closing comment to Yannick was “Ce paye est tres bizarre. Tu vois un peu?”
So, for a while there the country was in uproar. Only, not the part of the country immediately surrounding me. No, in the South Province it was pretty much life as usual—I read a lot and ate copious amounts of popcorn, and occasionally went to meetings to talk about malaria and stuff. I tried to ask why people weren’t striking in the South, and got a couple of answers. Mostly people said it was because “Paul Biya is from the South. Tu vois un peu?” Umm, no. I perfer to think that, like the Irish and college freshman, the people of the South would rather drink beer then do just about anything else. I can’t really blame them. But things seems to have calmed down now. I’m not sure why, or if they will become un-calm again any time in the near future—but I’ll be on my porch reading if you need me.
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In other news pretty much everything I’ve been doing for the last three months that might roughly be defined as ‘work’ seems to be falling apart. Meetings are postponed, or attened by like, four surly 15 year olds. My trips to the hospital on vaccinations days for ‘observation’ have pretty much turned into me making mental bets about which babies will pee as soon as their dipers come off. It’s an exciting life I lead. But! Somehow I feel refreshed and motivated and ready to start anew—this time with my new found wisdom! I am a Peace Corps Volunteer! I’ve got optimism coming out of my…! Right. Possibly some other things come out of there too. Anyway.
I’m going to reform (Re-form? Form again? I don’t mean change, I mean demolish and start from the beginning—just so we’re clear) two clubs—one for girls and one to train peer educators. I’m going to make people apply because I think its good to ensure motivation and because I like to feel powerful. And I will be starting that water project out in the village soon (though I’m using the Cameroonian definition of ‘soon’, which means any time between now and 2010) so, in spite of my incompetence, things are moving along. I think. Tu vois un peu?