Y’all, it’s been forever. I apologize to all 7 of my loyal readers. Life has been a bit frenzied for the last couple months, but the truth is I’ve just been procrastinating. I don’t think a Peace Corps volunteer exists who doesn’t actually ‘have time’ to write a blog post. And if there is, I don’t want to meet them. I have enough to feel in adequate about already. But, before we get into the (oh so attractive and enticing) world of my insecurities, lets talk about vacations!
T-Bone was here! For a glorious three weeks in December we saw the sights, drank the booze, and went to bed really early. On her last night here we drew up a very comprehensive list of highlights, but she took it with her and all I can remember are pirates and yoga in our underwear—and while both are entertaining, there was so much more! We had a wonderful time. Sometimes when you look forward to something for too long, the reality of the situation can’t quite live up to the anticipation you built up. I looked forward to this visit for over a year. And somehow it was better than I thought it would be. Thanks for coming lady. It means so much to me. And we had a hell of a good time.
Moving right along…I moved! Work wasn’t happening in Ngoulemakong. I was getting depressed. I was napping. A LOT. And after talking to my boss it was decided that I should try someplace else. Enter Simon Mbeng—Cameroonian counterpart extraordinaire. He is the director of the NGO I now work for—the Better Family Foundation. I’ve been here a few weeks now, and I’ve had somewhere to go nearly everyday. I’ve been to the office for the Delegate for Women’s Empowerment, read through all the files in the BFF office, sat in on a marriage counseling session conducted entirely in Pidgin, and shaken hands with approximately 8476 people. I’ll be working with women’s groups (there are groups here! Of people! Who work together!) and schools and with an orphanage. There is also a library where I’m hoping to start a story hour for kids. In short, things are going on here, and I get to join in. So as hard as it was to leave Ngoulemakong, I know I’ve made the right choice.
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So now it’s been closer to two months. Projects are starting to take shape, and I’ve started taking lessons in Kom (the local language) and Pidgin. Kom is INCREDIBLY hard for me, as it includes so many sounds and tones I’m not used to hearing, let alone forming myself. A typical lesson involves about 2 hours of Leo (my ever so patient teacher) saying a word, and then me trying to approximate it, but really just sort of gurgling something like ‘ghueauuew?’ It always ends in a question mark because I know halfway through my pronunciation that my sounds have completely lost any resemblance to the word Leo had spoken 7 seconds before. He just shakes his head and repeats the word, and the process starts over again. Pidgin is going slightly better, and is, I have to say, much more fun for me. I go talk that Pidgin FINE, small time.
I’ve also been getting to know my neighbor kids. I found a DVD in Bamenda with lots of Disney movies on it, so one of their favorite things to do is come watch a cartoon in the afternoon. What they really wanted was a DVD full of Jackie Chan movies, but I just couldn’t bring myself to buy it. Maybe next time. They also enjoy drawing and coloring, and the walls in my spare room are now covered with art.
This month I’ll be working at the orphanage in town. The kids and I are going to plant a garden together, and then while it’s growing we can talk about good nutrition–why its important and how to achieve it. I wanted to find a way to let the kids take a bit of responsibility for their own health, any anyway playing in the dirt seems like more fun to me than going to a lecture every week. That said, I’m going to do my best to make my ‘health talks’ more entertaining than not (involving lots of games and moving around), and these kids do so much work throughout the course of their day that they may just end up hating me for adding to their lists of chores. Hopefully the whole plan doesn’t backfire and end up with me being run out of town by a bunch of angry adolescents wielding half grown carrots and ears of corn. Live and learn right? And anyway, I’ve been jogging of late, and doing yoga (thanks T-Bone!) so I’m pretty sure I could outrun them if I had too.