Thats What She Said

I'm supposed to be doing something else right now.

A Wum With A View June 13, 2009

Filed under: *Daily — thats what she said @ 3:59 am

I was expecting the weekend to be terrible. All the ingredients of a minor disaster where in there—a 72 hour long double date involving travel, a lake that ‘officially’ killed 1700 people in 1986, crashing a dinner party at the mayors house, a seemingly never ending quest for ‘bush mangos’, and the violent death of one unsuspecting snake. Maybe being in Cameroon for nearly two years has altered my definition of ‘a good time’. Or maybe the Irish have it right, and copious drinking really does make everything better. Whatever the reasons, Wum was great.

Andy and I were lucky enough to be invited on a weekend holiday with my counterpart, the ever-energetic Simon, and his slightly calmer wife Rose, by a man named Denis. He and I have been working on a water project, but didn’t really know each other that well, so it was pretty kind of him to invite us to his house.

Now, I’ve done a fair amount of traveling in this country, but always on a Peace Corps volunteer’s budget—which means public transportation, accommodations ranging from what could politely be called jungle chic to…what you can’t really politely call anything, and whatever food is to be found being grilled on the street. All of which is fine, and usually even fun, once you get beyond the sheer physical pain involved. But this weekend was different from the start. We were to be driven to Wum in a private car that did not appear to be held together by wire and sheer will, put up in some rich man’s temporarily empty mansion house, and fed to within an inch of our lives every 4 hours like clockwork. And if we weren’t eating, we were drinking. All for free. Peace Corps. It really is the toughest job you’ll ever love.

The whole reason we wanted to go to Wum in the first place was to see Lake Nyos. In 1986 there was a fluke natural disaster, where toxic gases were released from underneath the lake that killed pretty much everything living in the valley below. Sort of a macabre place to visit, but your tourism options are limited here. Twenty years later, however, the lake is peaceful and beautiful, and equipped with a handy phone to be used in case of emergencies to warn the nearby populations. Said phone is conveniently located just a short canoe ride away in the middle of the lake.


The phone is located right by that little spurt of water in the middle.

lake above

On the way back we randomly pulled over to the side of the road. Andy and I assumed we were going on a short jaunt to look at viewpoint of another lake. We assumed this because this is what we were told. ‘It’s about 1 km that way’, they said. Alright, fair enough. Looks like rain to me, but then lately it always looks like rain. And a kilometer, that’s nothing! Sometimes my naiveté borders on willful stupidity. So off we set to explore the bush/peoples farms/this stinking hole that turned out to be our actual goal:


Stinky Hole. WOW.

We hiked for an hour in the rain, destroying people’s corn crops and stopping repeatedly to wait for our driver Justin to climb just one more tree and pick just a few more mangoes, all to look at this smelly puddle for about 4 minutes. The best part is that the Cameroonians all LOVED IT. Andy and I felt slightly differently. And all of this was before we got lost on the way back to the car.


1 Kilometer


I'm having exactly as much fun as it looks.


Harvesting Mangoes


Stinky Hole. Again. WOW.

The aftermath of 1 kilometer + our glorious ride

The aftermath of 1 kilometer + our glorious ride

After the lake we headed back to Wum, ate a huge lunch, saw a rich man’s lovely German-built home, drank his beer, drank more beer at a bar, crashed a dinner party at the mayors house where we drank more beer and ate another huge meal, headed back to Denis’s house, drank wine, ate dinner AGAIN, and finally headed back to the compound we were staying. At this point Andy saw a snake on the ground in front of us. ‘Look’ he said, ‘a snake’. I took this as a pretty normal reaction. ‘Wow’ I said, ‘cool’. Simon said ‘Aieeeie!!’ Then he picked up a rock, threw it at the snake, and shouted ‘I shot that snake! I have proven my manhood!’ Then we all went to bed.

dead snake

Dead Snake

The next morning we all ate more food, went to church, went and looked at a waterfall, ate more food, and then headed back to Fundong. The road on the way back seemed much worse than it did on the way there—most likely because I was sober. This has taught me a valuable lesson, which I will be sure to apply at every available opportunity.

Simon, Rose, Waterfall, Kim

Simon, Rose, Waterfall, Kim

Thus ended our trip to Wum. To think it could have all gone so terribly wrong.

Simon, Rose, Denis, Rose, Andy, Small Child

Simon, Rose, Denis, Rose, Andy, Small Child

Oh! And Jess and I killed this chicken:

Sir Chicken

Sir Chicken

Ashyia, Sir

Ashyia, Sir

I think we left him in the hot water a little too long...

I think we left him in the hot water a little too long...

...cause his wee little head came off.

...cause his wee little head came off.


Singeing the feathers

Jessica--avert your eyes

Jessica--avert your eyes

And believe it or not, it tasted amazing. Thank you, Sir.

And believe it or not, it tasted amazing. Thank you, Sir.


11 Responses to “A Wum With A View”

  1. TLMQ Says:

    Lookin’ good! Brendan really wants to kill a chicken if at all possible so get ready to use your skills again.

  2. haricot vert Says:

    OMG Kim!!! You live in Cameroon!!! I realize you have been living in Cameroon for almost 2 years now, but I feel like the gravity of the situation has just hit me. Seeing you killing and cooking your dinner and tromping through the jungle for a stinky hole, that is your life! Your hair is sooooooo long!!! I LOVE it! This might be your funniest post yet. I am literally still laughing. Out loud. What do I have to do to prove my womanhood? I refuse to “shoot” a snake.

  3. haricot vert Says:

    Also, we are getting married in three and a half weeks!!! We are sad you will not be there.

  4. haricot vert Says:

    …and another thing, i think me and quigley are the only ones who check your blog anymore. but i also happen to know that we are not the only ones who love you!

  5. Lurkers R Us Says:

    Green Bean, untrue, there are several in my house alone who have been checking faithfully every day for updates…

    And we do think highly of the young lady. Even more so now that elle a tué la poule. Which I sure hope means what I think it means.

  6. haricot vert Says:

    i stand corrected. and happily so. :)

  7. Kit Kat Says:

    Hi Kim!! You look great. Your Peace Corps stint must be ending in a few months–are you going to extend it or move back to the U.S.? East coast or west? I’ll be in Boston for the next couple of years, so I’m casting my vote for east.

  8. T-Bone Says:

    Hey, I’m still here too! Just a little slow compared to you, verts. :)

    LOVE the pictures, Kim! And imagining Simon killing that snake… wow.

    I miss you xoxo

  9. haricot vert Says:

    i really didn’t mean to ruffle so many feathers with my comment. I really just wanted to say “me and quigley”. sorry everyone, i know you are all loving, loyal kim fans!

  10. TLMQ Says:

    I think more people should use ‘me and quigley’

    Anyway, so amazing to see you in your element, Kim. And a million thanks for letting Brendan(and Nura and crazy neighbors) kill a chicken.

    Congratulations Jessica!!

    Kim, we need more…

    Next one, please!

  11. Ben Says:

    Hello baby face! glad to know that you are enjoying your experience with Peace Corps. you look great through the pictures. Are you going to extend for another year?

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