One nice treat every so often in Buea was a barbeque at Pavel’s house. Pavel is a Czech volunteer with a different organization in Buea, and he is staying in a house up the hill which is quite conducive to building a small fire and cooking our own food.
Pavel and I usually took on the duty of building the fire, a task at which we excelled:
Mirte was an excellent garlic-bread maker:
And everyone seemed to be good at cooking. The only problem with this particular barbeque is that there was no chicken at the store so we had fish, which I hate. And they cooked all the stuff on the same grill so all my corn and bread tasted both fishy and kerosene-y because we had not let the kerosene burn off for long enough (kerosene was needed as it was raining).
It rains a lot in Buea, especially as it was rainy season while I was there. When it rains, activities often come to a stop or at least slow down. It rained really hard one day so I decided to take a few photos around the house while I waited it out:
On one of our better-weather days, we got to watch a friendly practice match between local football players. One of them is a friend of ours named Japhet (used to play for Sparta Rotterdam and has just headed to Cyprus to restart his career), and he invited Javi to play with them, which was neat to watch.
On the 14th of July a few of us went on a little informal tour of the local banana plantation, owned by CDC / Del Monte, a company with a less-than-sparkling record when it comes to treatment of employees / the environment / etc. We had a friend whose brother works there, so he showed us around.
An older employee plants young banana trees:
Banana bunches are protected to some extent from bugs and foul weather by these plastic covers:
They have these tracks about 7 feet up in the air, on which they can put a little wheel thing for transporting the loads from place to place:
Here you can see the way it works. The wheel thingies have hooks to which short boards are attached, and from those are suspended the bunches of bananas.
Hooking it up:
They put these divider things between the levels of bananas as they put them on the track rail, though I forget what the reasoning behind this is.
A plantation worker, paid $3 a day for a long and difficult job, looks for the next bunch of bananas to cut.
The morning after our visit to Etoko and the associated Porcupine Incident (our meal, which was followed by Brendon’s violent food poisoning and sick stomachs for others), I began to feel a bit ill. I took a few pills to settle my stomach and climbed into the UAC bus for the long trip back down south to Buea. 8 hrs later we arrived back home in Buea and I went straight to bed with a bit of a fever, and I soonafter decided that I had malaria so we called the doctor, who came and gave me fever pills and a shot for my stomach so that I could eat.
The next day he came back with the results from the malaria blood test showing a positive result for Plasmodium falciparum. He hooked me up to an IV and put tonnes of different meds in it, such as quinine and more antibiotics. I spent a few hours bored in bed, but feeling quite well, and after that I was fine.
These are all the meds I got for any possible parasites, amoebas, gastrointestinal stuff, etc.
I took it easy for a few days, and so I got out my camera and took a few random shots of stuff around the house, such as:
A camera lens:
Our house’s blackboard, complete with remnants of our Pidgin Language classes:
The view out our front window, of volunteer clothing hanging to dry:
On the 7th of July we headed out to Etoko, a small village outside Mamfe, much poorer than Buea or Mamfe.
We spent a lot of the time just walking around the village with a big group of little children to lead us:
Bran (Welsh volunteer) with a playful kid:
Javi (Spanish volunteer) shows a child a new way to look at the world:
Dried porcupine, local delicacy (we ate some in Etoko, but a few people got food poisoning and the next day I got sick, and this dried one smelled up our bus, so none of us could face the concept of porcupine after that)
Eventually we had to head back to Mamfe to watch two football matches between the village teams as part of United Action for Children’s Community Sports for Development Program in cooperation with FIFA. We picked up one of the teams on our way:
Some of us had to quickly stop by the hotel to get ready for the match:
Brendan clearly enjoyed having the porcupine ‘vest’ during the ride:
The matches themselves were pretty good! First the women’s teams played, followed by the men. Some volunteers joined each team, while I took photos from the sidelines. Check out the field they play on, complete with water hazards!
More next time . . .