Where I Lived in Cameroon

I realized today that I never did post a good description of my surroundings in Buea, Cameroon where I spent my summer volunteering. So, lazy man that I am, I will now post such a description. But I didn’t write it, Mirte did. Mirte is another volunteer who lived in the same house as me. She had been in Buea for a month before I arrived and who is still there for a little while longer – talk about dedication! Here is a really good description of where we lived, from her blog which is now in both English and Dutch, at http://mirtebijuac.waarbenjij.nu/.

“The main street of Buea (there is only one) is paved (asfalt), but most, if not almost all other streets are unpaved. “Unpaved” here ranges from incredibly muddy and bumpy (like the road to Mamfe) to stony and trash belt like. The street in front of the volunteer house that I am living in is a combination: it is very muddy, has many bumps and parts that have been cut away by the rain, and at the entrance has something that truly resembles a trash belt in the sense that you’ll be able to find objects ranging from the rather ordinary bags, can and half-eaten food to used condoms, shoes, t-shirts and bra’s. If you end up in there at night wearing flipflaps you definitely will want to go and wash your feet!

If it rains (which is does, a lot), the street transforms into a muddy little stream – resembling the ones that I used to be so excited about when I found one at our campsites as a kid: “Look Mum, we’ve got our own RIVER!” We have a complete duck family living around the corner, six ducklings and one mother, and there are a few more down the road. Need I say more?

At the side of the road you will find countless little stands selling anything from airtime (in the absence of fixed payphones, people offer their mobile phone for usage against payment) to roasted peanuts, oranges, coconut sweet (cut and fried coconut) and soya. The latter is as far from vegetarian you can get: it’s a stick of meat from the fire, and truly quite yummie!

At night, this scene transforms into a lively and cosy place: the sellers continue until approximately 21.00 or even 22.00, and all the bars open their doors to allow the inhabitants to engage in their favorite way to spend time: drinking Castel (local beer) or Guinness. Everywhere you go, you’ll see the little parasols lit up by lamp bulbs indicating someone’s presence as a seller, the music of the one trying to outweigh the music of his neighbor.”

Big thanks to Mirte for that neat description of where I used to live!

Us volunteers eating soya at our favourite hangout, ‘Abidjan’ (photo taken with Bram Stelt’s camera)

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