First days in Cameroon

This is my house of revolving doors. The door doesn’t actually revolve, but the volunteers are in and out of here like Joe Clark in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Case in point: 3/4 of the volunteers in this photo are no longer here. The beer here is not bad stuff, and like every developing country I’ve visited so far, it comes in proper-sized bottles – 650ml for CAD $1. The plate in the middle of the table has a bunch of sticks of soja, which is spicy beef on little roasting stick thingies, roasted on a wood fire a few metres from the bar, with some onion slices sprinkled on top and very hot pepper powder at the side for people like my grandmother who like their food extra spicy.

This is the courtyard / playground area at the school run by UAC here in Buea.

Children chilling in the office

View from inside the office

Henry’s kids (Henry is the Project Supervisor for UAC)

I arrived in Cameroon on June 4th, and two days later was the graduation for the Nursery School, which means kids aged about 4-5 years old (some kids start school at 2, many at 3, years old here) got dressed up in graduation gowns and did all sorts of official stuff, danced a lot, and generally had a good time.

These kids LOVE to pose for the camera!

Groundnuts (peanuts) are very popular here, as they were when I was in Uganda on the other side of Africa a few years ago. You can buy them in their shells from street vendors for cheap (25 Canadian cents gets you a sizeable bag), and they’ve not yet been roasted so they’re still white and juicy and fresh. I’ve never had uncooked nuts before, but they’re delicious! The roasted ones are more expensive, but you can still get a 1.5 Litre bottle filled with perfectly roasted groundnuts, without shells, for CAD $3.50.

Children with beer is not an uncommon site here, they often go to the bar to buy a crate to take home if their household is having a celebration. Drinking beer is not just common in Cameroon, it seems to be the national pastime! I should be clear, though, that people sit and talk with their beer; the vast majority of people around here stay well within their limits when they drink beer.

Orock, one of Henry’s children, a real sweetheart:

When the ceremonies were all done in the church hall, rented out for the occasion, we had to load up all the benches and chairs onto the trucks/buses to take back to the school, since it was a “bring-your-own-furniture” kind of party. After losing a few pounds of sweat carrying furniture, I took a constructive break by relaxing while holding the rather heavy bus door open: