Wow, I've gotten really bad at this. Everyone told me it'd happen. I'd stop writing, updating. Life would become familiar here and suddenly writing about every little thing wouldn't seem so appealing. I guess in a way that's true. I do feel very familiar with life here these days. Things are normal now which I never even knew existed a year ago. I eat entire meals made of things that would've been thrown out at home. I feel awkward riding alone in the back of a cab. I deal with life and death almost everyday.
Speaking of which, a few days ago I woke to the sound of a dozen old women outside my window wailing, really wailing, and moaning and singing (sort of). Turns out one of the family's (the people who own my compound) daughters, a wife and mother, died over the night in Douala. The whole village was slowly turning out to pay their respects and my house has been ground zero. Since then the whole place has been a buzz with activity; mamas preparing obscene amounts of food, children offering to do chores, and plenty of grieving. It's been a bit trying, but immensely interesting to see the different way people handle this sort of thing here. I know that if my daughter had just died I wouldn't necessarily want to be surrounded by the whole village chanting and wailing about my loss. But it just seems to have been so automatic. People react here, to everything, in such an instinctual, deliberate manner. They are still working on getting the corpse up from Douala, but when they do, there are sure to be some serious festivities.
It's been so long since I posted, so many things have happened. I guess life just kind of sneaks up on you here. You think things move at this lethargic pace, but then you turn around and find that months have gone by and everything has changed. Work is going about as well as I could hope by now. I'm mainly focusing on two big development projects and finding funding for them. One is dedicated to developing income generating activities for my farmer's union to give them some level of self-sustainability. The other has me seriously expanding the medicinal plant garden project at the village hospital which the previous volunteer began.
I finally got a taste of that vacation I've been needing so badly. After the latest steering committee meeting in Yaounde, a few of us decided to join the group of volunteers who were celebrating their eminent departure in Dec at the beach in Kribi. I was excited to go, but had no idea how cathartic it'd be to swim in the ocean, eat amazing seafood, and just get out of my head for a bit. I was skeptical that the place would live up to the hype it gets from volunteers, but Kribi proved to exceed even this beach-snob's lofty expectations. It wasn't amazing or anything, but still, a really nice beach, in Cameroon. The same Cameroon where people burn trash in the middle of town and only a handful of roads are paved. It was as good as paradise for two days.
You know, it felt good to write again. Maybe this thing isn't dead yet. Still, doubt anyone's still checking it. If you are, be sure to check out new pictures under the links on the right. Until next time...?