Thursday, March 10, 2011

“I don see my wife” & “Starry starry night”

Mardi le 22 fevrier
Found out I’m sharing my room with a mouse. Wheeeee. Since I never see any mosquitos anyway, we’ll just pretend like my sleeping net is mouse protection.
The rain rain rain came down down down…whew! Glad I won’t be around for Cameroon’s rainy season, because get this—red mud is even messier than red dirt.
Ellen and I had a good interview with an NGO worker who helps working women and then found Dschang’s tiny grocery store (if you can call it that—no refrigerated or frozen items). Never have I ever had so many helpful attendants…if by ‘helpful’ I mean ‘swooning’. Ellen and I were in a good mood and so were getting a kick out of the 4 or 5 guys who were professing their love and wanting our numbers. Hey! It’s not every day (in the US) that you’ll meet someone and the first thing they’ll tell you is that you’re pretty, so we just consider it to be a bit of a confidence boost mingled with good French practice. Also, I’ve practically made it into a game to work into conversation with such boys the fact that I don’t know how to cook. I wish you could see their faces… Anyhoo, it is nice that we can shake guys pretty easily right now since we’re skipping town on Friday.
Back at the house I really needed to get homework done….and it actually happened! The kids still love me, but my novelty’s wearing off a bit (GOOD).

Mercredi le 23 fevrier
For no real reason we met at a coffee shop for class this morning (yay! We found it…finally getting to know my way around town just in time to leave). We had our last French lesson with our Dschang profs and then had a class on “survival pidgin” to prep us for our upcoming weekend in Bamenda. It’s strange struggling to understand a language that is nearly “English”. We did finally come to understand our favorite Cameroonian song though! Turns out that “I don see my wife” means “I just saw my wife”, and not “I don’t see my wife”. Oh….
watch this a couple times in a row, and you'll get a little glimpse of my average day-->
Also today we:
Had to give presentations critiquing previous ISPs (ah! ISP is quickly approaching…)
Successfully finished the Dschang part of our IDI research, which is a real relief.
I had a new food for dinner! Mushed plantains (think mashed potato consistency) with black beans [thumbs up]. Also, the kids went to bed at a decent hour for once!
I looked up while I was brushing my teeth tonight and saw that the sky was finally clear. Couldn’t help but be joyful at the sight of so many incredible stars.
PS it was actually cool enough to wear long sleeves today!
PPS Mimi asked me if I would leave my hair behind as a little gift, so she could use it as “mech”. I think she was only half kidding.

Jeudi le 24 fevrier
Last day in Dschang?!?
Learned of attempted rallies in Yaoundé and Doula yesterday. Don’t know if you’ve heard, but Africa’s a little on edge right now… We should be fine here in Cameroon, though—the government shot down what small attempts there were in no time. I think if something happens it will be in the fall when “elections” will take place. I mean, the people are going to have to do something to get Paul Biya out of office, unless they don’t mind waiting till he kicks the bucket, that is. Basically, a bit of a revolt might not be all bad for Cameroon, but it needs to wait…I don’t want to get sent home!!
Had a group presentation that involved recapping what we had learned in our classes about Bamiléké culture/tradition and facilitating a discussion on the topic.
Waited around campus for awhile, because I thought Mimi was going to come meet me and show me around, but…she never “beeped” me. Then I waited in the rain for an hour to do an ethnic interview with Laurel’s dad, but he never showed. Oh livin’ on Cameroonian time *sighs* how you test me. Luckily, instead, Ellen and I went and did our ethnic interviews with workers at our fave internet café.
Went and saw a play with Papa at the FrancoCameroon Alliance where he works, but it was an existential one-man show and I understood embarrassing little.
SO. I did not know that my family didn’t realize I was leaving tomorrow. Oops. M’bad. They were pretty upset and I felt really bad. They still whipped up a cake me for though as a surprise, which was beyond nice when considering it had to be made over a fire and with so little notice. Plus, they didn’t even make a cake for Daril on his birthday… As Mama wrapped it in newspaper for me, she told me to think of them with every bite as I enjoyed it on the road the next day.
For my part, I gave the kiddos some Tartina (Cameroon’s version of Nutella) and exactly what they’d been begging for for days—pens/pencils/erasers and toothpaste. After everyone went to bed, Mimi and I stayed up and she showed me pictures on the computer as a last little bonding experience.