Thursday, March 17, 2011

oh you crawled out of the sea...

Saturday march 12
Spring break (ish)!! To the beach for the weekend! Since we don’t have a spring break, we’re pretending like this is a real vay-cay.
On the way there we travelled along the road to Doula—it’s apparently the most dangerous route in Cameroon. We made it without a hitch, but saw others that did not. We saw a really nasty accident including an overturned truck and covered bodies—that’s what we call a disturbing cultural difference (the lack of whisking away).
BEACH! Beach!! BeAcH! It’s beautiful here. I’m pretty sure we’re the only ones at our hotel. No other hotels in sight. The only people around are some locals who are fishing—we even helped them pull in their net!
We were quickly reminded that this is not, in fact, spring break, and were greeted with a class. Interesting though, because it was prep for tomorrow’s visit to Pygmy camps.
Night fell quickly. We waded a bit and were shocked to look down at our watches and see it was only…7:30! Felt hours later because we were surrounded by so much darkness. That was in part because the power at the hotel was cut. We played mafia in the dark and worked on de-braiding Rebecca (it’s very much a group effort).

Sunday march 13
Possibly my best day yet in Cameroon (though I don’t think this is a very fair comparison, because vacation is always the best)
We got to visit 2 Pygmy camps—brought by an NGO worker who knows them well and could translate for us--which was very very interesting. A little bit about the Pygmies: they are forest peoples, but have unfortunately been increasingly kicked out as the forests are used for timber or declared as national parks. The 2 groups we visited were just a few steps off the main road. Pygmies live in very small communities ranging from 3 to 65 people. These communities are independent of one another and even speak different languages. They are short in stature. They are maltreated by surrounding Cameroonian ethnic groups (we even witnessed this during our visits). Though some do a bit of farming, they still cling to their hunter/gatherer roots. Most of the children do not go to school because it’s a 6-7km walk. Definitely no running water or electricity. During our visits they answered any questions we had and performed dances for us.
Spent the afternoon soaking up the sun (maybe a bit much, if the red skin means anything). Swimming, playing chicken, building sandcastles… *happy sighs*
Then we walked to this incredible waterfall that falls directly into the ocean (pretty big deal—I think it’s the only one in Africa that does that). Ok, I had thought the other waterfall we went to was cool. This was much much cooler in my opinion. One of the most beautiful scenes I’ve ever experienced, in fact; the combination of lots of mini waterfalls converging into one, plus the beach, plus a lowering sun, plus bathing Cameroonians, plus island-y jungle-ness was a magnificent combo. *more happy sighs*
After dinner in town we enjoyed some more night time wading plus some friend bonding time with lots of song-singing, pyramid-building, and other general goofiness.
I then had the opportunity to take my first warm Cameroonian shower…but it was too hot!! So that was a bust, but it was still a terrific day.

Monday march 14
Oh man…time to come home already. Boo.
On the way home, though, we did get ‘controled’ by the police, which was exciting. I’ve been dying to whip out that official copy of my passport.
Therese didn’t go to class today, so we bonded over “16 and Pregnant” and other similarly classy shows.