Thursday 24 June 2010

Things That Surprise Me About Bafia, Cameroon

1- Toothpaste is more expensive here than in the States even taking into consideration the exchange rate. A travel size Colgate is $1 in the U.S. and $1.25 here. What?

2- The humidity is crazy hot and it feels like 90F, yet I enjoy wearing long skirts and pants. Why? Damn mosquitoes.

3- I do not understand how I ever lived life without a pocket knife or a bucket.

4- People yell LA BLANCHE at me! If anybody has lighter skin than them, they are called white; thus, I am a white person here!

Friday 18 June 2010

The Peace Corps Whirlwind!

WOW. It has been a little over two weeks and life in Cameroon has thus far been a complete whirlwind. I easily lose track of days and life is now here in Bafia, a large town by Cameroonian standards and a village by American standards. Pictures to come, but here is a quick glance at life right now:

-I live with a host family of five and am fully immersed into the culture. Water is taken from a well or forage when the water gets cut off.
-I have my own kerosene lamp when we lose power - already at three times this week!
-The Peace Corps Trainees lanced ourselves in the finger to make a malaria slide. And yes, it hurts.
-We met the U.S. Ambassador in the capital city of Yaounde and had dinner with her. Pretty sweet.
-An African Bassa dance group traveled over 800 miles to perform just for the PCTs. It is amazing the admiration and respect the Peace Corps name holds over here.
-The locals love us - I have two marriage proposals and counting.

The internet clock is winding down at this cafe - hope to post pictures soon! And if anyone wants to send me hand sanitizer, I will love you!

Wednesday 2 June 2010

The First Day and Last Day

Today marked the first day of service with the Peace Corps and thus, the last day of being in the U.S.

After arrival the night before, my roommate, Crystal Leanza, and I headed out to explore a bit of Philadelphia with another trainee. Located in the center of town, the hotel allowed us to easily walk to City Hall and Reading Terminal Market where Crystal picked up seeds for her soon-to-be-planted garden.

In front of City Hall - notice the Peace Corps swag!

I asked him to take a a picture...and instead of grabbing my camera,
he jumped in and smiled!

At what Peace Corps calls "Staging," trainees are welcomed into the PC family, paperwork is finished up, and introductions are made for the first time. Though having any large group where no one knows each other can become quite awkward (ice breakers and drawing on posters!), the 43 of us arrive with a common purpose: to serve in the U.S. Peace Corps! We'll spend the next three months with each other in Cameroon to receive language, cultural, and technical training.

Our aspirations and anxieties...including hippo attacks!

Rise and shine at 6AM tomorrow to get yellow fever vaccinations and then off to JFK to leave for Cameroon!