Saturday 31 July 2010

J'ai Passé Mon Examen de Français

Je suis trés contente! Aujourd'hui j'ai passé mon examen de Francais!

I'm very happy! After speaking in French today about my life in Cameroon and why traveling is important, I passed my exam, thus bringing me one step closer (a big step!) to officially becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer!

Over and out,
Peace Corps Trainee (hoping to be a volunteer soon!)

Sunday 25 July 2010

Life as a Peace Corps Trainee

It’s Sunday today, or as the Cameroonians like to write: Bafia, le dimanche, 25 juillet 2010 (that could still be wrong though as my Francais is still just a bit…or rather…really, really, weak).

Life as a Peace Corps Trainee in Cameroon consists of eleven weeks of technical, cultural, medical, and language training. I’m up at 6:45AM and in the Peace Corps training center until 4:30PM. Though the evenings are free, it seems that I’m always busy doing something. Here’s a glimpse into reality:

-Small Enterprise Development: I’m currently consulting a cyber café in the center of town. He’s a full-time teacher looking for ways to better manage his business. Thus far, I’ve had him implement a new accounting method (in other words, he didn’t have one before!) and we’ve figured out a few ways to lower his monthly expenses. We speak French, English, and “Franglais” and somehow we make it work!

-Local Language and Culture: It’s necessary to know French, but if you attempt to speak the local language of Bafia and even just say hello (pronounced “Y-um-bay”), they will love you! Did it at the market and received eight tomatoes instead of five for 100CFA – equivalent to about $0.20US. Everything is negotiable here.

-Kids: They love us! Whether I walk home at 4:30PM or 7PM, there’s a seven-year-old that always keeps a look out and accompanies me back to my house. She’s only about three-and-a-half feet tall, but it’s nice having a miniature body guard.

-Current Happenings: I was living in Manhattan and wearing a cocktail dress a few weeks ago…and I need a night out…and thus, I am organizing a discotheque night for the crew. No worries though! I am working hard (see Small Enterprise Development section above).

-Happiness: Watching “Family Matters” in French while reading the magazine “Planete Enfants” has become one of my new favorite activities with my host family.

The most difficult part is the language barrier…and the fact that I really, really miss greasy American food. As we’re only Peace Corps Trainees at the moment, we hope to achieve the honorable status of “Peace Corps Volunteer” soon! On se voit!

Monday 19 July 2010

Pictures Galore

I already have hundreds, but here are some quick pics and a video of life as a Peace Corps Trainee in Cameroon:

The oxen that block my path home everyday around 5PM

Being Camerounaise with a traditional pagne

On the way to meet the U.S. Ambassador i.e. one of the only times
I've worn makeup or gotten dressed up

My washing machine

Meeting my community host, Haouwou, and her baby!

On the way to Beka, a village outside of Ngaoundere

With two Cameroonians from a Village Savings & Loan Association
I could potentially work with

The Cameroonian landscape on the way to the Adamoua - gorgeous!

Wednesday 14 July 2010

Orange County News Article

There are some factual mistakes, but this article provides a quick background on my future work with the Peace Corps:

Why Is My Blog in Polish?

Throughout my travels, I have frequently updated my blog on a day-to-day basis (or in reality, I've updated months later, but it's still a daily log of my adventures none-the-less!).

With this new Peace Corps experience, I've been at a lost for words (for once in my life). Where do I begin? Everything seems so normal though life is completely different. And also, for some reason, my blog settings have been changed to Polish words, and unfortunately, until I figure out Polish, I can't change anything to English or French. Luckily, I have free internet for the moment!

Pictures will be the next post - I promise!

Monday 5 July 2010

Ngaoundéré, Cameroon - My New Home!

We are currently spending a week at our posts a.k.a. where we will be working for the next two years. My placement: Ngaoundere, Cameroon!