Sunday, 3 April 2011

Welcome to Maroua, Cameroon

Maroua, the regional capital of the Extreme North region, is known for its handicrafts and cotton. Here, one can find the best artisan work in the country from paintings to jewelry.

After a nine-hour bus ride from Ngaoundere to Cameroon, we were finally in Maroua. With two trip buddies on a paved road, this was one of the easier travels in Cameroon!

If you're ever traveling in Cameroon and you're hungry, just grab something out the window!

First stop: the Artisan Market (“Artisinat”)! In a period of an hour, I spent about 20.000CFA ($40US) buying gifts and crafts. Luckily, all the merchants there understand that PCVs like to bargain hard and as I spoke the little Fulfulde that I know, I was able to walk away with fair prices on everything from shell earrings (500CFA) to calabash shakers (1.000CFA).

Andrea and I headed to the “Beauty Institute” at Domayo where our friends have a salon. In December, we met Joserne and Esther while taking the train from Ngaoundere to Yaounde and promised them that we would visit when we came to Maroua. It was really great to meet women who own their own successful business in a place where some women need permission to leave their homes. Go Joserne and Esther!

First things first: Esther wants to do my hair! As she’s worked with foreigners in the past, I let her go while Andrea received a pedicure. The salon also offers massages and has a portable sauna. Never thought that I would be at a salon here in Africa!

Joserne in the salon's portable sauna!

Back at the PC house, PCV Martin Case requested a meeting with me. He had just changed sites and wanted to discuss project ideas and city living. It was highly productive as we discussed how to empower youth to how to figure out who has serious projects.

The hightlight (beyond everything earlier that day!) was attending dinner with Joserne and Esther. We went to Restaurant Venice and enjoyed chicken and plantains over good laughter. Naturally, of course, Esther brought along her son in case Andrea was looking for a husband.

Our delicious chicken and plantain dinner with red wine at Venice

Andrea realizing that she's been set up on a date with her (potential) future husband

Oh, Cameroon!

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