I apologize for the incredibly long posts, I am working on shortening them down :] this is, after all, my first blog experience!
Saturday, June 22– Clothing in Cameroon
While I was outside with Regina this morning a woman she knows came by and tried to talk to her about them selling clothing together. I learned that many individuals in Cameroon will buy large sacks of clothing that are imported from America and Europe and then resell them. The sack she brought over was filled with little kids clothing. There are very few textile industries remaining in Africa because their prices cannot compete with the cheap prices of resold donated clothing. When you give clothing to Good Will the best items will stay in America while much of the rest is shipped over to Africa. When the woman left Regina told me she does not want to do business with her because she is argumentative, I believe I have a very smart Cameroonian mother. For dinner, we all had a small glass of Irish Liquor to celebrate my birthday; very low-key and relaxing.
Sunday, June 23- Religion in Cameroon
This morning I went to church with Regina and Sama. Regina woke me up at 5:17 and we went to the 6 AM catholic mass. The walk to church was only 8 minutes and we had a bit of light to help us on our way. The church is massive, probably 2 times the size of VPC (my church in Portola Valley). People were dressed in anything from nice jeans and a shirt, to simple dresses (with knees and a few shoulders showing!), to traditional Cameroonian garb. Mama Regina wore her normal Cameroonian dress but went home to change when she was scolded for not wearing her outfit for the Association of Catholic Women in Cameroon. As it turns out there is this association at every catholic church in Bamenda and 3 times a year they meet at a different church to discuss women rights in the church. Today it is being held at Regina’s church. She was going to skip because she did not want to leave me at home, but I told her it wasn’t a problem. As for the mass, I am happy to report I only got lost once this time when we walked up to the front to give money to the church! Barbary and Raf, the choral directors at my church would have loved the music here, the choir and drummers played throughout the entire 2 and a half hours. In addition, the priest would sometimes sing his prayers. During the announcement time the priest scolded the church members for sometimes showing up 2 hours late to their own weddings, how it is different here! On the walk home it started sprinkling and luckily we made it in before it stormed. I have a feeling I will be inside the rest of the day!
June 24th – Mile 3 Nkwen
Today was supposed to be my first day of work, but unfortunately there have been some complications. I am working with my advisor at UC Berkeley and my contacts in Bamenda to figure everything out. However, I am still safe as can be with my Cameroonian family! Sama took me on a tour of the Mile 3 Nkwen living quarter (where I am living) and I was able to talk to him a lot about Cameroon. He told me that since Bamenda is still a developing city (with 1 million people, and still developing!) they are less likely to get resources than Yaounde, the capital, and Douala, the money capital. This is greatly demonstrated by the lack of paved roads here, only the main roads are paved, and poorly at that. In Yaounde and Douala even the roads in the quarters are mostly paved. As for the tour, almost everyone grows corn if they can, to feed their family and sell the excess. As always, everywhere was very green thanks to the constant rain in the summer!
Until next time,