Saturday, July 13th– Downtown Bamenda
Today I was supposed to go to the farm with Mama Regina, but because a toothache kept her up all night :[ I ended up going to town with Titus instead. Downtown Bamenda is Commercial Avenue where you find the largest market of goods and foods and many different stores, banks, restaurants, etc. We ended up trekking there, which took us about an hour, and then walked around for an hour. The market place is jam packed with little shops selling anything and everything including plastic tubs, baby supplies, kitchen supplies, spices, fruits, chickens, clothes, fabric, imported goods, etc! I also passed many different furniture shops on the way downtown where they display their handmade or imported couches right out on the roadside. On Commercial Avenue I stopped by Prescraft, a Presbyterian Free Trade store my American acquaintances told me about. Although a little shabby looking on the outside, stepping inside transported me to a chic store in Los Altos. The store is known for its pained pottery items, but they have local masks, flagons, kitchenware, jewelry and more. If I had my way I would buy everything; thank goodness I have a budget!
Best hair cut ever:
Sunday, July 14th– Mbororo Community
Tomorrow I will be starting my surveying in my third community, which is a stationary Mbororo community. Mbororo communities are primarily made up of Muslim farmers; since this one is stationary they do some agriculture, along with taking their cattle further into the bush for grazing. Right now Muslims are in their month of fasting, so I will have to make sure to eat a big breakfast to avoid rudely snacking in front of them! My survey questions will be slightly different for this community. Here are some of the paraphrased questions:
How does the grazing method work? Who is involved?
Have you experienced any environmental changes over the past few years? Since when?
Are there differences in the rainy/dry season?
Have these changes affected your grazing, agricultural produce, livelihoods, or daily life?
Are these environmental changes aggravated by particular social structures/issues?
How do you cope with the consequences of the environmental/climate change? With regards to grazing, agriculture, social/economic impacts?
Have you adapted your grazing or cultivation methods? If not, why no changes?
I am sure it will be very interesting to learn about their grazing methods! In other news, I am almost all done with my two reports, which are 7 pages each; I feel like I am back in school!
July 15th– Culture shock!
The Mbororo Pastorlist population is one of the marginalized minorities in Cameroon. The community I am going to this week is called Ntambang and only has about 60 households in it. To get there I have to take a taxi for 15 minutes and then hike up to the hills for about 25 minutes. The Mbororo community is more “civilized” than other ones because it isn’t migratory. The population either herds cattle and/or farms. The most prevalent environmental concern that the herders face is a decrease in available grazing land with the increase in population near Bamenda. As for the farmers, they are greatly concerned by the distinct change in rainy/dry season; since the seasons are no longer predictable the farmers are having difficulty planning for planting and harvesting.
As for my culture shocks, I was pretty caught off guard when I saw a girl of 13 years nursing her child in the community today. It is even more common in the Mbroro communities for the girls to get married and have children at this age. I am 20 and can’t even imagine having the responsibility of taking care of another human!
One of the families I interviewed:
After work today I also got to see Titus slaughter a chicken and I helped mama pluck it clean. I have to say it was pretty neat to see Mama take the chicken apart and show me all the parts; it brought me back to AP Bio!