Thursday, July 25th– American Friends!
Today I had the pleasure of going out to lunch at Prescafe with Karissa and Caitlin Jackson, another Caitlin, and Jonathan. Karissa and Caitlin are the daughters of Chris Jackson and both grew up in Cameroon. The family moved to Cameroon when Karissa was one to do mission work Karissa is my age and goes to Bioka University in Southern California. Caitlin is currently being homeschooled in Bamenda, but plans on attending an American University. Jonathan and Caitlin are from the states and are here this summer doing mission work. They are all very interesting, passionate, and fun people, so I had a great afternoon getting to know them better. The lunch was delicious; I got to have pasta and vegetables, along with a mango smoothie (with guava nectar). I also had the chance to explore downtown from the tourist eye since Karissa and Caitilin took us around shopping. Can’t spoil the present surprises yet, but I did get a very cool handmade wooden map of Cameroon for myself :]
Friday, July 26th– Cameroonian Birthday!
I was able to finish the first draft of my project proposal for reforestation in Mbelewa and Mbesi today. It includes a calendar, full budget, and a log frame- my pre-practice class prepared me perfectly for this work (we had to do a similar exercise for our final project). The project includes forming 6 women farming groups and 4 environmental clubs in schools, teaching participants about climate change, reforestation, water, waste, and soil management. They will be trained on reforestation techniques; CAEPA will set up 10 nurseries, one for each group, and in the end plant a total of 5,000 trees in the community. There will also be an event on the World Environmental Day, along with a memorandum calling for Bamenda City Council to treat waste before dumping it in Mbelewa’s hills. The total cost of the project is only $11,500, and we are only asking $9,000 from an outside donor. Roger and Nicoline will start researching donors who would be interested in funding the project. I am looking forward to hearing about how it goes through! I wish I was around to help implement it, though.
This afternoon I went to a Cameroonian birthday party, it was supposed to start at 2, but of course started at 6. They have MCs for birthday parties, and he started the party by reading the program. They then had an opening prayer. The VIPs or birthday boy and family were called into the room one by one and we cheered for them as they went to sit down. There were then a few speeches (very short) by the birthday boy and his brother. The MC then called a few guests up to play a few games to get the party laughing. Even though I don’t know the birthday boy personally at all, they called me up, of course. I have it admit it was mortifying, I couldn’t understand what they were saying and the MC kept referencing America and pointing at me (one of the things I really dislike about Cameroonian culture). However, once we were able to eat a little bit and they started playing music, I was able to become more comfortable. I was called up one last time to slow dance with a random guy at the party along with several other couples. We got home at 8 and it is pretty scary walking through the quarter that late, something I would never do alone and don’t plan on doing again!