Monday, July 29th- Last week of field work!
Today I started my last week of field work by visiting another agricultural community at Mile 4 called Menda. The main environmental challenges this community suffers from are the irregularity in the rainy season and poor soil, both which affect their yields. There has also been rampant deforestation to make room for development, but whether tree felling is occurring in the bushes as well as in the neighborhood is unclear.
In the afternoon, I went over to the Jackson’s house to visit and use their fast internet (the American family). Their house is only a 10 minute walk from mine. I was able to skype with my family and catch up on some AXO work. I ended up staying the whole afternoon and got to eat dinner there too. The family is incredibly welcoming and their house is like a little oasis. Very exciting to be able to use a flushable toilet for the first time in Cameroon!
Tuesday, July 30th- The Jackson Village ❤
Since Menda suffers from very few issues, the surveys were very short today and I finished work at around 11 AM. I went over to the Jackson’s again to buy some coffee from the father, and stayed again all afternoon to type up my reports and hang out with the girls. Although, I cannot say that I got that much work done! The Jackson‘s house is called the Jackson Village, because there are always 10 or more people in the house; and they consider all their friends as a part of the family. It has been very lonely back at my home for the past week because Mama Regina has been on a trip to Yaounde and the boys keep going out, so I really appreciated being invited to stay for dinner for a second night in a row. ALSO, I learned that they have two horses!!! Caitlin said I can go riding with her if I like; something I will have to take advantage of next week!
The Jacksons’s Kitchen! Karissa on the right and Loom on the left!
Wednesday, July 31st- Over the hump!
For some reason homesickness decided to hit this past weekend, and stay until today, but I think I am finally over the hump! I was up late last night worrying about trifles and felt really off at work so I left the field early to go on a run and clear my head. This was my first time running in Cameroon and although a little tough, it was beautiful out and the views of the town are gorgeous from the hills (I do cardio kickboxing in my room to stay in shape, but no running!).
Afterwards, Karissa Jackson invited me to go into town and grab coffee with the girls and some visiting friends. We went to Prescafe, the restaurant next to the craft place, and I got to have a delicious cappuccino. The Jackson’s and their friends are hilarious; I could very easily live with them all year round, and I already feel like part of the family. It is always fun to go around with them since they speak pigeon fluently and know how to handle themselves in the market. We decided to head home after some thrift shopping when it started to rain.
Prescafe! Karissa, Loom (their Cameroonian sister), me, and Johnathan (a friend from the US)
Karissa was driving us back home in their family car when an idiotic taxi driver drove into the side of our car. Immediately we were surrounded by Cameroonians on all sides fighting over what had happened and who was at fault. Amazingly, Karissa kept her cool while insisting she was not at fault. We were blocked in by the taxi and unable to drive away, but she was able to finally convince the driver to back up and let us through. Our car was scratched, but his entire bumper was falling off and the side of his car was crunched in—his own fault. We drove away without further discussion, since the taxi driver did not want to have to deal with paying us for the scratch. Driving in Cameroon is crazy, and we were very lucky that we were in the North West Region, since elsewhere the witnesses might have insisted that the white person was at fault purely because they are white and are more likely to have money. However, the general public is a lot more accepting here than in other regions.
My day was made when Mama walked in at 6 PM with all of her luggage. She has been gone for a week, and I am so happy to have her back!