?

Log in

Tickle · the · Pear


return to Ambam

Recent Entries · Archive · Friends · Profile

* * *
I've written before about my ambivalence about Africa and specifically about Cameroon. I really hesitated about visiting Ambam, my old post, again, but I did. I hired a car and a driver, and we went.

The great thing about Peace Corps is that you can just show up at someone's house and it's no big deal. I'd been corresponding with B. by email since he'd posted something about beans on the Friends of Cameroon website. I'd just missed him in Yaoundé but the Peace Corps staff told me that he was at post. We went straight to his house upon arrival in town and he took me on a tour.

Ambam changed dramatically. I'd left it as a sleepy border town and returned to a thriving mini-megalopolis. There was very little I recognized except for a few government buildings. The town has probably tripled in size and where there were gentle hills where cattled grazed are now ugly concrete buildings. B. showed me the three (!) microfinance banks in town and the new market, which supplanted the old site where I used to go. When I was a volunteer there was only one high school; now there's two and my old school is the Lycée Bilingue and the new one is the Lycée Technique. We went to visit the Catholic mission, where the nuns remembered me, and drove by my old house with its pink paint now sadly peeling. I didn't expect to find anyone else I knew since most of my friends and colleagues were civil servants who've been transferred. We ended the visit with a lunch of ndolé and baton de manioc.

I shouldn't have stressed so much about going back.



B. and the nuns

at the school
* * *
* * *
[User Picture]
On December 16th, 2006 07:22 pm (UTC), hatter_anon commented:
Love the pictures, and I'm glad to hear you had a good time after all that.
[User Picture]
On December 16th, 2006 10:45 pm (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
Thanks!

Everyone said I'd gotten fat, but it was very matter of fact, and not malicious at all. Strange.
[User Picture]
On December 18th, 2006 10:13 am (UTC), flemmarde replied:
yes well, i guess that's something we have to cope with with africans huh? saying it like it is about one's body...

i love the school motto... you'd never see that on an australian school!
[User Picture]
On December 18th, 2006 02:02 pm (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
saying it like it is about one's body...

I'll never forget my host family during training telling me that I'd be prettier if I washed my face more often!
[User Picture]
On December 18th, 2006 02:31 pm (UTC), flemmarde replied:
lol! poor you

doesn't do a lot for one's self esteem does it, such brutal frankness.

what was wrong with your face?
[User Picture]
On December 18th, 2006 11:31 pm (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
Not clean enough, I suppose!
* * *
On December 16th, 2006 07:32 pm (UTC), clynne commented:
Baton de manioc sounds really intriguing. Hrm, I'm guessing that if one can get cassava root anywhere in the USA, it's California. I'll have to add it to Erich's list of "things to look for in the non-Anglo supermarkets."
[User Picture]
On December 16th, 2006 10:45 pm (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
It's a weird acquired taste for sure! It took me about a year to start voluntarily eating it.
* * *
[User Picture]
On December 17th, 2006 10:48 pm (UTC), mokey4 commented:
I'm glad to hear that cellphones have not killed the "visit anytime without calling" culture of Peace Corps. I used to love that I could drop in on people whenever in PC, and I was wondering if that has changed now that so many PCVs have cell phones. Although maybe cellphones are not as commonplace in Cameroon as they are currently in Ghana?
[User Picture]
On December 18th, 2006 02:03 pm (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
I was actually surprised how ubiquitous cell phones were - B. told me that all the PCVs text each other now. I was so "old school" that I didn't even think to ask for B.'s number when I was at the PC office!
* * *

Previous Entry · Leave a comment · Share · Next Entry