Yeap…that’s me! The white girl! It is not exclusive to me though, everyone in my Staging group of 43 is called the white boy or girl. There are 2 exceptions, there are 2 black people in my group. When we met our home stay families, the families LOVED those 2 volunteers. They wanted to know where in Africa they were from!
There is no such thing as “politically correct” here in Cameroon. They will say it how they see it. So you are either black or white. They will let you know if you are fat or skinny. They will even state the obvious like: “You are here!” when you enter the room! Children will sit across from you and not say a word and just stare at you. If you are walking down the street children will start to follow. A group of us went to the local bar after class to grab a beer and at least 20 children will want to play with you!
When you are a guest in someone’s house it is common for you to eat alone or even eat at a separate table facing the wall. For dinner my Mama will eat with me, then Louise (my sister who is 25 years old). After we have eaten, my brothers: Charles (16) and Paulin (9) will eat. I am not sure when my Dad eats though because I haven’t seen him eat yet! For breakfast, my mom and sister will stare and me and comment on how I do not eat enough.
On Sunday I am making my family Mexican food! We all know that this is my favorite and they are very excited! I brought out the spices and they cannot wait. My homestay family has seen pictures of home, friends and family. I took out my map to explain where I have lived. I think that they were extremely confused. From what I have gathered so far, people stay in 1 place! My mom and sister loved seeing pictures of the different fashions! They want me to wear all of my dresses that they have seen!
My French has improved tremendously! I am able now to explain what I am eating…I even said that I do not want to eat the fish head. (Je ne mange pas la tete de possion) They laughed at me…and explained that the eyes’ of the fish are the best part, but I am not willing to try just yet. I will soon enough though.
On a side note, what shocked me the most was the level of poverty that I have seen in a week. I almost started crying when I saw a man walking down the streets of Yauonde wearing barely a loin cloth. In America if you are homeless, you at least have an opportunity to find a shelter or clothes. In a country where no one has anything, someone who is homeless really has nothing.
I will have pictures soon of Bafia. So far I love it here. Just incase you were wondering…getting water out of the well multiple times a day is hard work! I never thought that I would ever say that! I have almost mastered the bucket shower and using a latrine. It is not as hot here as it is humid, so now I carry around a handkerchief.
And I will end this post with the directions on how I get to school. The other PCTs (Peace Corps Trainee) near my house understand these directions because there are no street signs! Turn left at my house, turn right at the house with the funny, white painting on the outside. Turn right at the fork in the path, then cross a small bridge (which is just a 2x4 piece of wood). Then at the other fork turn left then cross another bridge. Follow that path until you reach the main road and a yellow shack should be on your right. Turn right on the road and follow it until you reach the HUGE PC building! Just be prepared that on this main road, you will be yelled at “La Blanche!” or someone just might try to sell you a monkey for 20,00 CFA!