Sunday, August 14, 2011


I have been in Cameroon for a little over 11 weeks now. As I get ready to be sworn in as a Volunteer on August 17th, I am reflecting a lot on my journey thus far. If you would have asked me before I left the states what my biggest fear was, I would have said hands down getting Malaria. Well, 11 weeks into my journey, I have Malaria and I am ok. Actually, I am glad that it is Malaria, because I can take 24 pills and in 3 days I will feel better.

I keep shocking myself. Things that should phase me, don’t. Watching a moto driver pull over and pee on the side of the road is now normal. Driving past a bush taxi with a goat strapped to the roof, not a big deal. While at the hospital seeing a mouse run around, interesting, but not really a huge deal either.

I will be at my new home soon, Meiganga. I am looking forward to doing what I came here to do. Work. I am ready for my new life to start. These past 11 weeks have been challenging, but I have had great friends along the way to keep me sane. (Maybe a beer or two helped a little…and James, beer here are cold!)

I compiled a list of things that I have experienced and things that I have surprised myself with.

• A battle to the death with a cockroach no longer phases me, I will win even if it takes an hour
• A mouse on the other hand, running through my room will never be ok. Duct tape on holes on the walls works wonders!
• Washing clothes by hand; I fully support child labor here! I know that I can wash my own clothes by hand, do I want to? No.
• I realized that I am allergic to Maggie, or known in the states as MSG. Maggie is in everything here, so I cannot wait to cook for myself at post. But slowing I am becoming accustomed to it.
• I couldn’t speak any French before I got here…now I am surprising myself with the conversations I am able to have!
• My new goal is to speak Fulfolde, French, and English without any hesitation
• I never ate fish in the states, now I eat fish 3 times a week!
• I prefer antelope over hedgehog or even a fish head.
• Dany, will be my name in Meiganga. Danielle sounds too much like a guys name, and I am not a fan of the confused looks. So I am Dany. Sorry Mom!
• I could never squat…now I am a pro! Latrines don’t even phase me!
• My passion for soccer has been sparked again.
• I never read in the states, In a month I read 5 books. I had to hide my kindle. (I would love book suggestions)

There are 3 Goals of Peace Corps:
1. To help the people of interested countries meet their needs for trained manpower
2. To promote a better understand of the American people on the part of peoples served.
3. To promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of the American people.

Since being here, I have changed my goals for my service. I came in with this grandiose idea that I was going to make massive changes. As much as I would love for that to happen, I would rather make an impact on an individual level. I am eager to get to know people; hear their stores; understand their beliefs. Goals 2 and 3 will be the most impactful.

I am looking forward to the African success stories. I am looking forward to the next 2 years. I am looking forward to the person I will be in 2 years and seeing the changes that not only in my life but those around me. My loved ones back in the States, you are all included.


JP said...

Get well soon...proud of you coz. JP

Anonymous said...

Keep your enthusiasm and positive attitude, it will surely get you through the tougher days. And Good luck as you begin your service!!!!!