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.