Yaoundé: Cameroon Journal Continued

Yaoundé, Cameroon

Yaoundé, Cameroon

2 June 2006

We’re in Yaoundé. Yesterday morning I slept in, but I feel adapted to the time zone now. Beth and at least a dozen other Peace Corps voluteers (PCVs) are in Yaoundé right now to prepare a training session for the upcoming year’s batch of new PCVs. I stayed in the hotel during the morning session. During her coffee break, Beth came back and brought me a banana and a pain au chocolat. When PCV’s of Cameroon are in the capital, they generally stay in a compound called “the case” (pronounced like ’cause’ because it’s French). But the Peace Corps has a firm policy of only allowing PCVs to stay in the case. So I am in a hotel just next door.

Last night we went to a restaurant called L’Atlantique with some other Peace Corps Volunteers. Byron and Gwen are both science education volunteers, and Nan is an older volunteer who was working in computer education. All three of them are now finished with their service and preparing to leave the country. We ate upstairs on a bamboo or reed covered balcony. The chairs were extremely comfortable. I had spaghetti au thon. Beth had pizza margherita. Nan had grilled shrimp Atlantique, Byron (who has become a prince in his village) had lapin chausée, as did Gwen. We rode to dinner, all six of us in one cab. Four of us sat in the back seat while two shared the front passengers’ seat.

After dinner, some of the volunteers who are now completely finished with their service went to get chicken schwarma at a street vendor nearby. I saw a bar called the Waka-Waka Bar. Beth explained that a waka-waka woman is a prostitute.  After dinner we returned to the case to fill a bottle of drinking water (the case of course has a good supply of boiled water at all times) and for Beth to iron a dress. One actually has to iron all clothes in Cameroon, not just to remove wrinkles, but to kill the eggs of skin burrowing insects (called tumbu flies) that are frequently laid in drying laundry. While she was doing her ironing I chose some reading material from the case library–Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith.

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