Cameroon Journal: More fun in Fontem

In which we visit the SDO, and Ña Ngep devours a rat

7 June 2006

Last night we went to the SDO’s house (the Senior Divisional Officer, a sort of regional mayor). We climbed up a winding road to the top of the hill that lifted his house above the surrounding  area. His house is the highest point in the village. We watched satellite TV there: tennis, soccer, Afghani conflict, shin kicking (a British sport), a boy with three arms now has two arms. Yesterday’s date was 6/6/06, the sign of the beast. The TV informed us about superstitious people who induced labor in order to have their son a day early so that his birthday would not fall on 6/6/06.

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The SDO's Hill

There were lots of kids at the SDO’s house. I had a coke. It was good. Then I had a glass of wine. It was not good. The SDO usually drinks wine in his coke. Interesting. It probably would have made the wine more drinkable. I thought we would get dinner at the SDO’s house, but we did not. This is probably just as well. I think the richer a Cameroonian family is, the more likely they may be to serve us some weird mysterious meat that could be tricky to refuse, but I am not going to eat any monkeys.

As I mentioned earlier, when you get a drink in a Cameroonian household, the host will send a child out to a bar to get the refrigerated drink. This usually takes ten or fifteen minutes. I feel bad for the kid who had to descend from the SDO’s compound and back up with a drink.  Providing guests with a drink usually costs more than it would to feed them a whole meal. So, usually when you’re a guest in someone’s home here, they’ll offer food or drink, but not both, unless they happen to be eating at the time themselves, or it’s a special occasion, like the first time you have visited. When we got home I was hungry. We cooked delicious mac and cheese with Laughing Cow™ cheese and chopped tomato.

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Ña Ngep roosts on a napping Beth. Mosquito net in the background.

 

Not long after going to bed, we heard Ña Ngep, Beth’s cat, killing someting under the desk. A flashlight revealed the victim as some sort of rodent. I think “kangaroo rat” would be an appropriate name for this poor creature. We tucked the mosquito net in all the way around the bed so that Ña Ngep would not bring her prey into the bed as a gift for us. She took the dead animal under the bed and we heard awful bone crunching, organ squeaking, skin tearing and sinew popping sounds for 10 or fifteen minutes. Then the cat began meowing because she wanted to come visit. So loves sleeping on Beth or me or in between us. But Beth said, “No, your jaws are bloody. You can’t come visit.”

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