Sunday, October 30, 2011


It's been an incredible weekend! Friday we got to go to Douala and see Pastor Rich from Union College!! It was SO GOOD to see somebody we know! We've got an awesome group of people here and are so blessed!! We have GREAT friends and feel SO loved and fortunate but Mary is the only person I've seen in the past 6 weeks that I've known for more than 6 weeks!! So seeing pastor Rich and Spencer who got there Friday evening from the far north in Cameroon was so great! PR brought us two suit cases of stuff from home!! Talk about Christmas in October!! We were like little kids!! It's been a jam packed weekend of SO MUCH FUN and very little sleep!! I have lots more pictures but here's some from Just today, we went to Limbe and on Tuesday we're going to climb Mount Cameroon!

We ate at the super good resturaunt in the wild life center this afternoon, I love the Bunny Chow!

The resturaunt is in the front of the zoo, this guy was facing the other way and we were trying to take pictures, calling, coaxing, trying to get him to turn around, all of a sudden he did and started posing it up!

You wouldn't see this on the table in a resturaunt at home very often now would you?

As if we hadn't eaten enough, we walked down the road to a little bakery while the rest went through the wildlife center... MMMmmmmm the bread and such is AMAZING here!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hair, Hair Everywhere!

The (Gold) hair you see hanging here, ALL of it, plus more was added to my head over the course of 8 hours today!

When I say everywhere, I mean everywhere! There was "hair" or mesh, fake hair on everything... the little kids in the shop provided great entertainment throughout the long day of sitting in one place but when this little guy started eating crackers, spilled them on the ground and kept eating them... my stomach turned! I felt like I shouldn't/couldn't let him eat them and continuously put hair along in but his mother was standing right there never saying a word, so I just let him finish up the crackers while monitoring for hair (and pulling it out of his mouth) the best I could! But I'm afraid there was just nothing I could do about all the other goodness that he was collecting off of the floor!

The ladies who did our hair were just awesome and I feel like we some what bonded in the 8 hours we spent together!

Trixy dropped us off at 9:30 this morning, then came back for about the last hour, and like I said, the cute kids provided a lot of fun!

Random guys that wanted to be in on a picture...
The 'Sisters'

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Class 3A

I would like to welcome you to class 3A, The experiences I've had here are both countless and undescribable... but allow me to attempt to relay a very small bit of the activity!Here's some things that you will hear the teacher say on a regular basis, these are exact quotes but other variations of them are fair game too...

The teacher asks for one student to bring her health book to use as an example for another class, finds the work unsatisfactory and insults the student and several others who bring their health books forward... then she calls on another student in the front row (who has been univoled until this point) to bring hers, the student confrims, "my health book?" to which the teacher replies, "Look at this big fool, she sits in the front and cannon hear!"

One morning as the class was getting started a little boy was mindlessly tapping his pen on his desk. The teacher starts down his row, "Is that your pen noise!?" he freezes, she grabbs his face in a very common violent cheek pull that I can usually nearly feel in my own, then proceeds to throw his pen on the floor and shouts, "stupid!" as she walks away.

I am not trying to villianize anybody, I am just continually amazed by the tough African culture here and the contrast between my school experience and the Cameroonian norm. Countless times in a day I hear "look at that big fool, "What a big empty head!" "What is wrong with this child!?" "Read! or I will whip you well!" and witness teachers herding students with branches, pulling cheeks, slapping, hitting, banging heads with rulers... Yet through it all I have only seens tears once, back home I feel, with drastically more tender treatment, I would almost expext to see tears in this age group daily. One day when I was handed a list of "noise makers" by another teacher and instructed to "punish these children" I looked at her totally blank and gave a dumbfounded gasp/laugh as I almost whispered, "how?"

Today when I was done teaching my two classes (that went very well :) ) I came back to spend the rest of the afternoon with class 3A. The teacher handed me their reader and said that I should read their reading assignment today, a sentence at a time and then they read after me. So I stood at the front of the classroom and began... It's a continued story, today was scene III, having NO IDEA the kind of story and taste of African culture I was about to experience... This is the exact story I found myself reading to 6-8 year-olds today... and I was the only one who didn't find the content completely normal.

The Broken Calabash

Scene III

At dusk. Grand Mama sits in front to the hut, trimming a basket. Titi is inside the hut, perhaps eating or doing some other thing. The cock crows and Grand Mama suddenly becomes time conscious. Nightfall will soon approach, she thinks. Then, she trims faster.

Grand Mama: Titi! [She calls out]
Titi: Grand Mami, I was winnowing the beans. [She lies]
Grand Mama: Learn to be busy always. It’s good to be busy. When you are busy, you lack nothing to eat. But I was not happy with the way you worked in the farm.
Titi: Big Mami, you know I’ve to learn gradually. In the city, we do no farming.
Grand Mama: but at your age, you must know how to make a ridge. Your must know how to make a big ridge which can take the seeds. Your ridges were like large pits.
Titi: I will do better next time.
Grand Mama: A promise is a debt. And in all this, I blame your mother. What does she think will become of your life? You’re already ripe for marriage, and who is that husband that will accept for a wife one who cannot make a ridge?
Titi: But Big mama, I won’t be a farmer in future…
Grand Mama: What would you be?
Titi: An office worker.
Grand Mama: And if by some misfortune, you fail as an office worker, what will become of your life?
Titi: I will be a trader.
Grand Mama: What if you’ve no capital to start a trading business?
Titi: [Silent.] I will…
Grand Mama: Look my daughter, the earth is for everyone. We shall all return to it in one way or the other. The earth is like a mango tree behind the house. We must all return to it when hungry. Work in the office can come to an end, but work on our ancestral farmlands is eternal. [a young adolescent boy approaches from the small footpath that leads to the hut. Titi is instantly gripped by fear. The boy is timid, probably afraid of Grand Mama.]
Titi: Welcome. [The boy keeps observing the old woman’s face.]
Grand Mama: Who are you, my child?
Boy: I’m Jacob…
Grand Mama: Jacob is no name!
Boy: I’m Komofor Jacob.
Grand Mama: You’re Komogor’s son?
Boy: yes, Big Mama.
Grand Mama: Your father is a good man. Whenever he comes here, he reserves a cola for me. He lives in peace with us. But his second wife is a proud she-goat. Whose son are you, my child?
Boy: I’m the son of the first wife.
Grand Mama: That’s good. That one is a good woman. She greets people well. Even though, she has never given me anything, she greets me quite well. She may not because she does not have. The second wife behaves like a queen. She sways her large buttocks at us. She dresses like a coastal goddess, and behaves like a foreigner meanwhile she is our own daughter. My child, does she fare well with you at home?
Boy: Yes.
Grand Mama: What of your brothers and sister?
Boy: they are all well.
Grand Mama: Komofor is a kind man. So my child, what have you come to my house to do?
Boy: Big Mama, I came to greet Titi. We are students of the same college in the city. [Titi glances at Grand Mama, noticing that she is not happy.]
Grand Mama: Titi, is it true what he says?
Titi: Yes, Big Mama.
Grand Mama: But I will accept him only for today because his father is a kind man. I do not hate you my son. But I will not like you to visit Titi because you might be tempted to do what is bad in the eyes of the gods. And if that happens, it will be a disgrace to all of us. So keep away from her and you should all know that whatever you do behind my back, I will know through the soothsayer. I can allow Titi to have a girlfriend and I’ll still be there to control their activities.
Boy: I’ve heard, Big Mama.
Grand Mama: Good! So you can go and help in the household work. You can accompany your grandfather to the fields. He’s a great hunter. He will teach you how to hunt the leopards and the panthers. You can also learn how to tap palm wine and you get initiated in a good cult where you learn the ways of our ancestors. Have you been circumcised?
Boy: No!
Grand Mama: You have to. You have grown big and you need to be initiated in the ways of our clan.
Boy: Big Mama, I have to go….
Grand Mama: Good. Greet everyone for me.
Titi: Bye!
Boy: Bye!
Grand Mama: [She draws closer to Titi.] You’re not being honest to yourself, Titi. You can’t cheat yourself, can you?
Titi: [Surprised.] What’s the matter?
Grand Mama: The young boy whose footprints I’ve seen for the first and the last time can do no good to your life.
Titi: He’s merely a school mate. I didn’t even know that he was here.
Grand Mama: That’s not important to me. I have to make things clear to you. I don’t want him here again. Tell him to stay at home and be useful to his parents. He’s no good to you and maybe to himself as well. But he must learn to be useful to himself or to his parents, so to say. [Titi nods in approval of her counsel, but she seems dejected and confused. The scene gradually black out on them.]

Scene IV
The scene is Nkeh’s shrine. He is the oldest soothsayer in Lankong. His hair is as white as human teeth and his beard is very long. He is too old and looks very fragile. He wears black sandals made of rubber. His costume is quite similar to the boubou of a Moslem Man. He is stout and perhaps owner of many wives and children.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Favorite Passtime...

... You guessed it! Cooking and EATING!
Sarah getting ready to dig into the soya goo!!!

Milking the Soya cow! It actually takes some milker's muscles!

Boiling the soy milk to make it edible... and making some potato chips in some yummy palm oil...

Alyssa and Mary were the potato chip experts!

We barged in and took over Bill and Trixy's kitchen... after enjoying ourselves greatly and eating till we almost couldn't anymore!... we had two nice bottles of soy milk to chill for breakfast!! Mmmmmmm!

And this has nothing to do with food... just a little visitor I found in the bathroom...

This morning started off very rainy and gloomy. It rained from the middle of the night till well past noon, flooded a good portion of the hospital and quite honestly, seemed to flood our spirits too. This morning wasn't one of my brighter ones and it was an overall rough start to the day and leaving for school this morning took a lot of will power... However, THREE letters in the mailbox from good ol' North Dakota had a VERY positive effect on the mood and as you can see... our evening was quite a blast!
Plus, to finish off the day with an extra special treat... Just now Mary was taking a shower and all of a sudden she said, TABBY.... I THINK... the water, its getting warmer!!! what is going on!!? There's no way the water was being "heated" and no reason it should have gotten "warm" but it just did for a while!! so I got in right after her, we didn't even turn it off in between becuase we were too scared of it going cold again! It did cool off towared the end of my shower (and when I say it was warm, it was still a temp that at home a month ago I would have for sure called cold but...) it felt SO GOOD!! Random little blessing! :) A not so wonderful day in the begining, turned wonderful! :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Random Experiences

Mary and I were down the road waiting for a teacher friend from school today and this guy showed up and asked if we recognized him... haha no... so apparently he's a South African celebrity and informed us that he wanted us to be in his next music video! We just laughed but he left us with an autograph and a special copy of his newest music video that doesn't actually come out until December!!

These are some of the little letters I sent home with kids at school about tutoring :)

This, although it looks like a green water bottle, is really a rolling pin!!

Our mess that turned into yummy totillas and burritos! :)

Standing on the tofu!! making it nice and firm :)


Tryin to be an Arican cook!

We attempted our own Koki with the left over soy from making tofu!

Twin dresses for church! :)the locals were SO IMPRESSED!

This is a little butcher shop along the main road...
The part of the picture I would like to draw your attention to is the nice pair of horns left over from this morning's meat. Last Sunday when we walked by there was a perfect cow nose setting in roughly the same exact spot as these horns were today.

I attempted "fry bread" Saturday night, it was nothing like light and fluffy fry bread at home, the flour just feels different here and it was much thicker... but it was yummy none the less.

Friday, October 21, 2011

One Month

It's hard to believe that we have been living Buea, Cameroon, Africa for one month! In some ways it feels like we've been away from home and familiarity for MONTHS but in other ways the days and weeks have pass quickly! I've taken roughly 30 cold showers, but then I've also eaten roughly 30 acvocados! Month 1 of this adventure has been filled with adjustments I can't even describe but God's blessings and watch care continue to cover my every step!

Mary and I got some beautiful fabric from Buea Town, the oldest subdivision of Buea. You cant really tell how beautiful and vibrant the colors are in this picture but they are! and there is a shiny print over the top! So we found another sweet seamstress (just a few steps down the road from our other one) and she made us twin dresses! :)

We were shocked to find this toilet... There really is no such thing as a public bathroom around here, if you're just out and about and have to go... The nearest bunch of trees or other hiding place it where you go... or if you're a man around her, you just don't find a hiding place, standing on the sidewalk is just fine. So Mary decided to make use of this public toilet which she was surprized to find actually had toilet paper! Even the "teachers' bathroom" at my school doesn't have TP, you're expected to bring your own "tissue." But Mary did discover that there was no flush on this toilet but a bucket of water beside for you to flush and refil.

You know you're in Africa when the teacher writes "means of land transportation" on the chalk board and elephant and camel are on the list!

The stories I could tell you are endless! I try to write every night and do my best to record my experiences of the day, I just get overwhelmed by trying to remember and relay all the details I want to save and share.

Today at the deaf school when lunch time rolled around the kids were dismissed and then returned with a plate of rice with beans spooned over the top. The first day I visited the school I got to see these beans being cooked in a huge pot setting on three big rocks with a fire burning under it and I even got to stir it. The kids in our classroom were busy eating and then I noticed kids from another classroom standing around our windows with thier plates. I didn't really notice that they were just standing there with their food until the teacher told me that these older students were waiting for our students to finish eating so that they could use the spoons. There's only so many spoons, so they have to take their turn. When the teacher was given her plate she waited for awhile and then split her food between the three students she thought should eat more; one who was sick, the smallest boy, and another student.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Food in Africa

You would be amazed by both the WONDERFUL foods here and also the ones that make your stomach turn at the thought... but we have been finding some GOOD STUFF :) and cooking up a storm in our room! Here's a little "sample" :)

J's Grill" is a little more "upscale" local favorite we were introduced to tonight, our plates cost about $4 converted to American Money.

I got the "potato cake and vege salad" the potato cakes were very good, not quite like anything I've ever had before, nothing like a hash brown or something you would expect a "potato cake" to taste like... the potatoes were shredded VERY thin, then I'm guessing breaded and deep fried so it was soft... yet the potatoes inside were still very "sringy" like I said, quite unlike anything I've ever had before!

This is a little stand by the road, there's bobolo which I believe is ground up cassava formed into a banana shape by wrapping and tieing it in banana leaves. Also at this stand was fried plantain chips (bobolo and plantains are two of Mary's most favorite Cameroonian foods, I however don't appreciate them QUITE as much) and there was one more thing at this little fast food stop... whole fried fish!

You can top of an already amazing meal or just treat yourself to the YUUMIEST chocolate icecream you've ever had just because... :) I really need to stop being so naughty! :P but it was SO GOOD!

The market is really where we get our food, (eating out is really about like at home, kinda a rare "treat") this girl took special notice of us in the market yesterday and became our personal tour guide as we finished our shopping. She kept asking what we wanted next and took us to the best place to find it!

We walked the roughly 3 1/2 miles down to Moonya Market and then got a taxi back with all our loot! we are stocked!! we got okra, sweet potatoes, garlic, some African seasonings, agoose, oranges, grapefruits, bread, and papaya!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

55 years

55 years ago today my dear dadyo was born :) Happy Birthday Dad!! I hope it's a very special day!! I love you, Birthday wishes from Africa!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Indescribable Beauty

The view of Mt. Cameroon, or old Mt. Fako was absolutely incredible tonight. It was a very clear day and evening and as the sun set the colors were amazingly vibrant. The picture is a sad portrayal of what it actually looks like in real life. I wish you could have all been standing there with me to see it with your own eyes! I stand in awe!


Lea and Christian, the two nurses who work here taught us how to make Koki! Lea came over around 5 and we dug in! There's lots of steps, kind of a process! But so worth it! Christian joined us when she got off work, it was so much fun and such a YUMMY result! So, to make Koki, you start with Koki beans...
Sort them,

Wash them! :)

We had to take the prepared Koki beans over to the machine to be grinded, we are pretty amazed with the African talent of caring thins on your head, EVERYBODY does it here, from little kid on! Today I saw a guy carrying two bags of sement mix on his head! Mary was trying and Lea is an expert... she tried to help Mary but after trying just said "hmmm, I have a spot on my head where I know I can carry things... I can't find yours"

The grinder which saves HOURS of grinding by hand on a stone!

Heating the banana leaves over the fire to clean them and make them soft and flexable.

Mix it up GOOD!! had to keep "stiring" all one direction to fluff it up!

Fill the Banana leaves.

The two cooks who actually knew what they were doing! :)
(notice our colorful notes on the wall behind Christian! :) thank you to all who sent them! :) they make me feel so loved!)

Boil it for... at least an hour... ish ;) It is just such an amazing concept for this ND girl to wrap her mind around the fact that I am cooking with BANANA LEAVES! And I can go out in "my yard" and get them!! Doesn't this just look so,!?

The finished product!! Several hours later, "Koki" and boiled plantains... It was SO SO SO SO good! But I have to admit, I'm not a huge fan of the plantains, the Koki however, was incredible!