Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cameroon: The First 5 Days

Friday, September 11th
"We had ice cream over western Nigeria and northern Cameroon. Looking out the window I could see the sun glinting off of metal roofs. I watched as we transitioned from savannah to mountains, from yellow dirt to red, open spaces to forest. When we finally landed at Yaoundé it was the smoothest landing I had ever experienced." (Excerpt from Cameroon journal)

We were met at Nsimalen International Airport in Yaoundé by Mickey. He and his wife, Barb, take care of the volunteers who come to Cameroon through Wycliffe Associates and they do a really great job of it. They worked hard to make our accommodations in the city comfortable and safe and provided many chances to meet Cameroonians and see the country.

One of our teammates in this adventure was Brian and he arrived safely on Saturday. Our final teammate, Lendl arrived later in the week.

Sunday, September 13th
"They took us to church at Etoug-Ebe Baptist Church...The interesting part, to me, was the baby announcements. They announced as many births as deaths and the congregation really responded to that. With joy at the births and sadness at the deaths." (Excerpt from Cameroon journal)

Monday, September 14th
"...at about 7:15-7:30 we heard the voices of little children running past talking about the super hero status of one of their classmates. The Parent Run School for the elementary kids is next door and there is a connector gate in the wall." (Excerpt from Cameroon journal)

In the morning, we saw where the Rain Forest International School (RFIS) is currently set up and sharing space with the Summer Institute of Linguistics training facilities. Both are getting too big to share anymore and so the construction of a permanent home for the school has become a high priority.

"The RFIS compound is very large. One end is dominated by the soccer pitch. On the slopes at the other end is the school buildings area. They have 5 buildings in process. Various stages are represented. Two more buildings need to be completed but they need another $250,000 to do it." (Excerpt from Cameroon journal)

When we saw the RFIS site for the first time, we could see that it had been cut out of the jungle with walls not only for security, but for holding the forest back.

Tuesday, September 15th
"Paul said that the tractor needed reparing so I hammered nails in roof trusses all afternoon. I was having to go through 3 layers of hardwood and it seemed that the last layer was harder because the last inch on the nail was the most difficult. By 4 pm my right arm was in serious pain." (Excerpt from Cameroon journal)

I was relieved when Paul, the Wycliffe Associates construction administrator, set me up with the small tractor the next day. I can handle a manual transmission and a bucket or back hoe better than 4 inch nails in hardwood any day of the week.

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