It’s Saturday, and I just got home from a soccer game. My church has organized a soccer tournament for the neighborhood running several months as a venue for evangelism, and I go to support them when I can. They asked me to play a couple of times, but I’ve tried to convince them that I’d be the MVP for the opposing team. At mid-match, a team from Rainforest International (the school here) came to do some sketches and evangelism. It was refreshing to see the kids doing direct evangelism especially as they acted it out and didn’t have to use words.
|Here’s a little something special and different. This is part two of a story from Teresa, a friend who came to visit me here in Cameroon for two weeks. Enjoy!|
After a busy first weekend in Cameroon, I was glad to have a few days to “relax” in Yaoundé – the capitol and where Matthew lives. Here is a little bit about what I experienced.
I was able to go to work with Matthew for a few days. While Matthew worked on a variety of different projects I read a book, played a video game and just hung out. It was nice to have some down time and not have to think about what I had to do at my apartment, for school or what event I had planned for the night. To be a little “worry” free for a few days was a nice change of pace. I enjoyed meeting a variety of different people that Matthew works with. All were so welcoming. Every day we would have time to chat and catch up with different people during “coffee break” starting at 10:00 and lasting till about 10:30. I would enjoy a tasty banana muffin during this time. I realized that people complete the work that they need to do but they also take the time to catch up and visit with each other.
Food -For lunch a few days we went out to a couple of different “restaurants”. The exciting thing about going out to eat is that you usually don’t have to ponder over the menu because there are usually only a couple of choices on the menu to begin with (and usually only one of those is available) so you just order that. One day we had really good egg sandwiches and another day we had some good chicken and plantains. A few days we went back to the house and Matthew made us food. I think I enjoyed this just as much as eating out! For dinner usually the house help would have fixed food during the day and left it in the oven for us. I feel I ate a variety of food – but popular foods include chicken and plantains.
Travel and Traffic –
To get to the SIL office (where Matthew works) and to visit different friends we walked. We traveled on rocky dirt roads, across a soccer field, and down a main road (that when crossing I always felt as if I was in a live game of “Frogger”). But in order to get downtown we had to take a taxi. This is a process – You stand on the side of the road. You wave at a passing taxi. If they have room they pull over. You state where you are going and how much you are willing to pay. The taxi driver either pulls away (and then you wait for another taxi and try again) or they wave you in. You can also either get a taxi just to yourself or you can ride in a taxi with more people and that means pulling over until the taxi is full (full could be anywhere between 3 people and people). Sometimes you have to wait for much different taxi’s to pass before one is willing to take you where you want to go.
I don’t think that I will ever complain about traffic in the US again. As I traveled in vehicles in Cameroon, I decided that there really is no rhyme or rhythm to what is going to happen next. If there is 2 lanes to a road – that means that there are 4 rows of traffic. People merge whenever they want and it wasn’t uncommon to see cars doing u-turns randomly in the middle of the road of traffic. However my favorite part of traveling by vehicle was that whenever you go to pass somebody you honk your horn. So since being back in the US I have had the urge to honk whenever passing any vehicle.
Vehicles carry lots of people and also lots of stuff on top or in the trunks. When we were traveling to Kribi we passed a “bush taxi” that had lots of little goats on top. There were lots of other “bush taxis” that carried luggage on top.
Matthew lives in a house called the “Peach Palace”. There is a gate and a guard that opens the gate whenever we would leave or enter. The guards were always friendly. There are also guards at the SIL office and the other housing complexes that his friends live at. Cameroonians do not have guards for their houses. Many of their houses are not even complete. Matthew informed me that when Cameroonians get money they use the money to build houses but many times they lose their money source before they complete their houses and then the houses stand half finished. But the families still live in them.
Whenever walking anywhere Cameroonians would always yell things out at us. This was usually done in French or a Cameroonian language. Sometimes they may have just been saying hello but many times they would be asking for food, money, etc. A few times when walking we would meet somebody that Matthew knew and we would stop and chat for a minute or two before continuing on our way. The children who were out playing along the side of the road would wave or say hello.
As you walked along there are people selling things all the time. Some have little tables set up along the road but most carry what they are selling. I was informed that if you want to buy something you just have to stand on the side of the road and it will eventually travel by you. People will carry what they are selling on their head – shoes, food, clothes, buckets, etc. If you think of something that could be sold, imagine in on top of somebody’s head and I probably saw it.
For Christmas Matthew and I traveled with a couple of other missionary families to Kribi – a beach on the Atlantic Ocean. There were 2 little girls (ages 5 and 6) in my vehicle that were so excited about getting to go to the beach and swim. We kept telling them that we would have to pass palm tree farms, a bridge and then we would see the water and this would all be after about 5 hours of traveling.
When we arrived we unloaded our stuff, changed into our swim suits and jumped right into the water. It was so warm that you could just swim right into the water. Matthew and I saw some rocks out in the water and decided that we were going to swim to them. When we got to them we crawled up on top and then were swept right back off by the waves. Then we tried again holding on a little bit tighter. After our swim back to the shore we walked a little bit on the beach before heading back. I enjoyed watching the sun set over the water. Such a beautiful view! For the rest of Christmas Eve we just hung out and ate a really late dinner. It was worth it though, a buffet of lots of different foods including fish, pig, salad, potatoes, plantains, vegetables, shrimp, crab, etc. We even had a Yule log for dessert!
On Christmas day we walked to a beautiful waterfall a few miles down the beach. The name of the waterfall is “Lobe Waterfall”. It is a wide waterfall that empties out right into the Atlantic Ocean. When we got there Matthew, myself and a couple of the kids decided that we were going to try to cross the waterfall by climbing up and around. We made it a great distance before we finally reached water that was too deep and too fast for us to cross. (Matthew has a great story about this waterfall – you should ask him!) It was a lot of fun being adventurous and climbing around. On our way back down the waterfall we found a good spot to stop and swim.
On our way back down the beach we stopped and had lunch– we ate some fresh jumbo shrimp and bread fruit while sitting just feet from the water. It was so beautiful and peaceful to be sitting on the beach eating really good food!
That afternoon we spent more time swimming in the water. The water was so warm that you didn’t really want to get out of the water. It was so relaxing just to be floating and swimming around. It was hard to think about the fact that it was Christmas Day.
The next day we headed back to Yaoundé but this Christmas will be one that I will not forget!
I have been given the wonderful opportunity to come here to Israel. I stopped in Switzerland to visit friends, then I arrived yesterday in Tel Aviv, and stayed with a friend’s friend.
Everyone has arrived, so now I’m getting to spend time with my parents and 28 other people from (or connected to) my church.
They’re all getting over jet-lag, so I took some alone/internet time. As I may not often have internet to myself, you can keep up with our progress and photos here: http://sobopilgrim.blogspot.com/
Shalom and Gnighty!