Wednesday, 1 December 2010
The big Cameroonian adventure is over. But what a blessing it was. I learned so much - about Africa, about Cameroon, about great people and great challenges. Mostly, I learned about myself - some good things and some not so good. I like to think I am a better person today than I was eight months ago.
As you know, I had a medical scare. Julie was visiting in Cameroon and by chance (by guardian angel) I mention a little problem I had been having. Dr. Julie soon had me going for tests, which turned out just ambiguous enough for SVO UK (they were terrific!) to call me back for more tests in London. We caught it early. There are pre-cancer cells, but in the earliest stages. It now requires monitoring and if and when these cells develop, treatment will be quick and simple. Thanks, Guardian Angel.
We spent a month taking refuge with our friends, Ann and Joe Wells in London. We met Ann and Joe quite by chance (by guardian angel) about a year ago. We became friends and when we needed them, their door was wide open. We stayed with them a whole month - giving new meaning to the phrase 'overstaying your welcome'. Yet this wonderful couple was always gracious and welcoming. Thanks, Guardian Angel.
Dave and I have been in Winnipeg almost a week now. We are spending time with our son Eric and his partner Claude before we go see Julie and Paul in Toronto, and spend Christmas with Robert and Linnea in Montreal. One of my biggest regrets about going to Cameroon is that I would not be with my family for Christmas. It will be a great time to re-connect with family and friends. Guardian Angel saw to that too!
January will be time to begin a new adventure - what that is we are not sure yet, but I know my guardian angel won't fail me. We miss Cameroon and all the wonderful people we met there. We won't forget them soon and maybe some day, we will have the chance to go back to visit (Can you do anything about that, Guardian Angel?)
So this is the last blog about the Cameroonian adventure. Thank you all for sharing it with us. Please, stay in touch.
Friday, 22 October 2010
Thursday, 14 October 2010
We returned to Bamenda with Julie on Wednesday night, just in time for our usual Wednesday night fish at Bob's where Julie was able to meet some of our friends who all knew how anxiously we had awaited this visit. The next morning, Julie was off and running to check out her volunteer placement, the Cameroon Baptist Conference Health Board, so that the following day, she was already off to Mbingo Hospital with our colleague. She has been volunteering there ever since.
We have had a great time with Julie, interspersed with dinners out with other VSO volunteers and colleagues, visits to our workplaces etc. We have kept busy.
After that we went off to Cat's, to meet up with more friends for food and good times. The evening found us at a local pub for beer (of course) and chicken and joined other expats for discussions and story telling. The real adventure started when it was time to get home. Being the rainy season, it poured and being after 7:30, there were no cabs available. In this rain, there was no question of walking home, so we hailed two motorcycles. So here we are, Julie and Cat on a bike with no headlights and Dave and I on another going up this hill, getting to the muddy ruddy part and getting soaked. My sweater is still wet! Having no choice, we broke every VSO rule riding after dark on a bike with no helmets. And this was my first time ever on a motorcycle!
Thursday, 30 September 2010
Wednesday, 15 September 2010
Slowly people start arriving. The civil ceremony, which was held prior at city council was delayed. We spot a few people from Dave's work - it is their colleague who is being married today. At about 12:45, it begins with th slowest bridal entrance ever. First 6 ushers take their posts along the aisle to form
a guard of honour for the bride. The bridal party starts with 4 little boys all dressed in dark suits and 4 little girls, all in white. They are followed by 4 bridesmaids and 4 groomsmen. After them come the tiniest ring
come the tiniest ring bearer and flower girl, he is a light gold suit to match the groom's (who is waiting at the front), she in a dress of the same style and ivory colour as the bride's. The bride and her parents close the procession, pacing slowly. She is wearing a great smile.
The service was very near the Catholic ones I am used to. There were a few differences. The bride was ushered to sit with her parents. Once the service began, the pastor asked “Who gives this woman today?” At that cue, her father rises to say he did and walks to bride to sit beside her husband to be, with matron of honour and best man behind them. The pastor asks if anyone knows of any reason the wedding should not happen; the groom and bride make a similar declaration. The bride and groom themselves walked up to the dais and read the readings themselves. The service continues with a 45 minute homily and lots of singing of hymns and chanting to the beat of African drums. Vows are exchanged with great applause. Three hours later, we say the final Amen and the new couple marches out slowly.
And we were not disappointed. The food was plenty and tasty. A mixed salad, two rice dishes, baked beans, spaghetti, fish, chicken, watermelon….
It was not long after dinner that the Chair of NOWEFOR decided to leave – so we followed. I know there was to be a dancing evening after but we figured we came early, we’ll leave early. We still gained a few more insights into African tradition.
Wednesday, 1 September 2010
Thursday, 19 August 2010
Missions such as this, run by religious groups are the best place to stay when travelling around
|Kareen, Heather, Amelita, Rob|
|The road down from Shamsul's|
In Bamenda, Dave gets a text from Simon, inviting us to beautiful Belo to celebrate his birthday. So, Sunday, off we go for another ride in the mountains, about an hour away to enjoy some relaxation time with other volunteers before heading back again.