Monday, January 21, 2013

Back in the USA

Oh hi!
Here I am trying to become an American again! I flew in Thursday. On the plane descending into DC I had various tunes running through my head - "I'm Afraid of Americans" (Mr. Bowie had it right: afraid of the world/afraid I can't help it/afraid I can), "Big Yellow Taxi" = pave paradise, put up a parking lot. Walking through the door I was hit rather unexpectedly although I suppose unsurprisingly with the smell of fast-food hamburgers. And I had the greatest pesto panini in the Brussels airport after my nap there.

I have now finished the first day of class back in Maine (yep, that fast. Yikes). I was getting irritated by the overwhelming presence of privileged white boys who expect the world at their fingertips: the internet is magically speedy, everyone has a smartphone... It is very easy to be here. We don't have to go anywhere, the community is given, the food is delicious and provided with the swipe of a card. The hour and a half of class seemed ridiculously short after the normal 4 hours at the Catho in Yaoundé. However, I am missing the vivacity of the city (even all the klaxonnes (honking)) and my family and friends (who I am communicating with via Facebook). And the weather. Maine is cold as hell. 

I also missed quite a bit in the US going away. There are a bunch of movies that I haven't even heard of let alone seen, new music and other pop culture bits. Many of my friends are watching the West Wing as it is now on Netflix instant (!). And I have lots of Doctor Who to catch up on, and also Season 3 of Downton Abbey. 

In sum, white people are weird and awkward, English is funny, cheese is fantastic, and hot showers remain one of the greatest inventions of mankind. I hope you enjoyed being in my head for four months! If you would like more details of my voyage do not hesitate to email me. I will probably not post again unless I have other important epiphanies about being back and changed (which is rather possible). Thank you for following!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Just Another Day in the Dark with a Dying Cockroach

The electricity was out again when I got home yesterday. I worked on my computer until it died, studied a little by the light of a candle, and went to bed early like everyone else. And I really have started to ignore cockroaches: they fall off the ceiling onto their backs in my room, and lay there twitching because they can't turn over. Most of the time I just leave them where they are until they die, then clean up, although sometimes I brush them away with a broom.

Not much news for you. I've been studying and going out and trying to spend time with family. Leaving in a week! I'm not sure, now that the time is coming so soon, that I will be able to. It is just now that I feel great about being here, I adore my family and I've made some fantastic friends. If it weren't for those I'm dying to see in the U.S., and pesto-muenster paninis at school, I might stay here for another semester. However, as it is I am definitively finishing up my final days here (sad). 

Happy January 9th! (for no reason at all).

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Village Time

I really have stopped telling you about my normal, day-to-day activities. I suppose because they've become just that - normal. Like the heads painted on walls throughout Yaoundé, advertising a "salon de coiffure" (beauty parlor) - hair is different here and most women get it coiffed every couple weeks. Or the endless markets, vendors shouting out "Cinq cent Madame, cinq cent Madame!", selling everything from shoes to whole pigs to pineapples to blue jeans. The taxis that I felt so triumphant voyaging in the first time have become unquestionably habitual, and I often find myself arguing with the driver or chatting with other passengers. I get asked for my phone number almost every day. I never have enough monnaie, change. I find cockroaches in my room and leave them there to chill. I watch Disney channel or various dramatic series with my host sisters. I don't take showers super often, and I haven't shaved my legs in months. I go to bed early and eat white bread for breakfast. I sing along to the music pounding in bars as I pass. Normal life.

In any case, I have been voyaging quite a bit recently, which gives me quite another perspective on the country as a whole, and is what I tell you about more often because it's more interesting to me. Village, then, Bantoum. I have to say it wasn't exactly a real village as one says, being right on the side of the road and having electricity, but there was all the same a spirit of community and a slow life that was more or less exactly as I imagined. The house was home to four mamans of varying ages, one boy and one girl in high school, and two little girls. We spent lots of time sitting around outside, prepping food and chatting - although they spoke mostly in Mjimbo, the local language, and didn't know much French, which meant that we conversed only occasionally in a broken French.

Life in the village is molded around food. Each time someone stopped by, they were given a full plate to eat. Time was spent cutting up plantains, building up the fire, sorting sweet potatoes, or chasing the chickens away from the papayas. There was rather a conflict between the cat (and her two adorable kittens) and the chickens, one of which attacked the kittens multiple times. Everything was cooked by fire, which meant lots of time, wood, and smoke. The first night I was there, I was shown the "garden" around the house: papaya trees, coffee trees, corn, prunes, yams... everything to eat grows right there next to the house. Maman Marie also owned multiple "champs" - acres of land for agriculture not too far from the house.

I went to work in the champs a couple times. I was feeling rather like a country bumpkin or villageois with my farming pants (unfortunately not Carharts), tramping through the fields munching on a raw sweet potato I'd just pulled from the earth and skinned with a machete. The first day, I participated in the War on Beans, or rather on the thorny plants that grew next to the dried beans we were harvesting. I then did my best to carry said beans like a real African, although the bundle in the picture is rather larger than the one I ended up carrying. One of the little girls was much stronger than I was and could carry quite a load, making me feel rather inadequate, but that is to be expected, she's used to it. And it was nice to have the mamans pleased by all my efforts, little as they may be.

The other day at the champs was spent gathering legumes - leaves - for ndole.

Others spent time digging up infinite sweet potatoes (patates). The products of these endeavors are, of course, eaten, and the rest is sold at the market on Thursdays, which was not terribly different from markets in Yaoundé.

We spent Christmas at the community church. It was Protestant, which was a change from the many Catholic churches I've spent time in elsewhere. It meant there was no bloody Jesus on the altar. We also all wore scarves over our hair, not necessarily a Protestant rule but part of that particular church. When I went the first time, the pastor recognized me as a stranger to the community, and had me introduce myself to the congregation. It made me feel more a part of the community, welcome. On Christmas day, everyone brought large pots of food and we all ate together in the church. Our pot was the biggest, and the mamans had spent two full days cooking it over the fire, a mix of meat and plantains and oil. It was pretty delicious, if a little fatty for my taste (like many things here, I find myself eating basically raw oil often. The second time I ate the dish at the house, the sauce was all oil and my piece of meat was not actually meat but a piece of fat. Oh well, I ate it all the same).
Preparing for the Christmas meal

I was feeling emotional all day, because it was Christmas, and at Christmas you should be with the people you love best. I had a good time, but it was not nearly the same as being home with my family and friends and food and snow. I found myself with a lump in my throat multiple times that day, and tried not too think about what I was missing too much to avoid an overflow of tears. But I know I'll be back in the U.S. soon.

Like I said, we ate a lot in the village, although much of the same thing - they always made a huge pot of something, to be able to serve any and all who pass, but it also meant that we ate the same meal of peanut fish cabbage 3 times in a row the first couple days, and the Christmas meal more after Christmas day as well. We ate lots of sweet potatoes and yams (which are not like yams in the U.S., they are more bitter than sweet, but decent enough). One night we hadn't eaten dinner, and finally I said I was hungry and we ended up eating just yams for dinner (I found refuge in my last granola bar that evening, worried about shocking my body too much). I also ate a rat! Two men killed it in the champs and placed it right next to me, which was rather unpleasant. When we brought it to the house, the little girls had no qualms about poking it with their fingers and picking off the bugs. Soon it was roasting over the fire and then gutted. Later, I ate it braised for breakfast, and it was delicious.

Nom nom nom

The village seemed to me to be similar to how it must have been throughout the ages. Fires, sitting around, farming... There are, however, a few modern inventions that make rural African life much easier. Pots are infinitely superior to a hollowed-out rock, or whatever else they used to use. Matches make fires much, much easier. Running water, even from a tap that is far away, is so much more convenient and safe than walking to fill up an urn in a river, as I imagine in the past. Also, oddly enough, the old ladies all seem to wear spandex under their cabas, the loose African dresses that one wears throughout the house.

I left with two enormous sacks and a basket filled with food: sweet potatoes and legumes and yams and papayas. All in all it was quite the experience, a tranquille week surrounded by dirt and agriculture and sitting cooking. I'm thrilled to have had the opportunity, but I was happy when I finally returned to Yaoundé, and my family there (I have too many homes). My sisters were happy to see me again, and we celebrated the New Year together.

Congès is now over, and back to work wildly before I leave, in exactly two weeks. The last month has past far too quickly. Happy New Year!

P.S. I forgot to tell you that in Dschang a while ago, I was dying to take a picture when I saw a chicken crossing the road. Picture didn't happen, unfortunately, and nor was I able to discover the profound motives behind the behavior of that particular hen. It shall remain one of the deep mysteries of the world.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Changes in Perspective

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, or ambiguous multiple days of happiness, as the case may be. I have returned from the village, but have many more things to say first so I'll leave that for my next post.

I am beginning with the trip I took with my papa for the weekend before going to the village. Our first event was an event officializing money received from a French-based agency to construct a university campus. The French ambassador was there, and it was all very official, with lots of titles and photographs. Cameroonians seem to be obsessed with these things, always "Thank you Monsieur the Ministre of This, Monsieur the Ministre of That..." I've noticed this phenomenon at other conferences too, I don't know if I've mentioned it to you before. Seems like rather a waste of time to me, and detracts from points which could otherwise be interesting in someone's speech. I also had a random attendee ask to take my photograph. It reminded me of a time when Chelsey, the other white girl on the program, was approached by a mother in her neighborhood (who she knows a bit, but not well) who wanted a photo of her baby and Chelsey. I'm sure it was pretty much because she is white. I don't find it weird these days when someone calls me "la blanche," but I think it's strange when there are gorgeous women with smooth ebony skin who say "I want skin like yours," and there are products advertised everywhere to "clarify" the skin. On the contrary, in the U.S. many people go to tanning booths or use cremes to become darker. What are we looking for? Someday in the Future, I suppose, we will all be a métissage, mixed race with medium skin tones. Are we looking to hurry that process for some sort of misguided ideal? Here, anyway, being white is associated with power, money, prestige. The West is the white world, the Christian world, and those adjectives generally apply to everyone that lives in the U.S. or Europe. Also, most people in elevated positions, or with a higher level of education, spent time studying in France or occasionally Germany before returning to Cameroon. Vestiges of colonialism are everywhere.

In other news (bit of a tangent there), after the conference, Papa and I went to the funeraille (funeral, like I mentioned before, but not too sad) that was planned. The evening portion consisted of eating, drinking, and chatting, with more dancing traditions the next day, which we missed to go to a different funeraille in a village elsewhere. Then we headed back to the house we were staying. I found myself giving a shrug when I realized I was sharing a bunk bed with 5 children, and rather more of a sigh of resignation when the sheets were filled with sand. I don't know if I would have had the same reaction at the beginning of my semester.

We went to Bamenda in the morning, to visit a woman my papa knew. She was taking care of her son, who had been a good student before apparently working too hard and mentally cracking. They tried to heal him with prayer first, which didn't work, and now he is in a colony of sorts to be healed by traditional magic. He was listless, didn't speak much, and wore handcuffs on his hands and feet to prevent him from running away into nature again. I had no idea what to say, and we only spent a few minutes before continuing on our way.

We also visited a waterfall, which used to be a place where colonizers would drop bodies they wanted to get rid of, and is now a place of sacrifice, so there were little shrines and pieces of food everywhere.

On a final note, I will tell you that I have fallen in love with the trees here. I admit I have always loved trees, the soft, infinitely green forests of New Zealand and the majestic pines of Montana. Here they are familiar and foreign at the same time, a world apart and somehow entirely together. They have such variety and timelessness. We pass in the car (only minor car problems this time) and I want to stare at each one for at least three minutes like a piece of art. I've talked about my pain at seeing the trucks carrying enormous trunks; I get a similar achy, upset feeling seeing them as when I think of all the people I love and miss back home. Love, indeed.

This is not a great photo, there are many worse that I've seen...


Thursday, December 20, 2012


Hello everyone,
It's been a little while again. No travel means few adventures to tell you about. Also I had lots of exams, and therefore little time. I am now officially on break, and will return to school in January to finish up a couple classes before returning stateside (!).

I did go to a marriage in Douala last weekend. Douala is very hot and sweaty. The marriage was lovely - Friday night was the traditional ceremony, and then Saturday the civil ceremony and reception like in the US. They are apparently going to do the marriage in the church later. My host father played the role of head of the family for the groom. There were lots of jokes and teasing (I'm looking for the woman that can make traditional macabos (which are kind of like potatoes) for me!). It is tradition to bring out multiple girls hidden under a sheet to see if the real one can be recognized, and give money to the family before the real girl is brought out. My host dad said things like "This is the girl that  makes cous-cous, not macabos!" to the amusement of the gallery. Also, I had to have my host mother translate for me because most of the ceremony was in one of the traditional languages. It was a relief to hear French, which I can understand (this also exemplifies the progression of my French!). Anyway finally the right girl was brought out, and they had to give more money to bring her to the groom. Words were said, and after a long final discussion about money, the heads of families drank palm wine and ate vita kola, a traditional bitter nut-type food. Then we could all eat.

This is finally the bride, but we had to put money down for the "plane ticket" to get her to the groom

Palm wine

The next day was essentially how weddings happen in the U.S. The bride and groom both looked lovely (although she is very young, 20 years old!) and it was all emotional and happy. My parents and I left a little early to visit a number of friends and relatives in the city before returning to Yaoundé the next day.

I'm going to another funeraille in the West with my family this weekend, and then I'm planning to stay in the West and stay with a different family in a village there for the week to experience a different life than that of the city. I've been wanting to do that for a while, and unfortunately the timing has never been good. Going now means that I will miss Christmas with my host family here, which I'm really bummed about, but I'll return for the New Year's celebration, which is apparently more important. It also means that I won't be using the internet for a while, so I'm going to wish you all Merry Christmas now! It's my first Christmas not with my real family and friends back home, which is weird and sad. I miss you all!

I made a cake for my brother's birthday the other day, which was awesome. I miss baking a lot, so was quite delighted to have the chance (although never the same when I don't have my real mother with me). I did it at a friend's house because she has an oven, so I'm not sure if it'll happen again.

That's all for now. I have much more to tell you about culture here generally, but I imagine there won't be many more posts. After I return from the village there is the grand fête, and then classes start again, and I'll have to be working madly before leaving because I leave before the semester technically ends. Then, I leave. Yikes.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Adventures in the West

This is me trying to get you up to date so that my posts are not always way behind my life.
Last weekend, I went to a village in the west. It was rather all of a sudden, my friend had been invited by another friend and asked me if I wanted to come along, and of course I appreciate every chance to get out the city and see more of the country. Our program director was not super happy because she didn't have time to check up carefully on everything. But, off we went.

Again I very much enjoyed the roadtrip. We ended up leaving later than planned, which meant we got to Bafoussam pretty late, which is the big city near the village, Dschang. Map (again):
Bafoussam is apparently where the richest Cameroonians live, and the houses certainly showed that. West is the region of the Bamiléké people (the friends we were travelling with are Bamiléké), who have been described to me somewhat as the Jews of Cameroon. They have historically controlled much of the money transfers, many have lots of money, and are often more intelligent than average. They also have a particular shape, with a full behind. 

Anyway we continued past Bafoussam in the dark, got to a hotel to drop off our things, and then continued again to the village hidden on a dirt track. I was afraid we were going to get the car stuck in a hole, because that happens quite easily and frequently here. Reminded me of searching for weather balloons on farmland in eastern Montana. We arrived at the house without problem (we were going with a Cameroonian lawyer who works in France, but had to return to his village for a family meeting, and insisted that we see a village in the west). There were no lights at the house, and it was rather chilly (for once). However, there were a number of family members that arrived, and soon we were all given beers (I don't know if I've mentioned already that everyone drink an enormous quantity of beer here. Too bad I'm not a huge fan) and had a fire going. We sat around the fire drinking and talking for a while, while the Family Members discussed their Affairs, and finally left to go back to the hotel.

The house in Dschang
Morning came early without much sleep. I was pleased to be able to see the route this time in daylight. We arrived again at the house. For breakfast, we ate tarot, which is kind of like potatoes, with sauce jaune (yellow sauce) and poisson fumé. The tarot was mashed and you scoop it up with your fingers, and have to absolutely clean the plate before giving it back.

Chelsey and Larissa and I ended up sitting outside discussing the world for a while. How we love being in nature, eating plants that we can see growing. We talked about the problems with exportation, and were getting quite riled up. It does make me so angry seeing the potential of the country getting shipped off! Watching giant trucks pass on the road with enormous, beautiful tree trunks makes me want to turn radical and chain myself to a tree (I’ve seen trucks carrying trees so thick there’s only one trunk on the enormous bed). Or stop the driver and started screaming at him. You see this enterprise of exportation in other forms, too. I was really excited about exploring chocolate here, because it grows here, but there is almost no chocolate in the country because the raw beans get shipped of to factories in Europe, who produce the actual product. The “chocolate” spread of Chococam, the Cameroonian company, is mostly sugar and peanuts. Domage.

Cacao plant
We left a little after midday, with hugs and kisses for all. It took a while to say goodbye and we had to wait to get the car fixed a bit, so we took off rather later than anticipated.

The road on the way back was, as one can imagine, much the same, although we got to see a different area by daylight. We stopped en route to buy prunes (which are not, in fact, plums, which is the French translation, but a funny fruit that you have to cook with a soft (no juice), slightly sour interior) and plantains and have a beer (including, by the way, the driver – there are no drunk driving laws and everyone is very used to beer). However, it was getting late, and when we continued once again on our journey the sun was sinking quickly.

Entrance to a chiefdom, with the characteristic roof

The roads in Cameroon are very badly maintained. The route I usually take in Yaoundé from my house to school is filled with potholes, some so big that taxis often get stuck in the holes (which makes traffic that much worse, although there is surprisingly little road rage, probably due to the more relaxed African attitude). Also, everyone drives like a crazy person, superfast and passing without really watching. Anyway, as it was getting dark we hit a huge hole in the road, and shockingly enough got a flat tire. Pulled over, pulled out the flashlights, and changed it. However, by that time it was definitely dark, and within 10 minutes we hit another hole, and received another flat tire (the same one, in fact). We didn’t have another extra, so we flagged down a car and sent our driver away to find another one while we waited by the side of the road. It was not a very safe place to wait, as cars were passing ridiculously quickly. But, wait we did.

Perhaps an hour later, a truck stopped and two men hopped out to tell us that the road wasn’t safe to be on. They talked a little too much, but eventually we sent one of them off to get a cord to pull the car to a better location. Upon his return, we realized that our driver had taken the keys, and also left his cell phone (which was low on battery) in the car. The car was old enough that we were able to attach it to the truck and move without being blocked by security measures, but our driver then had no way to find us. However, off we went, the three girls in the truck and the lawyer manning the car. The two men regaled us with stories of people stranded, attacked, and violated on the same road. Thanks, man, really helping my confidence. I started imagining at what point to jump out, but then we stopped at a small center where there were people and a restaurant, and managed to pull the car over. So, no problems. Whew.

Thus began the long waiting game, with no way to get in touch with the driver. We sent a few motorcycles back to look for him (thinking that he would probably have returned with a new tire after all this time) but no luck. Ended up sleeping (or trying) in the car for a bit, which again did not feel safe. Finally (around 2am I think), a bus passed, and the lawyer decided enough was enough. We left the car, brought all our stuff, and hopped on the bus to Yaoundé, which was about an hour and a half away. I was sitting up front (it was rather more like a giant van than a real bus), and don’t think I’ve ever had a more nerve-wracking voyage. Every hole in the road made me afraid we’d pop a tire, and we were driving along so fast, I could imagine us tipping over… didn’t help that I’d taken out my contacts and couldn’t see the road that well.

Eventually, we arrived in Yaoundé, without problems (I became angry again at the passing trucks carrying trees). We all slept at the lawyer’s house (I even managed to send off a quick email to my dad in the U.S. wishing him happy birthday – hope you had a nice, calm day!).

Can’t say it was the most rejuvenating of weekends, but all in all I have no regrets about the trip. I really loved seeing the village, and though we had quite an adventure, no harm done, and I’ve learned my lesson (no more travelling at night. Ever.). I was going to go west again this weekend with my family, but unfortunately the trip was cancelled. Perhaps it’s for the best, as I have a few exams next week (official finals don’t happen until January, but these classes are finished so we decided collectively to take the finals earlier). Good luck on your own finals, Bowdoin friends!

Sunset on the road

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Voyage to Paradise

What adventures I am having! I had quite an exciting weekend again. However, I must start by telling you about Limbé. Wouldn’t want you to be confused about the order of events.

We get one excursion per semester with the program, and ours happened to fall on Thanksgiving. So that Thursday, we travelled to the coast, to explore Anglophone Cameroun, and spend some time at the beach. To get you oriented, here is a map of Cameroon:

Courtesy of
Yaoundé you see in the center, a bit south-west. Limbé is on the coast, west past Douala (Douala is the economic capital, with one of the biggest ports in Central Africa. It was such an important port that the colonizers fought over control of Cameroon just for Douala). Anglophone Cameroon is the lump sticking out on the left. The two beach vacation spots in Cameroon are Limbé and Kribé; I have yet to make the comparison, but Limbé was pretty much perfect. Also, there was hot running water in the hotel! And what’s more, drinkable water! Beach + hot water = paradise (our drôle French friend who joined us for the trip said also that air conditioning was the best invention of man, after woman and hot water).


The road trip itself was quite interesting, I always love getting out of the city to see more of what I think of as real African life (although what real life anywhere is I have yet to find out). I talked about agriculture a few posts ago, and this trip expanded my perspective quite a bit. Particularly in the west, there are many, many plantations, largely leftover from German control and taken over by (in the Anglophone part anyway) the British. The soil is super fertile due to Mount Cameroon, which is a volcano (which also meant that the sand on the beach was black). We saw many banana plantations, palm plantations, and took a mini tour of a rubber plantation: caoutchouc, which is a lot like maple syrup tapping:

Banana plantation
Rubber tree! The white "blood" is then taken to be processed and made into rubber.
The problem is that most of these crops don’t benefit the people of Cameroon. Despite the fertile soil, there remain starving people in the region, because most of the agriculture is for export. The money for these crops likely goes to a select few who are in the business or in government, not the actual workers, who live in houses like this:

We also saw a market near the Nigerian border, of a certain kind of leaf that mostly only grows here… but gets exported to Nigeria. We weren’t supposed to take pictures (more because of delicate army operations in the area surrounding the Bakassi region, which is in dispute between Cameroon and Nigeria largely due to its oil resources)...

Then finally, the beach! No words can describe how much I love la plage: waves, sand, coconuts… Magnifique! We ate poisson braisé that night for dinner right on the beach.  

Nom. Eat with fingers, and spit out the bones.

The next day, we visited Bimbia, which is the site of the first missions in Cameroon. This was Protestant, built by Joseph Merrick in 1844. Missions really began colonization, preparing the people for Western takeover (okay, I’m a little cynical, but  I think within reason).

The Group. Cameroonians are obsessed with taking photos.

The same area was a slave trade post. We learn a lot about the history of slavery in the U.S., but to see the other end was something not a lot of people get to experience. According to our professor, slaves from Cameroon weren’t well liked because they were stubborn and aggressive. This personality type was manifested again in the struggle for independence, as Cameroon was the only sub-Saharan state in Africa to have a war for independence.

Nature has taken over where they used to hold auctions, with people chained to a post. Unbelievable. 
Saturday we hiked up Mont Cameroun (it hasn’t been spewing lava for a few years, don’t worry). We didn’t go all the way to the summit, because that takes a few days and you have to be fit and with gear for the cold, etc., but even so it was quite a hike! I was enormously happy to be in nature again, exploring the tropical forest, doing something physical (I have been losing lots of muscle here—particularly after my summer of not having a car and biking everywhere, hooray for the Yellow Bike Club—Cameroonians don’t like to walk very much and it’s hard to find the time to faire du sport). Afterwards we went again to the beach, lots of body surfing, and we even rode horses (although, they were rather recalcitrant and not entirely worth it). A good time was had by all.

Mont Cameroun: le Char des Dieux (this is higher up, above the forest line - the terrain changed a lot as we went up)
Finally we had to leave. On the way back we passed again the point of reunification of the two Cameroons. Anglophones in Cameroon do have some minority issues – how they don’t get profit from the fertile agriculture of the region, for example. Also we found that most the Anglophones also spoke French pretty well, while many Francophones don’t speak much English, although the country is supposed to be perfectly bilingual. We stopped in Douala to eat a fantastic Senegalese lunch at the house of an aunt of one of the students (might have been my favorite meal here). In Douala, we also visited a couple monuments, such as the statue of General Leclerc, a French general who helped control Cameroon. There are almost no monuments of Cameroonian nationalists, but many of the French, showing how the influence continues. The British were better (if there is a better) colonizers than the French, because they always knew that the colonies would be independent one day, while the French wanted to keep her empire. To this day, Cameroonians talk extensively on the continued impact of France on the country, particularly economically, giving proof to the notion of néo-colonialsme. Also, it was fascinating to see the leftovers from German rule, because we don't talk much about German colonies—well-made bridges that still exist, and of course the plantations—apparently the Germans are good at making things last.

I almost cried on the way home because we had to leave and go back to the city. Maybe I can find a way to return over Christmas break.