Mostly pictures....

Trip Start Oct 12, 2009
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Trip End May 03, 2010


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Flag of Cameroon  ,
Monday, December 14, 2009

Ola!

Just a quick few words to accompany some pictures on this occasion… I've been up to a few things over the last couple of weeks, including hippo-spotting and Christmas card designing.

A couple of weeks ago we had a very early start to head south around the ring road to the huge Bamendjin Reservoir where there were rumoured to still be hippos living in the wild. This is unusual for this region (and maybe Cameroon as a whole, I’m not sure) as most wild animals have been 'chopped’ (eaten)... although there aren’t many bush animals left, for this very reason, there are still local places where you can eat bushmeat (something which I’m unlikely to try, not just because of type of meat I might be served, but since apparently bushmeat is fermented first – I’m not sure how you ferment meat and a friend who has tried it confirms that you can probably replace the word ‘fermented’ with ‘rotten’).  After a four hour journey in a mini-bus, almost half of which was down a pot-holed dirt track, we got to the lake.  In typical Cameroonian style, the boatmen had not bought any fuel prior to our arrival so we had to hang around for an extra hour whilst they went back to the nearest town to buy it.  Next followed what we thought would be a quick boat trip to where the hippos hang out, but which turned out to be 2 hours long.  It’s a beautiful lake though with awesome surrounding scenery, so this was actually pretty good.  And we even got to see hippos, which we’d been slightly doubtful about upon seeing the size of the lake.  Our guide also pointed out that one of them had a baby in its mouth so the boatmen proceeded to head towards it so we could get a closer look!  This was not the best idea in my mind, but luckily it decided not to charge us.

December 1st marked World AIDS Day so last Saturday we got together with a couple of other organisations and local Peace Corps to arrange free HIV tests for almost 50 children (mostly orphans).  As well as needles the day also had games, food and a talk so we hope that as well as testing the children (who ranged in age from less than 1 to 18) most of them will have learned something as well.  Despite the testers being from a Baptist hospital they did include the full ABC mantra – Abstinence, Be faithful, Condom – and there was even a condom/banana presentation for the older girls!  Two of the 47 tested positive, but hopefully they’ll now be able to get access to ARVs (anti-retro virals) and stay healthy.

This week has been a little slow work-wise, I’m having trouble finding jars for my jam project so that is temporarily on hold.  With Christmas coming up though we’re going to have card-making sessions in after-school club this week, so I’m tasked with the designing and coming up with templates for the children to use…. Those who know the extent of my artistic skills may find this thought amusing!

The photos I’ve posted are an assortment from the last couple of weeks… unfortunately I can’t get the pictures off my memory card though from a little wander we took last week to a waterfall close by, so I’ll have to wait until another time to make you jealous about how I spent my Friday afternoon!  Also, anyone know how a pineapple grows?  (Apart from Lucy & Ant, sorry if you were saving this!)  I don’t think you can farm them too intensively, no wonder they cost so much at home!

Hope you are all enjoying the winter back home!  I have to say, that despite me not missing the weather at all I will very much be craving cheese/nuts/biscuits/chocolate/mulled wine/sherry/etc. etc. etc. so am also envious of everyone!

xxxx
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