Sunday, April 5, 2009

Zap Back Into Reality

The only thing about the rain is the higher chances of power disturbances. This past Thursday, a huge storm came through while I was teaching. The class itself was kind of a funny disaster because on top of the fact we were teaching income statement/balance sheet, which no one ever understands, the rain caused loud noises that forced us to divide the class into small groups. Then, the poorly constructed building led to water everywhere. It's pouring outside, but we were not exactly dry inside. Finally, the rain subsided and Nura and I ended the class. While making our way back to my house, we saw crowds of villagers heading somewhere, and turns out the storm knocked over a power line and caught Charlie's house on fire...

We got home and were in the process of making hummus when I noticed the fridge wasn't working. This is when I realize my power regulator box had been fried. Bummer. Later when I attempted to put on some music, I realized the charger to my Macbook is also fried. Blast! I was quite annoyed by these things, but they all eventually worked out. The next day, I went back to Nura's house and she let me borrow her ghetto fabulous extra macbook charger that someone in this country had made - the Macbook magnetic charger somehow connected to an IBM battery charger. It's amazing the things people can come up with here. I also made a trip to Bafoussam to buy another regulator, this time twice as powerful,in hope that nothing else gets fried again.

Everything worked out all within 24 hour but it really had me worry for a bit there. So much of my work now depends on the computer. The thought of my computer crashing again scares me to no end. Earlier tonight my computer was acting up and I think my heart stopped for a second. This is what I will not miss about life here - the constant fear that my computer will freak out and there will be very little that I can do about it. When things work, you want them to work better. I was contemplating on upgrading the memory to my laptop to make it work faster. After this exeperience, I am now just focusing on having a computer that simply works and has power source. Perspectives, I tell ya.

Village Love

I'm wrapped in a fleece blanket with a cup of warm jasmine tea by my side. The rainy season has finally arrived, and I couldn't be happier. Since around November, I've been suffering through the horror that is the dry season. No matter how much I clean, my house is always dirty, as are my feet. The dust is everywhere. It covers everything in the house. If I dare step outside of my house, I am instantly covered by the dust, and if a car or a moto drives by - forget it, there is no part of me that will remain clean. I get lazy with the shower, because on top of the fact it's a pain in the butt to get water/boil water/bucket bath, what's the point? I will be dirty again in 3.5 seconds. Furthermore, my respiratory system is all screwy from the dust. I take decongestants as if they were candy. This problem wouldn't be so bad if this country has more paved roads. It's a vicious cycle, you see? The roads aren't paved, the dust get people sick, and then people aren't productive. This results in people never being productive because they are too sick in the dry season, and in the rainy season? well, there is the rain! Why would one uses the umbrella and brave the rain when you can just "sit it out"?

In any case, I am so so happy the rain is upon us. I love the fresh smell of the air in the morning, the cold breeze that causes me to put on a sweater and wrap in blankets. The beginning of the rain also makes this the only month that the weather corresponds with the Northern hemisphere. April shower!

I am in a jolly good mood, even though the quiche tonight didn't turn out quite as well (evaporated milk makes all the difference..!). Today, I thought about how I will really miss this place when I have to leave it behind in roughly a year's time. Despite of all the things I miss about the modern work (tonight, I particularly missed Jazz bars and a good glass of red wine in big heavy wine glasses), I will never again live in a place where strangers are so nice to me. The more I live here, the more I am amazed at just how NICE people are. I am not talking about Cameroon, I am talking about my village. Trust me, outside of my village, people are not nice.

Apparently the kid who stole from me stole again, this time with his older brother. They were caught and put in jail. I absolutely love the fact nearly a dozen people have came and told me about this news. They all come to me with this, "I just want to make sure you know the kid got what he deserved" kind of niceness. I will miss this about village living. I will miss everyone now calling me by name - the lady that sells me my everyday things, the vegetable mama, the fruit lady, the bar ladies, the tool guy. Everyone knows my name, and they all now throw in a little something extra when I buy things. When was the last time you bought your grocery and the guy at the checkout greeted you by name and threw in extra tomatoes? Also, I love love love the kids that wave and yell my name when I am either on a moto or walking down the street. Every kid that lives along the way from my house to the carrefour has now properly learned my name. No one calls me "la blanche" any longer.

I count my blessings everyday with the people I encounter: the unbelievably nice villagers, the motivated students, the adorable kids, and then there are the fellow volunteers and the seemingly endless supply of French students/volunteers whom I can have "real" conversations with and they get my craving for a glass of really good wine and a piece of really good chocolate. My daily life here may not be at all exciting, but life in general is ever so unexpected. There hasn't been a month that gone by where I hadn't thought, "well, that was an interesting and unexpected month". I don't know too many who can say that about their lives in the world of running water, washing machines and plentiful choices. (I can't wait to get my jeans washed in a washing machine!!)