Tuesday, September 29, 2009

You just never know!

Current Mood: Uggghhaaahhh I am SO sick of begging for money.

My goal to fund Phase I of Books For Cameroon by the end of September is unlikely to happen, unless either an amazing, generous philanthropist decides to donate $3.5k in the next 24 hours, OR, if by some bizarre miracle, 700 people decide to donate their next $5 latte/beer in the next 24 hours.

I am somewhat disappointed; however, I suppose raising $5,000 within a month still wasn't too bad of an effort, considering it took 3 months to raise the first $3,000. At least, I have been learning a great deal and showing progress. That's the important thing, right? Or so I tell myself. Ça va aller.

Okay, now I got that out of my system, let's talk village life.

A journalist once asked me to describe my "typical day" as a Peace Corps volunteer. That, I have decided, is simply impossible to define. The constant surprises are both the beauty of life as a volunteer, yet also the source of many frustrations. Last Friday, I went into Bafoussam for banking and other various errands. The car ride from my village to Baf. is only 30 minutes. Yet, we stopped in Baham - a town near my village - to pick up more clients and we waited there for an hour. Unexpected frustration. I was once again reminded that time is not money here and the term "opportunity cost" means nothing for the most part.

Yet when there is bad, there is good. Yesterday, I had a pretty productive Sunday of studying for the GRE and getting work done. Late afternoon, I made my way into town. The weather was gorgeous, so I enjoyed the walk and took in the tranquility that Batié has to offer. While in town, I had a Schweppes Ginger while waiting for my grilled fish. Meanwhile, had some funny conversation with villagers. One guy was trying to give me a hard time about the fact I can't speak Batié even after a year. And everyone else in the bar defended for me saying I had to learn French, and what in the world would I do with Batié after I leave? Funny villagers.

I got home and just as I situated myself for a movie while eating my fish, Billy and Loïc came by. Apparently there was a big dance event at the rich neighbor's house that I had to go see. So I took my camera and off I went with the kids. There I saw the group of villagers dressed in traditional Bamiléké fabric and getting ready for a big dance. Turns out Le Grand had invited white people to come observe this village tradition, and that's why there were all the fuss.


Just about everyone from the quartier were there, and ALL the kids were around. They love getting their pictures taken and I created a bit of a chaos when I asked Billy & Loïc to take pictures of me and the little ones. There were ALL over me. You would've thought I was running a daycare in Africa or something. So funny.


I hung out with the kids for the most part; they are so much fun. The dances were going on with the traditional musick; not much different from the others I've seen, but extra special since it was in my village and people dancing were my friends. Later, I saw the "white people". They apparently were a group of priests from all over the world were in Yaoundé for a week, and they are friends with Le Grand's wife. I met them briefly. It was really weird, even for me, to see all these white people in Batié!

So that was an interesting turn of events to my quiet night with a movie. Today, while I was getting some work done, neighbor came to knock on the door and invited me over for lunch. You don't turn down food when offered here, so off I went! The group of missionaries was also there. Also, my amazing, non-corrupt mayor was also present. It was a mini-UN right there in the living room with English, French, German, Spanish being spoken, and people from France, Spain, Fiji, South Korea, and other exotic places. I chatted briefly with the missionaries about my work and they told me a bit about their stay. It was really cool to find such an international setting right in my village, and I got a real kick out of my mayor speaking German. And just like that, an unexpected Monday afternoon!

Since I've been utilizing the RPCV network to seek funding for my project, I've had the chance to read many profiles of RPCVs. The common theme that I've extracted is that Peace Corps is the best two years of their lives and they have very fond memories for years after. I don't doubt that to hold true for me as well, but I wonder if the experience must stop after these two years, or will I be able to continue create memories that will be just as good as these two years, if not better?

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