Mon 9 Mar 2009
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Wow, where has the time gone. I can’t believe yesterday makes our second month here. It is crazy! I’m saddened when I think that I only have three months left. I can remember in the beginning when I thought 5 months would be an eternity. So much has happened since the last time I wrote. Since then we have gone to Limbe, Buea and attended women’s day. Two weekends ago, while at Limbe and Buea, we stayed at a place that was called the Holiday Inn Resort. It was really nice. There was a pool and restaurant and best of all, air-conditioning!! We went to a botanical garden that had a plant that cures HIV and Aids but sadly is also poisonous to humans. Despite the plant being poisonous, its fantastic that they were able to find such a plant and that they continue to work towards a cure of such a devastating disease. We also saw a wild life zoo where we got to see gorillas, chimps and monkeys. In addition, we saw a snake, crocodile and a thing that looked like bambi. It was great. I found that I really love gorillas and would love to be Jane Goodall. Who knows, maybe I’ll look into being an anthropologist. Later, we got the chance to walk on a lava mound that erupted a few years ago. Finally, and probably the best part of that particular day in Limbe was the trip to Seme beach which is also a brand name of water here in Yaoundé. Seme beach is amazing. It’s similar to a resort. The beach is made up of dark brown sand and bright green grass and there are trees on the beach that would be great for a photo shoot as well as just great trees to climb. Best of all, I got to ride a horse on this beach during sunset, a dream or fantasy most people have but never get the chance to do. It would have been even better if I was with a spouse or respected other, but beggars can’t be choosers. Also, I got to play soccer on the beach with Cameroonian’s and I played the best game I have seen so far in my life. It’s called Human Baby foot and is basically a human version of foosball. I know it must be difficult to imagine such a game, but it was amazing. The Cameroonian’s were much better than me but nonetheless, I enjoyed playing soccer again.
The second day in Limbe was not so good. One of the people on the trip became severely ill so we had to limit what we could see that day. However, we did get to see the famous Mt. Cameroon race since we were in Buea on that particular day. I forget the exact length of the race but all participants run up the hill and back down. To me, it’s basically like if someone were to climb up and down Mt. Everest. The best finish in five hours while some finish in two days. We also got to see the University of Buea which is an Anglophone university. Sadly our voyage in Limbe and Buea was only for a weekend. But I would love to go back there any day. It was truly a great experience and place to visit.
All of this week women have been gearing up for the annual International Women’s Day. Despite this holiday having the word International in its title, it is only celebrated in some parts of Africa. Every year there is a new Women’s Day fabric so that women can all be in uniformed cabba’s. A cabba is a traditional African dress. All the girls in the group had one made. It was a great day. All the women in Yaoundé go to the center of town and march with signs and with organizations. This year’s theme was men and women come together against domestic violence. It was interesting seeing how men and women acted on this day. Some men were angry and asked why they didn’t have a day. To me, this is ridiculous because seeing how most of Cameroon is a patriartical society, everyday men are given a privilege so allowing women one day of freedom from their duties to celebrate some sort of equality should be praised and not questioned. It can’t go without saying though that some women are this day go a bit crazy. I mean they drink and dance a lot which you wouldn’t think is bad but I went to our local bar yesterday to get something to eat and it was turned into a night club. It was overwhelming and surprising. My Cameroonian girl friend accompanied me to the bar and she kept on saying this is crazy. I asked her why and she said because these women are acting crazy, they are drinking and dancing and they are out of the kitchen, not cooking for their husbands. I responded by saying, women deserve this day especially Cameroonian women. I was a bit irritated at this comment because women here don’t even see the inequality this society imposes. Even on a day that is supposed to be meant for women to rejoice in whatever they want to rejoice in, they are expected to cook and clean and if they do not do these things for one day, they are seen as crazy. I can’t help develop a bit of feminism here in Africa. It drives me crazy that men here are given such high privileges just due to their sex. I have been having conversations with men who supposedly say they respect women and agree that they should be given the same equality as males yet they believe it is taboo that a woman not cook or clean for them. In addition, they say they help or and clean but that they simply let the women do it because they enjoy such tasks and men would be ridiculed if they did such things. Even writing about such absurdities, irritates me. It seems Cameroonian culture attempts to give women equality in a contradiction. Those that say they give women respect or equality follow with chauvinistic comments or actions thus contradicting any actions they supposedly say they upheld. These societal and cultural differences are really helping me find who I am as a person and what I expect for myself as a women and individual.