Monday, January 10, 2011

Many Firsts

1/3/11 12:01 AM

This trip is a series of many firsts. My first trip to Africa, my first time leaving north America, my first transcontinental flight, first time eating many different foods (like kola nut, palm wine, bush meat, etc.) first time at a traditional dance and other cultural firsts. Today I had another first the was more of a career first. When we were leaving Bafut (which I will explain later) we stopped at the home of someone who was sick. It turns out that she is dying. They believe she has cancer but she has nor been taken to hospital. She is very near death. In Cameroon they view me as a pastor. They found out I plan to be a pastor and am studying religion so I am a sort of a junior pastor in ways. They've had me say grace (which I have done many times before so I am used to it), bless a home (I don't really know what to do so I prayed for the family, and now pray over a dying woman. I have never done that before and internally I was FREAKING OUT!!!!!!!! What if she dies soon after? What if this is the last prayer she hears? What if I mess it up? Can I do this? Am I qualified for this? So many questions were going through my head, but I was put on the spot and the woman, her friends and her grandson were waiting for me to pray over her so I prayed. I told Cindy about it when I got back to Bamenda and she was proud of me. I'm still not sure what to think.

This morning we attended church and it was very interesting. There was the baptism of three children, the presentation of new babies, and the blessing of marriages. These aren't done in our tradition so it was great to watch. Shelby, David and I were brought into the Sunday school class. It is huge! Hundreds of kids! They sang to us and applauded when we entered the room. Faith saw me and ran up to us. She sat on my lap/leaned against my legs while we were there. Shelby was jealous of my special friend. Once the service ended everyone wanted to have their picture taken with us. I felt like a tourist attraction. I have never had my picture taken so many times in my life.

Once we left the church, we went to the home of the family that had the baptized children. They feed us (of course) and Clara, Shelby's host, had me try something new. It was fermented casaba wrapped in banana leaves. It was an interesting gelatinous texture.

When our group left the party, smells said we would head to her village in Bafut. First we drove to the market and bought a bag of salt. The market was interesting and very busy. Crossing the street was dangerous. The people here are so intrigued by the color of my skin. A boy was starring at me and tripped. We went to the home of emelia's junior brother. There I was fed again and had palm wine. I tried a sip of it in Nkikoh. This kind is different. This was the knock you on your ass variety. When we first arrived, the women danced around me and embraced me. It was confusing but cool. While there I saw communism at it's most pure form. The bag of salt we brought was placed with palm oil. After the meal the salt was dumped into a bucket and the palm oil poured into a bowl. Then they are both evenly distributed throughout all of the family. They ring what they have and take what they need. It was awesome to watch. They presented me with a broom made of palms. Hopefully customs won't take it away.

Tonight we had dinner at grace's house. Shelby and I basically stalked Ryan, trying to take millions of pictures. Ryan's mom and dad are members of our church but Ryan is living here in Bamenda with his grandmother, Grace. Caroline and George asked us to take pictures of him because they miss him. After spending time there Emelia and I came back to her house. Erica and I talked more about the difference between Cameroon and USA. Specifically we talked about products like shampoo, nair, and razors. I took my shower and attempted to bathe the dust off and then finished off the night with conversation with Erica and watching music videos with her.

Tomorrow morning, at 5:30 AM, Emelia is taking me to a prayer service. Hopefully I will stay awake. Shelby is going to the local school where he host teaches, in a bit jealous. At 12:30 we switch to our second hosts. We are also once again the personal guests of Fru Ndi. We were trying to figure out who he would be equal to in USA and we think someone like Martin Luther king Jr or maybe Malcolm X.Tomorrow should be yet another series of adventures.

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