1/4/11 6:50 PM
American schools don't know how good they have it. Today Ma took me to the government bilingual high school, which is one of her many jobs. When I told her there were thirty students in classes in America's public schools she laughed. The class I visited had 135 students in it. 135 in one class room! That grade has six classes of over one hundred students each! The vice principal of the school had me introduce myself. Essentially I told them my name, where I am from, that it is my first time in Africa and that I love Cameroon. They laughed after that. We stopped at the library to greet someone. It is disgusting how few books they have. When I get home I want to look into some way to ship books over here. I'm too poor to do it myself but I wonder if there is some resource. I'm also going to contact the Presbyterian Church Young Adult Volunteers. There are many things here that would be great for the program. When we left the school there were children on the side of the road cutting grass. Apparently that is a punishment here, instead of detention you do manual labor if you act up. They also hit students here. A flick to the neck or a cuff to the back of the head.
After school we went to the central market. There are people selling everything there! It's aisle upon aisle of stall upon stall. We stopped at ones that sold medicine and hygiene supplies to get stuff for the store. She bought a thing of ten packs of sanitary napkins and had me carry them around (because I am part of the business now). It's odd, in America I would be so embarrassed being seen carrying around this passive thing of feminine hygiene supplies, but not in Cameroon. We brought the purchases back to the shop and stayed there for a little while. Shelby's host is also a teacher but she had a staff meeting so she dropped Shelbs off at the shop. Because it was the first time I'd seen Shelbs since we got new hosts I told her all about Ma and she told be all about Evelyn. Ma supplied us with coffee flavored candies and groundnuts (peanuts).
We both love our second hosts. Evelyn goes to sleep early, does force food or alcohol, and Shelby has her own bathroom with a shower there. We are a lot more comfortable bow than when we went with our first hosts. Both of our hosts are teachers and speak very clear English which makes things easier.
At noon we walked over to the church manse. Ma's shop is just across the street so it was not a scary walk. There David was waiting and we found out about his second host. Emmanuel is more hands-on than his first host, Thomas, which took some getting used to. David is staying in a hotel that hist host owns and his breakfast was delivered by room service. We got in the van, provided by the hotel Emmanuel owns and went to Fru Ndi's compound to pick up Cindy. Once we were all together we headed to Bafut.
In Bafut we went to the palace. You have to pay to take pictures in the palace so Cindy took all the pictures. There is a museum in the palace so we went through that. As we were leaving, people living in the palace set up handicrafts to sell. I got a necklace, David got a cup (which will be our new communion chalice) and Cindy and Shelby both bought masks.
When we got back to Bamenda the girls stayed at the manse for a little while. We had drinks and watched pastor Julius register people. People here have to register as members of the church at the beginning of every year. Then the elder who is head of the Christian youth fellowship (their youth group) came in to talk to Shelby and I about youth work and youth activities. He was surprised by what we said about our lack if youth involvement in our church and in our area. When he left Cindy, Shelby an I went and checked out the Sunday school room where the children's choir was practicing. When Evelyn came to pick up Shelby I walked over to the shop.
I love that the little kids are so excited by the color of my skin (or lack of color). One child started shouting "white man" and Ma apologized profusely. It doesn't bother me. I'm sure if a little white kid saw a black person for the first time they'd do the same thing. The fact that people love my hair is interesting. I told Ma that I don't get it. I wish my hair could do things their hair does so she said she will try to get some one to braid my hair before I leave. I hope there is enough time.