20 February, 2016

Hi everyone! Quick announcement:

Two current Peace Corps Cameroon Volunteers made unreal videos to highlight what joy looks like in Cameroon. Now they're both finalists in an international competition. Watch their heartwarming videos, throw them a like on the Peace Corps page, and pass them along! They each explain Cameroon better in two minutes than most of us can do in weeks of storytelling.

Watch Kevin's video and vote for him here: https://www.facebook.com/peacecorps/photos/a.10153522960570914.1073741863.110634980913/10153522972115914/?type=3&theater
Watch Jomara's video and vote for her here: https://www.facebook.com/peacecorps/photos/a.10153522960570914.1073741863.110634980913/10153522972110914/?type=3&theater

21 December, 2015

Wrapping Up: A Photojournal of My Last Six Weeks in Cameroon

Everyone's Peace Corps experience is different, of course, but I like to say that mine happened in chunks, in stages -- distinct-feeling periods that weren't necessarily marked by anything in particular but separate from each other in my mind. The last few months were a beautiful, heavy, chaotic blur, and I wasn't writing much on here. Now that I'm home, I'm (as usual) feeling all sorts of ways, but it's been lovely to look through photos; I've begun to feel, in a not-at-all-rational way, that Cameroon was all a dream. Seeing these pictures of my last month and a half or so as a Peace Corps Volunteer puts me there, and I thought I'd share some to anyone who's still around.

Girls only club night in Bafoussam :) 

 Allely and I presented at a water and sanitation event for the University of Bamenda.

 This lady knows how to work her Women's Day pagne!

Some of my neighborhood mechanics taking a break from work. 

One ova-sweet orange, coming right up!

 Some of the younger kids at Olivia and Peter's orphanage -- one of my all-time favorite spots in Tombel.

 The orphanage sells little snacks like lollipops to make some extra money, but half the time they end up being eaten by the kids who live there!

 Garden eggs, 50 50.

 A strange type of "Plums"

 Hot pepper, plums, okra, tomatoes, all for sale in town.

 Princess Kate and Mama Shella. Two of my favorite people in the whole universe.

 Princess Kate Ebude

 For my last month or so, I made a little routine of playing tag with the kids who lived in this compound. At first I thought I'd have to pretend that they were faster than me and I was struggling and couldn't catch them...and then I found myself actually struggling and unable to catch them. Soo...that worked out well.

 BABY PRINCESS. Every bit as wonderful as this picture would lead you to believe.

 The tag team :)

I was strolling and greeting one Sunday when I ran into Dionjabe Rose, an old student, friend, and would-have-been librarian (she got into university instead!) looking stylish on her way to church.

 Emmanuela and her daughter, Daniela.

 I became close with Esther pretty late in my time in Tombel, which was a bummer, because she became an amazing friend. One night after a peer-educator meeting, when electricity was out, we went out for grilled fish and sodas.

 When I think of Tombel, this is what I see: beautiful, imposing Mount Kupe; fragrant cocoa drying; kids and bikes and dogs; chaos; community.

 The view of Catholic School field from Mama Shella's house, ft. my bicycle

 I was in the maternity ward of the hospital saying goodbye to Madame Agbor, a nurse I had worked with, when I spotted a friend whose sister had just given birth. This perfect little creature was less than a day old.

 The above baby with her mother.

 The Tombel District Hospital. It never fails to catch my breath.

 Mount Kupe

Mama Shella's mother Aunty Sophie on the way to the grinder during our first attempt at making tofu together.

 Gracia, one of Mama Shella's neighbors.

  Gracia, one of Mama Shella's neighbors.

Gracia's grandmother reading to her.

 Tofu attempt in the country kitchen. Time wasn't on our side during this first attempt, but the next day, we succeeded!

 Mama Anna and Ebulle, the family of little Joyce -- one of my first friends. They stopped by to say hi on my second-to-last day in Tombel.

 Ben's neighbors raised pigs -- not ideal for next door, but fun to visit!

Fabiella with the pigs!

 It sure doesn't get much cuter than this.

 My last morning goodbyes. This wonderful group of people came to see me off at 7 am on a Sunday! Clockwise from top left: Romeo, Noella, Mado, me, Nkwelle, Shella, Rosine, Kasey, Ebulle, and mama Anna.

 Baby Kasey, the best ten-year-old there ever was.

 Just your average, run-of-the-mill Yaoundé taxi ride.

 One last Hilton Happy Hour on the top floor of the Yaoundé Hilton.

 The Meigangsters <3

Just a casual candid. 

 Some of the very best.

 Luuudi...the best clustermate a girl could ever ask for! (Also better at making hand-hearts than I am, evidently.)

 Sarah's ngonging out ceremony -- an official Returned Peace Corps Volunteer!

 Sarah with Lindsey, our amazing Director of Programming and Training!

 Some of my amazing stagemates!

 The Health Volunteers who COS'd with us!

 With Victorine, who works at the Peace Corps Yaoundé office, and Casey

 Beach weekend with the best people you could possibly imagine (not pictured: Hannah and Walters)

 Casey being a babe

 My non-stop laughing, emotional wreck-tolerating, drama-thriving, ever-talented, endlessly-creative, upbeat and encouraging and realistic and beautiful best friends, Mado and Noella. Not just the best tailors in Tombel -- the best women.

 My last night in beautiful Cameroon.

Henry, Walters, and Hannah en route to the airport! (We ran out of gas and the driver had to run to a nearby station...never a dull moment?)