This afternoon I sat on my front porch with some hot chocolate reading a good book and watching the rain and the clouds move in. It was very relaxing and at that moment I was really happy to be exactly where I was. I really enjoy the slow pace of life here and all the free time it allows me. I have had a lot of time to read, go on long walks, experiment with cooking, have long conversations with new friends, and to think about what I want to do after Peace Corps (as of now the jury is still out…). Of course there are a lot of things that are hard about living here, the unreliable availability of water and electricity, ice cold showers, washing clothes by hand, no meat or cheese (most of the time), roads made of mud – BUT now I am pretty used to all of these things and I don’t
(usually) think about things being hard anymore. I have ups and downs of course, but for the most part I am happy living here.
Well, not a lot has been going on lately. A few weeks ago we had our Southwest provincial project in Buea. For our project we set up a tent at the Mount Cameroon “Race of Hope” to talk to people about HIV/AIDS. This race is AMAZING. Participants in the race run to the top of Mount Cameroon and back down. This takes the average person 3 days to hike and the more experienced hiker 2 days. The winners of this race hike to the top of the mountain and back down in between 4 – 6 hours! It is crazy and I don’t really know how it is humanly possible. The winner gets 3 million CFA, so I guess that is pretty good motivator. That kind of money could totally change someone’s life here. I heard that a few years ago there was one woman who won the race SEVEN TIMES in a row. She said she wanted to win a race for each of her seven children. Like I said, amazing. So, anyways, this race of course brings loads of spectators that gather around the finish line so we sent up our tent there and talked to lots of people about HIV while the race was going on. We had a lot of interested people come by and ask questions. I am so glad that we are able to spread information like this, but at the same time it is kind of scary how little some people here know about HIV. There were some people that didn’t know how it was transmitted (they thought through mosquitoes) and others didn’t know that there was no cure and almost wouldn’t believe me when I told them there was not.
Other than that, I have just been busy teaching and finishing up grading for the 4th sequence. It’s pretty ridiculous how much work I have to do at the end of each sequence. I teach every single student at the high school either Biology or Computer Studies so that is close to 500 students. For each of these students I have to grade their exam and record their marks by hand in a big book of all their report cards. Then, at the end I have to do a bunch of statistics for each grade level. It takes a very long time and I definitely have much more respect for all of my teachers growing up. The good news is that we are already through with 2 semesters and there is only 1 more to go and then I will be free for summer vacation! Even though I am on the other end now and am no longer a student, I am still just as excited about summer vacation.
Speaking of summer vacation, I will be coming home in June! I am pretty sure I will be traveling around Europe a little June 6th – 13th, then I will head back to Austin and be there until around June 27th. I am so excited to see everyone again! Start making plans (mine already include fake Thanksgiving dinner, Chuy’s, and Barton Springs). After that I will come back to Cameroon to help out with the next group of trainees at Stage. That is going to be a little weird because it doesn’t seem like that long ago I was a lost little PCT in Bangangte. Oh how the time flies…
Quick shout out to the Irish! Happy (belated) St. Patty’s Day!