i need to step back a bit here and pick up on a thread i seem to have left behind. it's another running theme for me (for us, really) in cameroon. "peace and freedom" is what we called it. we being my stage-mates and i.
stage is french for training. what we were doing for the first 2-3 months in cameroon. stage-mates are the people you spend that time with. you become really close as you stumble together through muddy roads, irregular verbs, dirty latrines and awkward cross-cultural encounters. bonding. in the truest sense of the word.
we were blessed with a thoughtful, funny and relatively diverse group of a dozen trainees in babadjou. all of us were math/science teachers in training, headed for english-speaking or anglophone posts in the NW or SW provinces. there was about twice that many TEFL (teaching english as a foreign language) trainees in a larger university town on the other side of the West province, Dschang. theirs would be francophone posts, somewhere in the 8 french-speaking provinces of cameroon. see the Atlas of Cameroon.
as for peace and freedom... it started in babadjou. and basically stayed within that group. we met every week and we talked. i'll describe that in more detail through my journals. but it didn't end in babadjou. b/c we kept meeting and passing around journals (when we were'nt meeting) for others to share and write in. some of us are still engaging in peace and freedom today. almost 7 years later.
it's hard to describe what these sessions meant to us... so i won't. but it'll come up in my journals. they'll do a better job of capturing how i-we felt at the time. about training and service. about each other. and about peace and freedom. both as a process we engaged in and as goals we were seeking. "our own inner peace and freedom," as one of my stage-mates put it.