Thursday, January 29, 2009

lounging in limbe

walked through the Wildlife Center and Botanic Gardens today. both interesting. the wildlife center even more so b/c i've never seen it. or all the primates. up close. in context...

the one larger than the cages and electric fences they were in and behind, that is. in the context of their native range, at least. and i live there/here.

we ate at the hotspot. chilled at the beach. talked about religion. marriage. books. partners. stuff. interesting past several days with leah and sandy.

Midnight's Children, by Salman Rushdie (the book leah's reading and highly recommends)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

la plage


at the plage. limbe. sun's going down. hear the tides. such a calming effect. relaxing. instantly. like the ebb+flow just speaks directly to our circadian rhythm. saying "relax... you're at home now." and i am. relaxed and at home.

sandy and leah are here. a couple other PCV couples, as well. saw Dr. Ndam [of the Limbe Botanic Garden] this afternoon. it sounds like i should be able to work in the garden. doing interpretation with the EE department. or in the garden. we'll see...

he needs my CV and a letter of application. i'll bring it from Douala next week. have to write it up before hand, of course. tomorrow morning... i'll try to run along the beach, insha'Allah.


finally wrote that EE lesson plan. and finally left Yaounde. paid 9,000 cfa for my stay at the volunteer house. in Douala now. at Arona's. with Leah and Sandy. Arona is home in Gambia. wish he was here. all is good. prayed fajr [sunrise] at the mosque across the street. we're going out now. i'll be back...'s afternoon now. back at Arona's. bouth some stuff from the Lebanese grocer in town. did some email. walked around the market. at ice-cream at LGM. Leah was saying something about either loving or hating douala. for me... even with the heat, smells, dirt, and congestion... i like this place. it's the city feel. i miss the city.

i like the energy here. the variety of people. all doing their own thing. sooo many muslims. mostly West African. wonder how a West Afican city would be like??? wonder how it would be if i lived across the street from a mosque, in a town full of arabic speaking africans and in a place this big. wonder if i'd get lost?...

anyway... i'm fighting off what feels like an ear infection. don't know about swimming.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

salif keita

St. Patty’s Day!... in here in Yaounde. 'easy like Sunday morning.' the Southwest crew cam in. Kristen, Ludvig and Robert. always good to see them. Kristen is well. school’s all right. going back home in July. that, too, is all right. better to leave and know than stay and wonder.

wondered as i listened to Salif Keita’s music on BBC’s Heartbeat this morning. famous Malian artist. beautiful guitar. soulful voice. haunting melodies. i lose myself in those songs... i can feel the music affect me physically. it’s powerful. it speaks to me.


Dairou's was nice. ate couscous. Moroccan style. pap [ground corn porridge]. pineapple. papaya. talked about his job. going well. going to Nigeria... to study corruption! too funny! he's doing well. met his brother. a friend or two... all young, educated and quite chill.

anywho... the volunteer house is calmer now. i'll be here until Monday. hope to be out by then. Sandy has a difficult meeting with the CD [Country Director]. hope it all works out. and i hope kristen gets here before i leave.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

ides of march

ides of march came and went. no biggie, right. this journal is a bit all over the place. like my brain right now.

still in Yaounde. the volunteer house is filling up. may stay for another weekday. until Monday, that is. to call a few environmental NGOs for the EE committee.

that’s all i have left to do here, i guess. hmmm... then i’m off to Douala. Sandy is here, though. Kay and Adam, too. and i'll eat lunch at Dairou’s [former PC trainer] tomorrow... insha’Alalh.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

ni Allah sonama

ni Allah sonama = Insha'Allah = God Willing = si Dieu d'accord

this is the title to a song [the 1st phrase above] by Tata Pound, a Malian hip hop group. heard these guys on BBC this morning. comes on loud and clear here in Yaounde. on FM! 98.3... good stuff.

went running this morning. to Omnisport Stadium
. not in it though. just around. met a guy who was running the general area. Christian Karambu... isn't that the french defender's name?

anywho... good run. he really pushed me. going to do email now. see the doc. eat. Ibrahim is taking me to his places around noon.


went to Ibrahim's with Ibrahima [2 peace corps staff], in the afternoon. met the fam. wife and two little kids. cute and comfortable home. we ate. drank tea. talked about work. prayed maghrib [sunset] at the mosque. chill dude. good guy, ibrahim. real good. him and ibrahima.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

an american abroad

feels good. it is good. at least for the moment. to be an american, that is. to be an american abroad today. an american in "the muslim world," for that matter.

i spent much of my two years as a peace corps volunteer coming to terms with my american identity, among other things... i also spent a good deal of that time wondering why my government was making it so difficult for me to be an american abroad. especially in "the muslim world."

all that is on hold for a moment... i pray it'll be more than just a passing moment. of hope and change. for those of us abroad. and those of us in america. after all... we, too, sing america.

praised. seeker of the subtle. purveyor of patchwork.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

things to do in yaounde


check out how wide the lines are in this new book!

in Yaounde. at the volunteer house. left Wum for the reason stated on the 'permission slip.' met Mike in Bamenda and found out the meeting wasn't on, though. got his 2 notes out of chronological order.

down here anyway... a few things to do around the office. i'll list them below. then what? dunno??? people going North. i'm not. Douala? Limbe? Littoral? will find out. hoping kristen will come down. i think she said she would. we go see.

To Do in Yaounde
-talk to PCMO [Peace Corps Medical Officer]
-talk to Boniface [secondary project coord.] about EE proposals and nursery school PTA
-talk to CD [country director] about Morocco and a visit to Wum
-talk to APCD [associate peace corps director] about Morroco and 1/4-ly report
-write lesson plan for EE newsletter
-research on PC Morocco programs (environment & youth?)
-change home address

Monday, January 12, 2009

1st page, 3rd book

as the title indicates, this is the first page of my third journal in cameroon.

i got into the habit of 'illuminating' (so to speak) the first pages of my journals. a way of breaking them in. making them mine. think of it as an intention in graphics... the words are my intentions, that is. the graphics are embellishments.

what does this page say? #3 fo' cameroon... with the figure 'thalatha' (3 in eastern arabic numerals) prominently there in the middle... my own peace & freedom through my own personal journal...

that's it.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

last page, second book

wow... last page. second book. the 2nd term holidays are rolling in. more quickly for me as i need to reach Yaounde the day after TOMORROW! Maggie brought that news back with her today. Mike had sent word as well. gotta leave for Bamenda like tomorrow afternoon. gotta leave for Yaounde morning after.

of course there's a lot to do. laundry. packing. locking up. closing shop. at school. with meetings. in the house. feel like i'm just gonna slip out of town. not coming back fro a couple weeks. big bag. "ai go be loss for people eye for sure, ai shwear!" [pidgin for, "people are going to notice my absence, i'm sure"].

pray all goes well. mind is racing. i'm tired. don't like to travel. don't like not liking coming back here. do i need a vacation? i need work. until tomorrow... IN A NEW BOOK!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

on identity and focus

3/10/2002 yes... again:
a couple of quotes:
We're all divided souls, we've got two natures in us. You measure schizophrenia not by the fact that you're divided but how well the divisions speak to one another.
-Norman Mailer
...from Uncle Nezar, on my dual cultural identity "crisis."

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
-Nelson Mandela? [actually, it's Marianne Williamson's quote]
...from Mike's father's list of quotes, on my loss of focus.

Monday, January 5, 2009

sanu alhadji

last night. early in the evening. on my way to Maghrib [sunset prayer]. as i passed through the Hausa quarter. i passed a group of small kids. they're usually very good. polite. they greet. or stare. or step aside as i pass.

this group was no different. except that this one boy. he steps out from the group. as i pass. he looks up at me. puts one hand over the other in a sign of humility. bends down a little in a gesture of respect. and, in the most facetious but totally amusing attitude, says "sanu alhadji" [greetings elder].

i laughed. he laughed. they laughed. i was sooo amused. still laugh when i think of it. little sprite. funny little imp.