Friday, July 6, 2007

Getting Comfortable

July 3, 2007

I’m at a bit of a loss on what I should write about this week. I think that’s a good thing, though. It means there wasn’t a huge obstacle to my comfort or adaptation. From where I’m sitting right now, everything seems doable - the language, the culture, small business development. My big worry right now is whether this vegetarian will be able to resist a cheeseburger tomorrow at our 4th of July party.

If I’ve learned anything from this process so far, though, it’s to not get too comfortable. Right when you do, your world turns upside-down on you. Looking at the schedule, I would say that moment is coming next week. That’s when we find out where we’re going to be posted in Cameroon. Our counterpart (most likely a bank manager) will come to meet us on Saturday, the 14th, and we’ll go to visit our site two days later. I don’t really have any expectations or wishes for where I want to be posted, but I’m sure it’ll be stressful as the time nears. The North is mostly Muslim, more conservative, and would mean a longer dry (hot) season - 9 months without a single cloud! The East is much less developed, less chance for running water and electricity, lots of forest, rainforest, and logging. The forests are there the Baka (Pygmies) live. The South would be close to the beach, but they are very wary about posting anyone there. The West is where I am right now. It would mean I wouldn’t be changing scenery. I think it has a little longer rainy season, lots of vegetables and fruits, and I would probably be closer to other volunteers. Whatever my fate, I’m sure everything will work out.

Since I’m short on material to give you, maybe I’ll use this space to tell you how to get a hold of me. The address to send me anything is:
Tim Hartman
C/O US Embassy - Cameroon
US Peace Corps - Corps de la Paix
B.P. 215, Yaoundé
That address will work for the entire time I’m in Cameroon. Once I’m done with training (August 23rd) I’ll have a new local address, but you'll still have to send mail through the capital. I’m not really missing a lot of things from the states, but if you insist on sending more than a letter, I don’t think I could ever have too much Instant Hand Sanitizer. I carry some around with me 24/7. Some spices I didn’t bring and might want when I start doing my own cooking are Oregano, Cayenne pepper, chili powder, and curry powder. And last but not least is cheese. Most would go bad if you shipped them, but a little parmesan could go a long way.

Please DO NOT feel obliged to send a package, but if you want to, here are some tips that one of the other trainees researched to minimize theft: Red ink looks official and is less likely to be tampered with. You can address it to Brother Tim Hartman as if I am a monk. Symbols or Bible verses written on the package will keep away any superstitious thieves.

Also, I have a cell phone here. Even though I’m not getting enough money to call anyone in the states, all my incoming calls are free, so if you want to call me, send me an email first and I can give you my phone number. Obviously, emails work too. I check my account about once a week at the Cyber Café.

That’s all for now. Hopefully, I’ll have some better stories for next week.


1 comment:

lesly said...

Dear Tim,
Everything sounds so good here. I am glad to hear it all and my vote would be the beach but NOT if it is dangerous. Other than that the north, hot dry sounds good...the conservative thing is tough though...but you would learn so much...hmmm.. what will fate decide?? Today the 14th you will find out and I think I may call you on Sunday to find out. Half way there.
As far as the care package, I am getting a little one together. On my end I will try to get together some of the Turkish red hots too, how are you on black pepper? And chocolate? I mean I want you to miss my cooking... You might have to settle for the dreaded Kraft Parm I know you hate but I heard from other returned PC people that it travels well and you will like it. Anyways, keep these postings going. We love them! Be well and peaceful. L