Monday, November 26, 2007

La Vie est Dur (Life's Hard)


Thanksgiving was last week and coincidentally fell on our three month anniversary at post. We don’t normally celebrate anniversaries of our time at post. Three months is a milestone only because of a silly rule that the Peace Corps created. We’re not allowed to use any vacation days or travel anywhere that would leave us away from our post overnight for the first three months. With this ban being lifted and Thanksgiving falling on the same day, a few of us decided to head toward the beach.

Joe and Debbie are a retired married couple that are teaching Computers and English about 20 minutes away from Limbé, one of the two beach towns in Cameroon. They were incredibly welcoming saying that they would host anyone that made the trip. My and Tara’s trip was only three hours, Alyssa’s was about the same, Brad’s was six h ours, Abby’s was an hour and a half, and Bill was only about 20 minutes away. From the time we got there until the time we left, it felt like being in America and was an amazing getaway.

Limbé is in an Anglophone province so everyone speaks English. They have a thick accent and some only speak Pigeon English, but it’s English. This made it a lot easier to argue prices and just communicate in general. It was also a little hard to remember that people can understand us when we’re talking amongst ourselves.

In terms of buying, eating, and drinking, we lived extravagantly. The first night we went to a restaurant where the meals cost six dollars. We went to a store with all American products from soaps and shampoos and moisturizers to barbecue sauce and syrup and peanut M&Ms. They even put all of your purchases in Wal-Mart bags when you check out. For our Thanksgiving feast, some things were bought from the American Store and others were sent in packages from the states. Joe baked five whole chickens, we had mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, devilled eggs, and pumpkin pie. To drink we had Merlot, Chardonnay, Absolut, and Bailey’s (all either incredibly hard to find here or incredibly expensive). For the next morning in addition to having leftover pumpkin pie, Joe made his famous banana cake and Alyssa made cranberry apple walnut scones – both amazing!

If all that wasn’t enough, we also went to the beach. Now we’re not talking 5-Star hotels and surf shops. We’re still in Cameroon. But it was pretty nice. It was a secluded beach (nobody but us), fine black sand, hammocks in the shade and beach chairs in the sun, palm trees, and warm water. We also had someone that would bring us cold drinks. We were reminded once where we were when a couple of fishing boats beached at our shore, but it really felt like heaven on Earth.

It was an absolutely amazing trip that I’ll never forget. None of us wanted to leave. In fact, we’ve already made plans to come back for Christmas. La vie est dur en Afrique!

Your Suffering African Brother,

p.s. Check back and I'll try to get a couple pictures.

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