Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Au Revoir Cameroun

July 31, 2009

I am writing this blog from my hotel room in Casablanca, Morocco. My two years with the Peace Corps are finished and I’m on my way home. I’m no longer a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) but not quite a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) as I haven’t made it home yet. It’s this weird state of limbo where everything feels like a dream. I won’t see Cameroon at least for a few years if ever again. And I’m going back to Denver to live with my sister in a house I’ve never seen and a city I’ve only visited a couple of times. The past is already a blur and the future is almost completely void of the known. Everytime I drift out of sleep, in the middle of the night or on a plane, I have to remind myself where I am and what I’m doing (the fact that I’m reading a book about a paranoid schizophrenic probably isn’t helping either). I also was never supposed to see more than the airport in Casablanca. After missing my flight and them losing track of my baggage (including Saki) for over three hours, I’ve now been put up in a lush hotel and just finished an amazing buffet dinner, also on the house. The only downside to this impedement is that they won’t let Saki in the room with me. The only option was to have him locked up in his cage in a storage room (Sorry Saki! If I could explain it to you, I think you’d understand that it was worth the pain and effort to come back with me.). They would let me check on him every hour or so if I wanted, but I think that would just make things harder on him. Luckily, he’s turned out to be a great traveler. We were able to take a walk earlier on this incredibly flat, sandy Saharan earth through a residential neighborhood under development. Once again: surreal – bull dozers and cement trucks passing by in this strange mix of Arab culture and post-French colonization. Morocco seems like a really interesting place, but I feel like you’d have to know Arabic to get a real taste of it.

I had a good friend of mine recently remind me that I owed at least one or two more blogs before I threw in the towel. It’s been a little while since I’ve posted an entry. The reason is that these last few weeks at post were also eerily dreamlike. They somehow flew by and dragged on at the same time. There were a couple of weeks with constant visitors as the new Small Enterprise Development and Education volunteers came on site visit. Rhet and Rachel, a recently married couple, will be replacing me in Nkongsamba. It was great to get to know them and to show them around the intricacies of the town that took me the greater part of two years to really get to know. The week after the site visit was just used to pack up, say my goodbyes, and snap all of the pictures I’d been meaning to take but hadn’t for fear of looking like a tourist. Then, I left Nkongsamba for the PC transit house in the capital. Instead of transitioning from Nkongsamba to America, I transitioned from Nkongsamba to Cameroon around a bunch of Americans to America – a smoother approach. The week in Yaoundé is to finalize all administrative paperwork and get checked out for any parasites or other endemic maladies that might have been picked up along the way. That being done, I took a bus to Douala and hopped on a plane for Morocco. Once I leave Casablanca it looks like I’ll have to spend a couple nights in New York City (one more than expected) before making my way to my new home in Denver.

I’m planning on putting one last blog entry up to describe, as best I can, the readjustment process, but I might need a little prodding for it to happen. Right now, all it feels like there is to say is ‘Au revoir Cameroun.’