Safe in Nkambe, Cameroon

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January 7th 2009
Published: January 7th 2009
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Our road trip was painful but safe. My back went into spasms and my ass had a stroke! The first trip was about 7.5 hours on dusty, pot-hole roads, with 9 people and 14 bins and bags stuffed into an old toyota previa. We each had about 1/2 seat. But we made it to Bamenda safely. Then, the next day was 6.5 hours on an even worse dusty, windy, mountain road. This time we each had our own seat, but it was so dusty, we had to cook inside with the windows closed or risk respiratory failure! Again, we made it safely.

The family we are staying with is about the most wonderful group of people I have ever met. They are welcoming, loving, and very kind. We are paying the equivalent of about 20 US dollars per day and have completely taken over their house. They have cooks preparing breakfast, lunch and dinner. All of our equipment is in bins in their living room. The facility is spare, but we are making due. The least favorite part is the pit latrine which is missing a vent, so the ammonia smell from urine is quite overwhelming! The shower consists of a small bucket of cold water and a room that you cannot quite stand up in, directly next to the lovely smelling pit latrine. It truly makes one aware of how lucky we are in the USA to have running water, indoor plumbing and so many conveniences that life is quite easy (and clean).

I am gaining an even greater appreciation for all that we have. This existence is, in many ways, even more difficult than the experience in Kenya. While there is electricity, the house is not as clean, the facilities less advanced, and life is more connected with the farm and the hard work that requires. This is hard living. However, each morning (around 4 am) we are awoken by the rooster crow, and each evening the sleep comes easy after a hard days work.

My american materialism button has been reset to a new (much lower) level. This type of difficult experience really gives the space to see what you are made of and learn more about your own true spirit. I am certainly wanting to use this opportunity to become a better person, a better friend, a better coworker, and a better wife. I think my newly rekindled gratitude is good and I hope can keep it with me upon return home.

We have started the well drilling, but are having trouble getting some of the equipment which was supposed to have been delivered over one month ago. A man named Ivo seems to be giving us the run around. He has more than 1100 USD and has delivered only about 100 worth of the supplies (pipes, fittings, etc.) that were ordered. Some are incorrect. His story seems to change each time we communicate with him and some fear we may not see the supplies in time. I am still holding out that it will come together.

I have conducted 2 water hygiene classes for 26 people total so far. They have asked for several more classes, which are being announced on the local radio station. The people are very receptive and excited about the information and looking forward to water from the new well. Hopefully, it will all come together.

With love and gratitude,


8th January 2009

Just a quick hello from a fellow blogger in Cameroon. I'm a volunteer based in Bamenda. Good luck with your project. Steve
12th January 2009

Hi Heather!
Hi Heather, I'm so glad to hear you made it safely! We're having John and the pups over to dinner on Tuesday night... making sure he doesn't get too lonely!! Keep up all the wonderful work you're doing. I hope your butt has recovered - probably just in time for the return trip. Stay safe and healthy. Love, Shelly
19th January 2009

Good luck in Bamenda
We had a successful trip to Nkambe (and through Bamenda). I hope your volunteer work is going well. There are some people I could recommend getting in touch with from our project if you are interest. Farmer Tantoh Nforba from Nkambe is a great resource for anything related to community volunteer work, gardening, farming and now well drilling. His large family includes a cousin in Bamenda that works at a bank and was hospitable to host us during our layover in Bamenda each way. Good luck to you. Best, Heather

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