Lately, my mood has been swinging between the two extremes: a.) very sad that the end of Peace Corps service is upon me and b.) can NOT wait to get out of Cameroon and begin the next chapter of my life. The mood swings are making me feel a bit bi-polar-esque. Some days I feel I’m on a standstill and extremely anxious to begin new adventures. But other days, I am reminded just why I love my village. Saturday was one of those days. And these great moments have kept me sane throughout my service, and they are keeping me grounded during these last anxious days. Unlike any other adventure, Cameroon is one place that I likely will not return for a long time to come. Must remember that. I snapped some photos on one of my walks as a reminder.
Princess Mariya, one of my current students in my class, invited me over for some Bamoun cuisine. I thought it was rather odd that she refers to herself as a Princess until I found out she is a member of the royal family in Foumban. A royal family twice removed, that is. When one mentions the Royal Family, the image that naturally rises in people’s minds are the handsome Prince William and the elegant Queen Elizabeth. Not quite the same here in Cameroon, especially in the West region where every other person you meet is a chief of some sort.
Anyway, unlike the Bamiléké tribe where we live in, Mariya is from the Bamoun tribe that is heavily influenced with the Muslim culture. She invited me over to eat some couscous and gumbo. Which, if you are a volunteer reading this, you probably made some kind of ugly face. Couscous and gumbo aren’t the tastiest of meals for the American/Chinese palette. Luckily the Bamoun version of couscous & gumbo is better than the Bamiléké version – less snot-esque.
The meal was good fun. We chatted about various things. Later, two more of her teacher friends stopped by, and both happened to be former students of mine in the same business class. We had some lively discussions about business opportunities in Batié, general business classes, the courses I teach, and the like. I love the sense of community here. There is an overwhelming request for me to do a final tour of business classes before I leave. It’s heart-warming. Yet I must see if I will have adequate time to squeeze in another series! Despite how anxious I may be on some days to leave this place behind, I know I will be very sad when that moment actually arrives.