Wanderlust Wendy

Celebrating Old Age

This past weekend my rich neighbor had a BIG fête! My moto guy is a family member of this rich neighbor and they live in the same concession. He informed me of this rare event that occurs only once every 5 years or so – a fête to celebrate the elders in the family that reached 70 years old.

For weeks, the rich neighbor’s house have had workers layering bricks on the cement barriers, and all sorts of other work. The event was a 3-day ordeal. Friday evening was the Bamiléké traditional dance where villagers not only got out their outfits, but also the animal skin, horns, the works! Most of the neighbors all gathered to see the event, especially the kids.

The next day, I was invited to the mass ceremony honoring the elders. When they told me mass, I thought they meant we’d all meet and then go to a church. But oh no, how wrong I was. They meant they’ll bring the church to their gigantic courtyard – and they did. It was mighty impressive!

People like my neighbor makes me realize that people here have A LOT of money. However, the distribution of wealth is all off (kind of the case everywhere in the world, right?). My motor guy, Emmanuel, who is a part of the family, does not enjoy any of the wealth and he works all day on his moto and gain a measly pay.

Anyway, I attended the mass and then the big dinner afterward. It would have been fun to stay and dance with people, but with all the guests (more than 500), I was pretty lost among all the people I didn’t know. So instead of sticking around, I retired to my house soon after dinner. This is when I really miss having a buffer. When Juliette was in village, we would go to things like this and hang out with each other while have a blast with villagers. Unfortunately without her, it’s not quite the same, and doesn’t feel as safe…

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