Last night marked one of the worst nights of my Peace Corps service yet. The day started with a group of us going to some lake outside of Bafoussam for picnic. It was the Frenchies, me, Kate and a few Cameroonians. Picnic, sounds idyllic, n’est-ce pas? I thought so, too. Let’s just say it wasn’t quite picnic basket with blanket in Forest Park next to the Grand Basin.
The day started with us meeting at the supermarché in Baf. Eric, one of our Cameroonian friends had arranged for one of his friends to drive us. We waited and waited for almost an hour before the car showed up and we hit the road. Once hitting the road, it is no road-trip, Route 66 style trip to the lake. Instead, it’s a bumpy ride, going through the worst road in Bafoussam and then into the countryside where the roads were so bad we had to get out of the car several times, and the boys had to push the car to get it going. Finally, the roads got so bad that we parked the car and walked for 15 minutes to get to this small pavilion someone had built. It’s obvious that someone had taken the time of day to try to organize this scenic site, but didn’t quite complete the job.
To see the lake, we had to walk down this hill, which was nicely paved complete with steps and rails. Once we get down there, there were some people fishing, and the rain started to come, so we went back up to the pavilion for the picnic. The whole thing was slightly awkward with the strong afternoon rain pouring. Shortly after we started eating, the locals who were fishing or around, started to come in waves to avoid the rain. So we ate, and they watched in this small pavilion. Awkward much? Yes.
We walked back down to the lake and took some pictures, watch people fish for a while, and left. I was in somewhat of a funky mood to begin with, and that whole thing didn’t help. But the best is yet to come. We got back up and started walking since the road was much worse after the rain. We walked perhaps a good 30-40 minutes until we got to a better part of the road to get on the car. But, the car didn’t last more than 10-15 minutes before we were broke down on the side of the road in a small village.
We sat on the side of the road and waited for our taxi and help to come. Then the rain started to come again, so people started getting into the car. Gregoire and I sat in trunk , just like in the movies. But there was nothing amusing about it. My bad mood had worsened and everything felt just a bit off.
The car finally came after god knows how long and we all piled into this tiny taxi and got back to Baf. Then, those of us going back to Batié piled into another car and headed home. I was so ready to come home, take a hot bucket bath, listen to music, get online and talk to friends from home in an attempt to temporarily forget I’m in Africa. However, no such luck. I got home and it was getting dark. The power, of course, was out. And this time, it was out for the entire night. I took a bucket bath using a lamp in my latrine. Then I turned on the computer, and it only had 30 min left of battery power. So after 30 min., I was cut off; in the worst mood ever, and completely alone. All of my electronics except for my telephone, which has little credit left, were dead. I’ve yet been so cut off from technology. I had no idea what to do with myself. Finally, I lit a candle, wrote in my paper journal, which I haven’t written in since arriving in country, in an attempt to write away this bad day, and went to sleep by 8pm.
Last night, I got the real deal, and I really don’t think I could’ve survived Peace Corps back in the days. I love solitude, but not that much.