Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas in Cameroon

The shopping frenzy is just like in Europe or the US. Eating a lot and even drinking a lot is the same. What's different is the 95 degree Fahrenheit or 35 degree Celsius. It feels like summer and it is not easy to think of Christmas. In the markets cheap versions of Jingle Bells blaring loudly.
What's different are the visits. Everyone goes to everyone’s house on Christmas Day. The families who farm bring fruits, vegetables and the all present "Achu". Achu is kind of like mashed potatoes sticky dough of pure starch.... cheap and filling. People who have a salaried job are expected to give things that have to be bought, such as soap, salt, and oil. I gave the children tooth brushes and tooth paste donated by my dentist Lenore Schwartz in White Plains. The adults got Nivea donated by a friend whose daughter works for the company. Nivea products are known and expensive here, so they are a cherished gift.
I was tired of the overload of activities and on Christmas morning I was contemplating to go to Kumbo when Cosmas called I said yes. Because of the busy Christmas season the busses where full and the car parks (bus stations) chaotic. I took a private car - imagine a small car with 7 passengers and the driver flying with great speed over dusty never paved pot hole spiked mountains. I was praying to make it but not really scared. It is kind of fun - in Africa you never know if you wake up the next morning. That's why people are so happy - they did indeed wake up to another day.
Funerals are still plenty. These days it is not always AIDS related.
People here really got the message about AIDS. It is actually amazing how much changed since I first came in Oct 2005.
Let me find some pictures to post for you.
With heaps of love and peace
Rolande

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