I wrote this post in Sept. 2012 I remember that Wednesday very well. Fast forward to a Wednesday nearly 6 years later and I am taking off on another journey with the same mindset to help improve Cameroon. Check out my first blog post as a wiry college gaduate.
No looking back now! I left Indianapolis on Wednesday at 6AM to begin my journey. First stop to ATL then off to Philly. I arrived around noon and took a cab to the hotel to begin my journey as a PCV (Peace Corps Volunteer). I wore a Wabash College collard shirt just by chance I would run into a group member who knew of the place or an alumni. The latter happened and instantly the bond between two Wabash brothers was felt. Our orientation leader, BJ Whetsine was from Wabash I believe graduate of ’04. After checking our bags we went into a conference room and for 7 hours learned about the Peace Corps and answered many questions our group of 55 had to ask.
The Peace Corps could not have picked a better person to lead a group of raucous middle-aged people (with a few older women) for 7 hours. He kept our attention, was very engaging, and clearly demonstrated he loved what he was doing. He kept reassuring us this was a great and the right decision and the time won’t always be cherries and roses, but will be the best 2+ years of our life. Once again a peace and calm entered my body and I could exhale easily. After the orientation we all breathed a sigh of relief and went upstairs to put away our luggage.
What does one think of when they hear Philadelphia? Well, the Eagles or perhaps East coast, but the food connoisseurs definitely think of the Cheese steak. We asked the bell-man where to go for the best cheese steak and he led us to a small hole in the wall cafeteria on South street called Jimmy’s. Yes, I am convinced Jimmy John’s stole the idea of the “crazy-fast assembly line” from Jimmy’s. I could tell this has been around from the hundreds of signed photographs on the wall including Denzel Washington, and many other actors in black and white as well as musicians. A group of 6 along with myself went to Jimmy’s and we all had a blast. After my ginormous cheesesteak filled with extra meat, mushrooms, American cheese, onions, and banana peppers we went to TGIF’s for a few drinks and listen to the Jazz band. At TGIF’s I knew our group would be a wonderful group not only to accomplish what we were set out too, but I have not stopped laughing since. Well, I am now in JFK waiting for the last hour of departure time to tick away and say so long to the US I love!
Sat, Sept 22
A few fun facts about Cameroon: (Some of these I took from Tubbs, a new friend made along the way)
• Africa begins and ends with the letter A
• It is about the size of California
• Population around 20 million
• They use the Franc as currency
• The have frogs up to a foot long (future pet)
• Cameroon is derived from the Portuguese word Camarão meaning (shrimp)
• Largest religious affiliation is Christianity also many Muslims
• It is known as Africa in miniature with its many different climates
• Over 250 languages and indigenous tribes
Sun, Sept 23…
Wow, what a fast weekend it has been. The food here has been delicious and I leave every meal stuffed to the max. In pidgin they say “my tummy has folded” Well, today after two heaping plates of double spoons of pasta, some delicious veggies and meat a prune (very sweet) 4 crepes chocolat and some very delicious pineapple! My tummy has double folded! I am in heaven right now and my PC mates are wonderful. We went to a cultural dance last night and wow was it fun. I have pictures, but the Internet is too slow and will up date at a later time. One of our very own PC staff married a Cameroonian woman and we were able to see and hear traditional Cameroonian dances and songs. What a very enjoyable experience. Tonight we are dressing formally to have dinner with our Country director, an ambassador, and many important angencies. I am very excited yet nervous to see how my lack of French will hinder me. Welp, off to take a bucket shower!- J’arrive
(literal translation means “on my way” which in a sense I will be tomorrow on my next post!)