Friday, October 24, 2008


Health volunteers at local hospital in Pitoa.

More photos

Anna in a dress/pagne of mangoes-or trees and hills!!


Anna in rural Pitoa after a soccer match.

October 24th

Hi everyone,

It is October 23rd, 2008. Sorry I have not been able to write or post in awhile. I have not had much luck with internet connections lately! All is going well here-We are in our fifth week of training here. Half way through! We are still with our host families but will be finding out our posts next week as to where we will be living and working the next two years. We will actually go and stay at that site with our counterpart or the current volunteer posted there the first week of November. Yes-the week of the election so I will be bringing my radio with me so I can hear the all the news on BBC in case I am without a TV that week. Send all the news you can my way!!

My days are filled with French and Fulfulde lessons along with health and cultural sessions as well. We all went to a football (soccer match) last weekend together. It was the local city’s club team against a club team from Zimbabwe and the local team won 4-0-pretty good match! I think four litres of water evaporated from my body during that game though! It is still really hot here!

The children in my host family are warming up to me. The little boy (see entry below) has gotten over his fears and is happy to see me now! After classes all day I usually play with them in the courtyard before the sun goes down (around 6:30 every night) and then I get ready for dinner and bed. They are super cute and the brand new baby (who is a month old now) is getting bigger every day.

There is a market every Sunday in our town that brings in hundreds of people from all over northern Cameroon. It is reallys something to see. Hundreds of little stalls selling onions, mangoes, tomatoes, small electronics, meat, fish, kitchen pots and pans, buckets, and the colorful cloth called pagne that women have tailored here into dresses and such. I have had two dress/skirt combos made so far (see entry below too!) which is quite an experience from negotiating the price to negotiating the pattern to have the cloth made into! Hopefully I can post more photos of me soon in my outfits (given working technology!)

I went for a run last week around the field while everyone else played soccer. It was the first time I have run here and it was so funny because young boy or guy I came across said, “Have a good run Madame” or “Good Luck Madame.” Very formal! In the bigger cities you will find men and women running for exercise in the streets. So dad you have can have a career here too! J

I hope you are all well-I received two letters this week and was so happy to get them! Keep them coming! Knowing you are all there thinking of me really helps! I have sent many letters your way as well so I hope you receive them soon! I will write hopefully within the next two weeks. Love-Anna

Here is a posting from Oct. 10, 2008 that I did not get a chance to post:

As I write this a huge rain storm is brewing above me. It is Friday night and we just finished up with course for today and I am staying late at the training house to write this with a “safe outlet”. Ok, the rains have begun and I keep losing power so this may have to be short. Things are going well here. This week was a lot better. We had some interesting sessions on behavior change, health communication, and language picked up a bit. We also got to visit the local district hospital and talk with clients and doctors which was really interesting. I also played in this weeks soccer match with other trainees and trainers-so nice to just run around a bit and not just be sitting. I did have a cold for most of the week but I think it may be finally passing! It is still real hot here but everyone says it will cool down soon (but the rains will stop then so take your pick!)

Here are a few things that come to mind that have been memorable thus far:

My host brother-he is about 2 years old and is deathly afraid of me (because I am so deathly pale I assume!) Whenever he is alone in the same room with me he starts whimpering and runs away. It is much better however than one child that was dragged screaming bloody murder to me by his mother the other afternoon-apparently we are very scary to the babies J The older ones love us though and constantly follow you down the street saying, “Bonjour, Bonsoir Nassaro.” Nassaro I believe is the local word for foreigner. I think I may have talked to the right person though because I am getting a lot of “Bonjour Anna” now instead. Progress!

The rains! Man when a storm comes in it really comes in. The skies darker (hopefully I can download some photos as well to this showing this) and it cools down considerably and then the winds pick up and then, “Wooosh!” Sheets of rain.

Pagne dress: I went with my host sister/cousin the first weekend I was here and purchased some cloth to make some dresses out of. That was the last time I saw the material as it was whisked away to the tailor that night. A few days later I was handed a dress that you will see me in the photos. It actually turned out pretty nice but I believe that the tailor is making the exact same dress again with the extra material! Guess what mom will be getting as a present-hahah! I liked the material at first because I thought there were trees on the material and it was green and blue. Come to find out is actually fruit! Whops!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

October 5th, 2008

Two other girls from Peace Corps and I -Aubrey and Jessie at the local establishment!
Town of Pitoa
View of Youande during rain storm.

Hello everyone! Well, after almost two weeks in country we finally got a chance to get to an internet café this morning. I wanted to give everyone a brief overview of what has been happening since I left the US a few weeks ago. In short, WOW!

We arrived in Cameroon after a thankful noneventful flight from NY to Brussels and then to Douala in Cameroon. The first thing I noticed from the plane was the red dirt and lush green. We spent the night at a hotel in Douala before taking off the next morning in a tour bus for Yaounde. Imagine 30+ people with at least one big pack and a medium suitcase and you will be able to get a grasp of the logistics needed to get us from point A to B! Pretty impressive! We stayed at a nice hotel in Yaounde for about four days while we completed official business at Peace Corps headquarters. We didn’t get to see much of the city but was able to at least see the soccer stadium and few of the neighborhoods while there. Most of us will be posted in the northern provinces of Cameroon so that is where our three months of training is being held. To get up north we had to take an overnight train (14 hours plus!) and then take another two tour buses for another five hours to get to our final destination which is two small towns near the bigger town of Garoua (you can find it on most maps). And then at the end of it we were wisked away with our host families. Holy cow-what a trip!

I am living with a small family. The parents are young (I believe I am almost 8 years older than the mom and possibly the same age as the father) and they have three children. They only had two before I came! Yes, that is right the third was born at 10 am the day I arrived in town! I kept asking on my walk to the house how many children the father had and he kept laughing saying something like, “Well, today I have three.” I didn’t pick up on that until they handed me a newborn baby boy when I entered the house! There are also two girls who I believe are sisters and cousins of the parents (one is young and the other is 15 and the one I talk with the most and who also makes all my meals for me). And then occasionally other relatives are there as well but I think I have figured out the core base for now! It is hard to describe the house structure but you enter a bigger courtyard area with brick and motar walls and then enter a smaller courtyard where my host family lives. There is a room for cooking, a latrine area in the back, my room, a sheltered open air area, and then the main structure with a living room with a television and carpet to sit on, and a bedroom.

Our training is very long and everything is pretty challenging right now for us but all of us are in this together so we will get through. I just need it to cool down!!! I did get a fan the other day and that has made my life much better!

Sorry that this has to be short. While writing this blog last night I started smelling a burning smell. Possibly could be my computer so I will have to investigate that! Three of us went into the bigger city this morning and walked around about an hour until we found a hotel that has one very slow internet connection-we are so happy!!

Any one that would like to call or text me or send a letter or package I would be indebted to you for life. Any sort of food supplements, gum, granola bars, vitamins, etc as I basically am eating some rice with tomato paste and beans every day with some coca cola thrown in there! Ohhh what a time! Any news from home is always welcome! To call from the US you dial 011 237 74199809. I miss you all and hope I can at least get to the internet one a week on the weekends to be able to write you all. Much love, Anna xoxox