On Trying to be Tough and Pumba Attacks Timon

2 days until I’m on a US-bound plane!!!!

This past week has been perhaps one of the most challenging weeks of my service, and I’m definitely more than ready for a break, so that I can recharge my batteries and be ready for 2013.

Last week, 3 PCVs came to Bazou to celebrate Thanksgiving with me and my Cameroonian friends at post. Though I wish I could have eaten the delicious food with my Embassy family in Yaounde, I’m glad I made the decision to celebrate Thanksgiving with people that I’ve become close to in-country. I had a lot to be thankful for.

Then the hard part of my week was on Sunday when we were supposed to have community elections for our library that had been giving me so many problems. I thought that the elections would be a way to get a fresh start and re-energize me upon my return from the US in January. However, the meeting/elections ended up being a total nightmare, with several members of the board basically trying to gang up against me by fabricating stories about me, the work I do, and the people that I spend my time with in Bazou.

The past few months, certain people on the library board realized that I was not their puppet and would not be complicit in their corrupt activities, so it seems as if they’ve resorted to trying to get me out of the library, as well as the community. And this was the culmination of it all.

For at least a good 15 minutes, I sat there, totally stunned that this was even happening, and I seriously contemplating just packing up all my stuff and leaving the community for good, instead of just a 1 month stay in the US. Not really what I imagined my Peace Corps service to be.

Thankfully, though, I think that almost everyone sitting in that room realized the absurdity of the situation, even though the elections eventually got cancelled. I was so grateful for the support from my close friends in village, as well as even acquaintances that basically told me to hang in there.

Despite it definitely being a rough meeting, I have definitely learned a lot. I did not pack up my house to leave for good. I still plan on coming back in January, but I’ll be shifting my focus away from the library entirely, and hopefully something will pan out. It’s been hard to deal with that the week before I leave, but again, I’m really grateful for the people in my village who have been rooting for me or just giving me the “du courage.”

I’m also grateful for the PCVs who have been listening to problem after problem that seems to be coming out from my post! Oops.

Moving on though, I did have some highlights to my week. Thanksgiving was one of them. Also, on Saturday, the health PCV who was at my post before me came to visit. She extended her time in Yaounde, but she came back to say her goodbyes before she finishes of her Peace Corps experience in a few short weeks. Although even I got teary just watching her say her goodbyes, I was once again reminded of how many people I will miss when my 2 years is up in Bazou.

On Tuesday, one of my other PCV friends came to visit me at post for a few days. Though I wouldn’t have minded a smaller, more isolated post, I’m glad that my post gets lots of visitors. I was really happy that I had another American around just to take my mind of things.

Unfortunately, though, on Wednesday, little Timon got attacked by Pumba, when little Timon tried to get a share of Pumba’s food. I was scared sh*tless for a good while, because Timon couldn’t even walk, was vomiting, and kept pooping. It was like watching a horror version of Bambi on ice. He was just laying on the ground, feet sticking out in each direction, as he tried to navigate the world with one fully functional leg.

Luckily, the Kenne family is friends with the vet in Bazou, and she was generous enough to give Timon free shots to try to fix him up. His prognosis is good, but it will just take some time until he’s totally fine again. It seems that Pumba must have picked him up by his back or something, rendering his back legs a bit useless for the moment.

So, now I’m in Yaounde, staying with my wonderful host US embassy family again until my flight leaves on Sunday evening! I was sad to leave Timon behind, since he still couldn’t walk as of this morning when I left. It was also oddly sad to leave Pumba behind, even though I’ll be back in a month. But more than ever, I am needing a break from my Peace Corps life. I hope that Pumba and Timon will forgive my 1-month-long absence!

Now, I’m fully ready to take on the adventures of the US, and here’s to hoping that I’ll be ready to tackle the last year of my service in 2013!! See you soon, America!

HIGHS:

- Sharing Thanksgiving with my “second family”

- Having PCVs visit – Eating delicious food – Being able to stay with my “Yaounde family” before I take off

- Making sugar cookies with frosting with the Kenne kids

- I gave the exam on HIV/AIDS to my health class, and they did impressively much better than last time. Grading their tests, it seems like most kids seemed to actually understand the material, which I was really excited about. They average a 76%, which is incredibly impressive compared to their standards of 50% being already so-so.

- Watching Timon and Pumba snuggle with each other

- Realizing that I have more support than I ever thought at post

- Having a wonderful vet in village who helped me out with Timon

- Listening to Christmas music and Taylor Swift with other PCVs

- I get make a pitstop in Belgium during my layover to see Mr. Pouille! And hopefully use some of my village French…?

- Naming my compound/house, “BaZoo” :)

LOWS:

- The library elections

- Hearing that those same people are trying to spread rumors about me not being American (ie a spy)…huh?

- The busride to Yaounde was brutal, considering it’s all paved road and shouldn’t take long

- Timon getting mauled by Pumba

- Saying bye to friends in village, as well as Pumba and Timon, even if it’s just a month

- Learning that a few more PCVs from my training group early terminated their service

- Found out that someone was stealing books given to our library through a donation from an NGO

Well, that’s all for now. I can’t wait to be back in the US for a bit, and hopefully I’ll get to see some of you on the flipside! A bientot!

Peace and love,

Wes, Pummies, and Timoneos

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