Healthy Poop, Pee, and Blood, but No Mt. Cameroon

“Mid-service” is probably a little bit of a misleading name for the past week, since we’re 16 months into our 25-27-ish month (depending on when we decide to have our Close-of-Service) journey. But nevertheless, we were all here this week for our “Mid-service.” “All of us,” meaning the Peace Corps Volunteres  in the health program who came in 2011.

Mid-service is super glamorous. It entails pooping into a cup. Twice. Peeing into another. And getting a blood sample taken. Oh, and a dental appointment was involved where I got a nice facial shower from all the spray coming from an apparently uncontrollable mouth spray thing.

Yes, it’s true. We all know each other’s “schedules” and have now all traveled in a bush taxi with our “specimens” in tow. A PCV’s gotta do what a PCV’s gotta do.

The good news is that I got cleared for health! Poop and poop and blood are parasite/other weird diseases free!

Aside from that, we’ve also played a giant game of scavenger hunt around the Peace Corps offices. We have to check in with all different members of the Peace Corps staff to make sure that we’re on-track with everything, from getting a full physical exam, paying for our housing rental to making sure everything in the Peace Corps safe is still there.

There’s also been quite a bit of downtime in between, which has been filled with eating delicious foods of Yaounde, making and eating family-style dinners, using fast internet, swapping movies with other PCVs, and lots of showers to keep ourselves from being totally drenched in sweat.

Being in Yaounde has been nice, despite the excessive sweating and pooping in cups. It’s been great catching up with PCVs, especially close friends and those that are posted far-away. We had a “Best Practices” day where each PCV shared what he/she was up to at post, and honestly, I was seriously impressed and inspired by the work of other PCVs.

On one of the evenings, a few other PCVs and I met up with an American woman and her Cameroonian husband who are both living in Cameroon doing missionary work. There were a few of their colleagues at the dinner as well, and it was great swapping stories, learning about each others’ work and eating really seriously delicious food.

Tomorrow, a few of us were supposed to leave for Mt. Cameroon to go hike it. It’s the tallest mountain in West/Central Africa and I was hoping to see elephants on the 5 day hike. Unfortunately, though, no thanks to a lack of transparency with vacation days, two of us (one of them being me) can’t go. Apparently unpaid leave is no longer a possibility, and going to S. Africa with my family trumped hiking a mountain here with friends. It definitely really sucks to be going back to post tomorrow instead of hiking a mountain, and I was hoping to end being 23 years old with a nice climb. But c’est la vie.

Welp. That’s a bit of a downer. But hopefully I’ll have a more exciting/upbeat post next week when I’m back in Yaounde (again) for yet another meeting.

Peace and love,

Wes, Pumba, and Timon



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