I’m not big into New Year’s Resolutions. To my knowledge, I’ve never really kept any resolutions that I’ve made. My bad.
But here I am, anywhere between 7-9 months from my Close-of-Service (COS) from Peace Corps: Cameroon. And while that seems really far away at times, at the same time, it feels like it could sneak up on my soon.
So, since I didn’t really do anything for New Year’s resolutions, I’ve decided to make some Birthday Resolutions, particular to the rest of my time here in CamCamLand.
Well, I would hate to keep y’all on the edge of your seats any longer. So here we go:
1. Stay positive
This probably will be my biggest challenge for the next months ahead, but I’ll do my best. I was absolutely loving my experience here until things started falling apart with the library back in August and got political with the work I was doing. Either way though, I chose, and am choosing, to be here for the time being. I could change my post or Early Terminate (ET), but I’m not. I’ve got the best friends in village that anyone could ever ask for, and before I know it, I’ll be done with my service. It’s about time I pull it together and just stay positive.
2. Run More
Sure, Bazou is hella hilly. And it’s pretty dusty now in dry season. But what better way to whip myself into shape than to run these dusty mountains? I guess if I have so much time on my hands from lack of work, I should probably try and actually use this time to my advantage.
3. Enjoy the scenery
Sometimes it feels like I’m getting cabin fever being cooped up in a small village. While most people probably imagine me prancing around the savannas of “Africa,” with wild lions and rabid hyenas, my life is actually rather uneventful from a day-to-day basis. And Peace Corps rules keep me mostly confined to just my village. But I gotta keep reminding myself that the beautiful rolling green hills contrasted by the intense red dirt is something that I’ll only get here. The other week when I hosted a few PCVs in my village, the one PCV kept commenting on just how beautiful my post was (her post is totally flat). I realized how thankful I should be for having such a beautiful post.
4. Keep busy
I’ve come to accept that being “busy,” American-style, is just never going to happen in this country. My idea of staying “busy,” for most Cameroonians just seems like pure insanity. While I’d love to be so wrapped up in work that I have to wake up at the crack of dawn and go to bed late each night, I don’t think that’ll ever happen. So, I guess I’ll have to be content finding other things to do that keep me busy in the meantime. Unfortunately, cleaning will never make that list. Just tryin’ to be realistic. Sorry, Mom.
On this list of keeping busy is reading, taking Pumba out for more walks (rainy season got me lazy), doing some more Zumba, painting, hanging out in my hammock, and, I almost hate to admit it: catching up on movies and tv shows that I just got on my hard drive.
Hey. At least I’m being honest.
5. Take more pictures
My first year here, I tried not to whip out my camera at every new and interesting encounter. I now know what it feels like to feel when people stare at you like you’re some exotic animal at the zoo. And I’d prefer not to treat others the same way. Also, my camera tends to attract attention. A little too much attention. And last time I took pictures in Bazou, people kept asking me when I was going to give them their printed photos. Womp.
But now that I’m in my second year, I definitely feel more comfortable in village. I’ve realized that people will ask me on a daily basis, regardless of what I do or don’t do, for money and my clothes and my shoes and my hair. So, I guess that means I’m going to allow myself to take some more pictures. I’m hoping that by the end of my service, I’ll have some really good keepers that I can save for years to come. God that sounded cheesey.
- I got a ride back to post with Peace Corps on Monday. I imagine that heaven feels similar to riding in a PC car.
- I stayed with the US Embassy family last weekend in Yaounde. Not only was their house wonderfully welcoming and luxurious, as always, and they surprised me with a delicious cake, but they also hosted a church service at their place for the Malagassi (people from Madagascar) community. While I can’t say I’m much of a church-goer, it was a neat experience and the food afterwards was awesome.
- My AniPals were still alive and well in Bazou.
- I went out with Rameline to the village where she works (Ndionzou) where we taught kids how to make and use a TippyTap (a simple apparatus to promote handwashing)
- I went to Bangangte and got salad with 3 other PCVs, picked up 2 letters (THANKS Mir and Meghan!!) and a nice big package from Mom and Dad!!
- I chowed down on some Hickory Farms cheese from the US for the past few days. Sooooooo delicious.
- Since I’ve had quite a bit of downtime by candlelight, I’ve been painting my nails all sorts of crazy colors/designs. I’ve never been one to paint my nails. But hey, it keeps me busy and looks fun afterwards.
- I made a pretty killer veggie soup the other night. Not gonna lie, I’m quite proud of myself
- Not sure if it’s a high or low, but Rameline’s husband got affected for work to Bangangte. I thought this was good news because he’s not a fan of Bazou. But apparently it’s the same salary and now he has to commute there each day (which costs money). I’m happy that he won’t be far but bummed that he couldn’t get a higher position that he was hoping for (he doesn’t bribe people like his colleagues probably did to get their posts). On the flip side, since all of the affectations were given out, that means that Rameline will be here until I leave! Which stinks for her because she doesn’t like being here much, but it’s good for me that my best friend here gets to stay with me, and she seemed happy that at least she could be here for my last months.
- Electricity has been pretty terrible since I got back. I think they’re fixing the lines, but powers been out most of the time since I got back to post. And water has been bad too, since it requires electricity each morning to pump water up to the towers. But I haven’t come close to running out of water yet!
- My toilet is semi-broken. It’ll be easy to fix, but right now the water from the tank just runs all the time, unless I shut off the valve. Not a huge deal, but it was nice to have that extra tank of water for a flush when water goes out!
- It’s pretty freaking hot. I thought it’d be much cooler here than in Yaounde, but it’s not a whole lot cooler, unfortunately (although it’s still much better than it could be, since we’re basically sitting on the equator). I am actually excited for rainy season now.
- I’m pretty sure I had worms for the past few days (I’m fairly sure…but let’s just say I did’t get any, errrr…visual…..confirmations!). Luckily, the dewormer seemed to do the trick, and I’m feeling much better now.
- Apparently I’m missing out on this crazy snowstorm, Nemo?! No fair!
- My internet is been really weird lately. It keeps going in and out. Hopefully I get this resolved soon!
Well, time to hop off the internet before I drain the entire battery on my computer. Hasta luego, chicos.
Peace and love,
Wes, Pumba, and Timon