Wednesday, October 15, 2008
On est ensemble
On est ensemble. Three simple words of greeting given to us by our health trainers which encompass so much more. Literally translated as We are together it's a phrase which describes the general sentiment around training these days pretty well. We are together....a lot.....learning language, sweating profusely, sharing many of the same struggles and victories as we progress through the weeks. I've been in Cameroon for just over two weeks now – a quantification that doesn't begin to match up with my sense of time these days. In many ways it seems so much more than 2 weeks ago that I first stepped off the plane in Douala and into the 100 degree heat, remembering little of my French from high school and completely clueless about the culture or the country I was walking into. Two weeks later finds me living with a Cameroonian family of 8, rattling off French and Fulfulde greetings to my friends and neighbors every time I walk out the door, dodging goats and motorcycles with similar frequency-- and on multiple occasions simultaneously --as I walk to school, and perfecting the art of the bucket shower under the stars at the end of each sweaty, crazy day. In two weeks I've already learned and experienced so much...I've learned to appreciate the late afternoon downpour that breaks the 100+ degree heat, the stranger who invites me into their home to share their Ramadan meal. I've learned to wash my clothes by hand in a bucket and eat with my hands and (kind of) bargain for prices in the market, and so much more. Life is pretty simple, and pretty awesome in its novelty so far.