Field Notes

Vignettes: #Integration


After my morning run, being the well-integrated host child that I am, I decide to make my omelet for breakfast. While heating up the oil, I start mixing the eggs with the garlic, onions and magi. Turning around, I prepare to add the mixture to the oil, only to discover the oil has caught on fire.Β Crap, crap, crap I think as I wonder how on earth to put the fire out, remembering that since it is an oil fire I can’t just throw water on it. “Brendan! Vien!” My brother comes in, plops a plate on the fire and laughs at me. He also finds me another pan so I can finish making breakfast.


Waking up at 7AM to the sounds of my brother singing along to Jesus pop, I give up on sleeping in and decide to do my laundry. Sniffing my pillow, I realize it is time to do my sheets. After hand-washing my sheets (and deciding to not try that again for another month) I move to my clothes. Per usual, my family tells me that I am not scrubbing hard enough. The new muscles in my arms and the raw skin on my wrist disagree. Regardless, my clothes are clean and I decide I am too tired for church.

Later, after a day of hiking with my stage, I am walking home when it starts to downpour. Woes I mutter to myself thinking of all my laundry soaking once again. I hurry home, but its too late. My 8 year old brother, Evan, hurries out and tells me there is no electricity, our other siblings are gone and that he brought all my clothes in. “Merci, merci beaucoup!” He says he did so because I was his sister. I give him a hug, which makes him feel awkward and then we move to the kitchen to make dinner.

“Don’t worry, Madame (my 13 year old sister) bought us meat for dinner.” He takes a sack and shakes it. Out falls a fish and pieces of meat and some white wiggly things. “Ca c’est quoi?” I ask my little brother, pointing at the maggots. He flicks one on the floor and then turns to me, “Do you want an omelet?” Yes.Β 


Site visits! We pile in the car to head up to Yaounde to catch the train up north to Adamawa region. Hannah, a current PCV, who is traveling with us, offers pick up Lebanese food for us. Fast forward three hours, we are eating falafel, hummus and pita bread. And I found a bar of dark (!) chocolate for dessert. And Hannah brought of us each a Snickers bar. The food in Mengong is not bad, but hummus is amazing.


After 16 hours on a train (not including the 5 hours we waited in Yaounde, but fun fact: you get a free sardine sandwich on the house for lunch when the train is late), we finally arrive in Ngaoundere. At the case there is internet and beef jerky and we are going out again for dinner. As excited as I am to see what life is like at post, all this food is turning this trip into a vacation.

Hopefully I’ll be able to post more again soon!


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