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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars

 

Cameroon - 8 January, 2001

 

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Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Nake Bakundu (small village on dirt road) N0434.415' E00917.312' 129 m
Finish Nake Bakundu (small village on dirt road) N0434.415' E00917.312' 129 m -

Total:

19,927 km

 

Weather: Partly cloudy, sunny, very hot and humid.

 

 

Daily Journal Entry:

Cameroon00_Nake_TruckRepair_1896_Web.gif (178783 bytes)

As we were not going anywhere today, we took it easy and slept in for a while.  We took out the kitchen stuff for breakfast (setting up in someone's front lawn), had breakfast, and then put it all away again.  We then just hung around the village while the drivers worked on the truck and the engine.

 

As we were on a dirt road, there was red dust everywhere.  Every time a car, bus or truck drove by, a big cloud of red dust would envelope everything.  It was hot and sunny - we would seek out whatever shade we could find and would move our position as the sun moved in the sky.

 

Just after we finished breakfast, we noticed that children were arriving at the school right near us.  It turned out today was the first day back after the Christmas holidays.  They swept up the dirt yard in front of the school.  It was then assembly time - and we then saw some (at least to us) horrible sights.  Many of the children were beaten by the teacher.  They would kneel in front of him and have their palms beaten with a rod.  Others were held in the air in a horizontal position by two other students and then beaten across the thighs.  The screams were very horrible - but the more they screamed, the more they were hit.  We were told later that this was punishment for things like being late, not having their uniform, etc.  The parents, apparently as we were told, supported the disciplining.  At one point, we could see the teacher running to a few houses rounding up missing children, who would run to the school - and be beaten.

 

We spend the morning hanging out in the village - we meet and speak with some of the locals and get to know the head teacher quite well - Elizabeth.  She was with us as the children were being punished by one of the male teachers and explained to us what was going on.  We have a quick lunch of soup and bread - did not have much in terms of fresh food.

 

After lunch after much hard and dirty work, the drivers start the engine and it seems to be running.  After a bit of checking, we pack up all our stuff and get in the truck, ready to drive off.  But once they start the engine again and apply some power, things start to go wrong.  Oil was shooting out all over the place.  We all need to get off again and they get back to work to see what they can do to try to fix it.

 

After hanging about a bit, we (Jacqui and Lars) decide to wander around the village a bit.  We were getting quite bored of just sitting around.  We decide to go visit Elizabeth in her home.  This is about 200 meters down the road.  We find her at home.  She turns out to be quite an interesting women.  She is about 50 years old and is married to a man with two wives.  She has six children of her own and the husband has a total of 22 children.  Not sure how many the other wife had or if he had other wives at one point in time - but he has been busy.  She is quite traditional, but at the same time quite advanced.  She believes in all the old, traditional ways (wife is subservient, etc), but at the same time wants the children to learn and to experience modern ways.

 

We hang out at her place for a while and discover a number of things.  Her husband has just lost his mother and they are in a period of mourning (that is why Elizabeth had shaved her hair off) and they had family and friends visiting (they would come by for 30 days after the death to pay their respects).  The husband seemed to be very well respected and senior member of the village.

 

At one point in time, the chief of the village came by and he joined in our conversation.  After a while, Elizabeth told us the chief wanted to take us his to home for a drink - we, of course, accepted.  We walked another 200 meters down the road to his compound.  They gathered up a number of chairs and we sat down in his front yard under a large tree.  We bought each other drinks and had a nice chat about the village and what was going on.  During this time, Paolo came by, joined us, and told us that the repair of the truck had failed and that we would be spending another night in the village.  The chief and Elizabeth's husband excused themselves, telling us that they were building a new school building and that they had to go around the village collecting funds for its construction.

 

We then wandered back to the campsite for dinner.  After cleaning up and packing away the dinner stuff, we decide to head back to Elizabeth's to have a bath (she had offered it earlier in the day).  She seemed pleased to see us again and was happy that we would wash up.  She insisted on getting the water from a well across the street, saying that the water did not have as much dirt in it.  We went with her to the well and helped her pull up the buckets of water.  She seemed quite surprised that we could do it. We helped her carry the two buckets back - she carried the bucket on her head.  We the had a bucket bath in her backyard, and did the dirt and dust wash off.  The clean water turned very brown very quickly.

 

After getting a bit cleaner, we head back to the campsite to set up our tent and go to sleep.  Along the way back, we meet some more of the villagers - many of them are impressed that Jacqui remembers their names.  Once we get back and are getting ready to set up our tent, Elizabeth comes back and says that many members of her family want to watch us put up our "canvas" (tent).  It is quite funny and, once again, we know what performing animals must feel like.  Once we are done, we say good night, but they all hang around waiting for us to get in and go to bed.  We quickly brush our teeth with 30 people watching every move and then crawl into our tent.  They hang around outside for quite a while, but after a while we are left in peace to go to sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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