It seems that when I moved to a
I decided to stay longer than the standard 27 months because I wanted to get more experience in international development work, particularly in public health. Even though saying goodbye to almost all of the volunteers in my training group was really difficult, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work with Plan International. Turns out I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t done with Peace Corps- out of 33 in our group 8 of us are continuing our volunteer service either in Cameroon, China or Guinea. Reason #214 why I love my group.
I did the two day move across the country to my
Before I dive in I just want to say it’s not all bad! Bamenda is a wonderful city. Its surrounded mountains and waterfalls which I love even more after living in the flat forest. No more sticky heat and humidity- its 10am and I’m wearing a fleece. Although everyday for the past 3 months it downpours for a good 4 hours because its, yeah you guessed- rainy season. I mean every single day. It’s gotten old, but at least I know I can get water. And finally, the people are the nicest, motivated, hard working Cameroonians I have ever met.
On to the bad part. Lets just say, when I moved in May I hit a streak of bad luck. Life in general is bit harder due to the fact that it takes longer to do everything, communication is exhausting, always figuring out how things work- and then to add on top of that a series of unlucky events…. It wasn’t fun. I won’t go into it, but I will share some other things about my new life.
The official language of the Northwest and Southwest is English, but not American English. You’ve probably heard the differences between British and American English. Multiply that by ten. Here the differences a much bigger. Learning how to adjust my accent and speak slowly was painful. Here are some examples that I always forget:
What I call a… Is actually called….
Moto Bike = Okada
Taxi Car= Moto
Plastic bag = Paper
This is one of my favorite examples….another volunteer speaking to her work colleagues
What she said: “It’s too hot to wear pants today”
Translation: “I’m too sexually aroused to wear underwear today”
Should have said: “I’m feeling heat so I will not wear trousers today”
Pidgin = Translation
You get chop for chop? = Do you have food to eat?
Wahala = Trouble
Nahow = How are you?
Ma belly don flop =I’m full
Runny stomach =Diarrhea
The most prominent word I hear about 20 times a day (even I say it a lot) is “Ashia” definition: sorry for you. Then you always have to say thank you back. I wouldn’t call
Speaking of jobs, I work on a child survival project that focuses on malaria, malnutrition, immunization, pneumonia and diarrhea in pikins (pidgin for kids) under 5 years old and mothers. Its one of USAID’s largest project child survival projects that has directly affected 200,000 children and 450,000 women of reproductive age here in
Plan also worked in health centers to train staff on identifying, properly treating, giving quality care, etc for those same illnesses that I mentioned in the beginning. When you go to the hospital, a nurse or doctor does a routine pre-consultation that includes checking your weight, checking your temperature, then they ask you a series of questions. Well it’s not routine everywhere and that is just one example of what Plan was trying to improve. The method of managing childhood illnesses Plan and the Ministry of Health in
A 12 month operations research was added to the project last November in one of the health districts were we work. Each community nominated a couple of people to become Community Health Workers (CHW). The only qualifications needed were to be able to read and write. Then Plan trained them on how to diagnose and treat pneumonia cases with oral amoxicillin. In
So that is kind of a glimpse at what I’ve been doing. There’s a lot more to the project and I could go on and on about the success but I’ll stop. The project finished last week and the work load has lessened a lot. I’m going into the office only in the mornings now which has made be a much happier and better person. Wish I could post pictures but my camera was stolen literally the second day I moved here. I’ll try to grab some from other volunteers. Alright, thanks for reading. I’m off to the market to get a chicken.