Saturday, December 03, 2011

La Fin ...

... du stage (i.e. the end of training). Oh, blog, how I've neglected thee. How can I make it up to you? How about some pictures? Pourquoi pas? Since I last blogged, I visited three more regions in Cameroon. There's the West region where we had some problems with our van sliding into a ditch. Fortunately, no one was hurt:

Western Cameroon

There was also the Northwest region, where it rained a lot:

donc on doit porter un impermeable la.

And finally, there's the South region, which I visited before, but not 'en brusse' (in the bush). I had to take a bush taxi, which a Peace Corps volunteer called a clown car since they stuff so many people in there:

Muddy roads make bush taxis act like bumper cars - Somewhere under all those plantains is my backpack

Aside from the awesome field trips, my training is nearly over. 53 of us trainees will be sworn in as PC volunteers next week. The following day, we will go our separate ways to our posts all over Cameroon. Its a little bittersweet. On the one hand, its a little sad to say goodbye to everyone. We probably won't see each other that much in Cameroon after swearing in. On the other hand, I think we are happy to start the next phase of our Peace Corps career. One thing is for sure: it'll be weird not to be around so many Americans in Cameroon.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


There has been no electricity at our training site for a few days now. We have a generator at school, but at home, there's no power. Thus, I have had to use a petrol lamp to write a paper:

We got our bikes yesterday though, so now we can get around town more easily.

On a lighter note:

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Quand Il Pleut ...

After a month of French immersion in the city of Ebolowa with 8 other trainees, we joined 45 new trainees to [undisclosed location] for technical training and more French. The difference with the new location is that there are often water shortages here. There's no running water at the house of my host family. I go with my host brother to the well (or forage) and get my drinking water. My host brother tells me that the well is only for drinking. I have gotten used to using 1/2 a bucket of water for bathing and also in using the bucket to 'flush' the toilet. For bathing and flushing the toilet, there is a tank of water outside the house which seems to be filled when it rains. I don't see how they fill this tank though when it doesn't rain. It seems to rain every other day though, so I'm cool for now. So for the moment, when it rains, je suis hereux!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Engager La Communité

I realize that the Peace Corps is all about cross-cultural exchange. For example, I get a lot of shouts of 'Ni Ho' or of people saying I am Japanese or Chinese or even of kids acting out kung fu moves. Such is life for an Asian American volunteer in Cameroon. I realize however that I have to engage the community. So in the above example, I need to respond. Responses could be 'Pensez-vous que je suis japonais ou chinois' (Do you think I am Japanese or Chinese) ou 'Pensez-vous que tous les gens d Asie savent kung fu?' Its an opportunity for cross cultural exchange and to teach them about the Philippines and that not all Asians are Chinese or Japanese.
Another thing I realize about life in Cameroon is that one has to be assertive. Par example, I went to dinner with several trainees but the food they brought us was cold. Peace Corps has advised us to always make sure that the food we eat at restaurants is hot. It was especially bad for me because I had ordered pork which has the greatest risk of carrying parasites if not properly cooked. My fellow trainees ate only the rice and avoided the meat. Me and another trainee however decided to eat the food. We didn't get sick but others later told us that we should've said: 'Pouvez-vous réchauffer la nourriture, s'il vous plait? Si ce n'est pas possible, nous ne pouvons pas manger et nous devons laisser sans payer?. Translated as: Could you heat the food, please? If its not possible, then we cannot eat the food and we have to leave without paying.

Saturday, September 03, 2011


Its been a time of change for me. For instance, its been a change of location. I've been in Cameroon as a Peace Corps trainee now for about two weeks. We've all been working on our French and are starting to know our way around town. The place reminds me a lot of the Philippines:
View of our house in Ebolowa
Other changes include my Facebook habit. I haven't been on Facebook in more than a month. What's funny is that there's a lot of too-much-information info on Facebook, like people discussing their bowel movements. Yet in the Peace Corps, not a day goes by without someone discussing their bowel movements. Another thing I changed is the number of posts I show on my blog. I decided to remove the really personal and possibly controversial posts from my blog. I may repost them in the future, but I just want to make sure my blog is Peace Corps safe. C'est tous pour maintenant. A bientot!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

See You Soon in Cameroon!

Well, now I've really done it. I am at a hotel in Philadelphia right now, preparing for my departure tomorrow. I am leaving the country to become an Agroforestry volunteer in Cameroon for 2 years (28 months to be exact). I have to learn French since that's one of their official languages. So I get to use those funny symbols on top of letters like é (as in cliché) or è (as in 'pas de problème') or û (as in 'Je vais partir en août'). I probably also have to convert everything to the metric system. Sacré bleu! So until next time, au revoir!