Clean Water

A watertank under construction

Days 10 & 11: A hospital, a palace & a cooking lesson

Day 10: Back to Kumbo

Saturday morning came, and with it the full force of a tropical sun. We packed and prepared to head back to Kumbo; we were getting a lift with Boniface's brother, and stood around near his car waiting for a couple of other people. It was barely 8.30, and yet the sun was already fierce. I decided that we'd only felt it through clouds on previous days, and I sat in the shade to avoid burning to a cinder.

After arriving back at the LAP Centre and sorting our things - doing washing, etc. - we went into town to meet up with Ivonne and Ivolyn. They took us to see Shisong hospital, one of the best in Cameroon, and then to the palace of the Fon (traditional ruler). Traditionally, the Fon was a bit like a feudal king in European states; he had vassal chiefs in surrounding villages who would pay tribute, and in exchange could run affairs in their own villages. The office of Fon was also inherited - along with his wives. The current Fon, apparently, has 50 wives. I didn't think to ask how many of those were his father's, or whether he's married to his own mother or not. It was strange to see traditional customs like these, along with the values they represent, sitting alongside comparatively 'normal Western' attitudes that have been imported over the past couple of hundred years.

Day 11: Cameroonian Cooking

On Sunday, Ivonne and Ivolyn came round after church. We spent the afternoon in the market buying food, and then went back to the LAP centre to cook lunch-dinner. We were in the middle of cooking a typical dish of black beans and rice, when the gas bottle ran out. We finished cooking over an open fire; it was nothing unusual to the twins, while for me it brought back memories of camping in the Lake District. Actually, it made me think, I'm not sure when I last cooked over an open fire - on all the camping trips I've taken recently I've carried a gas stove with me. It was turning to dusk by the time we finished eating, the short, fast sunset of the equator. We'd planned to watch a film, but there was no electricity, so instead we chatted into the early evening.

Day 12: Heading to Djottin

© Aidan Reilly 2013