Clean Water

A watertank under construction

Catching rats

We spent the morning of day 7 looking round the RTC and its surroundings, with Boniface and Vitalis the caretaker showing us their beehives, sheep and other things. If you’ve ever wondered how to build a rat trap, to catch rats for food, Boniface kindly explained: video of how to catch rats.

After lunch we set off for Nseni, our second village. The journey wasn't long at all, perhaps half an hour in a 4x4, although the track was in fairly poor condition in places. The worst place was a series of broken tree trunks intended to form a slightly better surface through a particularly bad patch of mud, but evidently laid out for walking on and not for cars. The first person we met in Nseni was Isaiah; we waited around for a while we he found the rest of the water committee, who included (confusingly for us) another Boniface. The house we stayed in here did at least have two indoor taps, though not attached to sinks. There was also a dilapidated motorbike standing in one corner of the living room.

In the evening, our hosts took us to a local bar in the centre of the village. This was great fun and I had a good time, despite the communication difficulties. Surprisingly, since I'd expected the opposite, it seemed to be much more difficult for other people to understand me than the reverse. Although people were chatting and drinking in various groups, it was clear that everyone knew everyone, much like a pub in a small village in Britain, though quite different from a bar in a city. One difference between the bars here and in Britain is the early bed-times: I had the impression we stayed out for a late night by Cameroonian standards - we were the last group to leave the bar - and we were home before 9. At least we didn't have a long walk back, as the house we were staying in was only a couple of doors away. (Actually, in many parts of the village, that could be a long walk still, but we were staying in the centre where houses are much closer together.)

I guess the early bed times are a consequence of the lack of reliable electricity and early sunsets, as days tend to start pretty early here too: most people are up by 6 at the latest, and 7 is considered a normal time to start work or call round on people.

Day 8: A look round Ntseni

© Aidan Reilly 2013