“Marshmallow peeps? Are you serious?” I was in my parents’ house in
About 60 hours after I left
The following day we had a brief tour of N’Djamena with the car and driver Kate had hired, and around noon we headed for the nearby border with
Our first stop in
The warmth and friendliness of Africans is a well-worn stereotype and a staple of travel literature, but I have indeed found Cameroonians to be incredibly welcoming. The term for white people/foreigners here is “nassara,” and when we walk around Kate’s town we reliably hear little children shouting “Nassara! Nassara! Bonsoir!” (good evening). I sometimes refer to myself as the super-nassara to distinguish myself—unfavorably, of course—from Kate, who actually lives here, speaks the language and wears the clothes. Kate brought me around and introduced me to some of her favorite locals, including Bouba, the energetic and incredibly motivated secretary-treasurer of the microfinance institution she works with; and her tailor, who vociferously praised Kate’s virtues and promised to make the outfits for our wedding.
It was neither the first nor the last time the questions and assumptions about me and Kate were flying. I watched with fascination as Kate explained to one of her female neighbors, who is part of a polygamous household, how marriage and household affairs are different in the
No illnesses or serious problems with the heat to report yet—so far, so good. I find the main difficulty is that my stomach doesn’t enjoy absorbing the volume of water my body requires to stay hydrated. We have a few more days in the North before the long trip to Yaoundé, so hopefully I will have a chance to post again before then.