Greetings to all who have been wishingme well and wanting to know when I am leaving and what it’s like in Africa! I have arrived!
As scheduled, we left the US on Thurs., Aug. 30. I traveled with Elisabeth Johnson who will be teaching at the seminary in Cameroon (after she has studied French). We arrived in Yaoundé, Cameroon on Fri., Aug. 31 at about 6:30 p.m. (There’s a 5-hour time difference from Pennsylvania to here.) The trip was long (29 hours including travel to the airport and waits at various points), but uneventful overall. The funniest story happened at the Philadelphia airport. We had to sit on the plane for about 20 min. waiting while they rearranged and crammed and struggled with the luggage. We were on a small propeller plane going to Newark and there must have been a lot of people like me who were making international connections because they couldn’t fit all the suitcases into the hold! They got in all the ones for people with international connections and all the carry-on bags, but about 5 people’s luggage had to fly US Air and meet the passengers at their destination! One of the pilots told us about it and said that in 5 years of flying that has never happened to him before! Weight would not be a problem, he assured us, but we had to wait while they tried to pack things as tightly as possible and then make other arrangements for the other stuff!
Joe Troester, who works in Baboua, where I will be, met us at the airport with a taxi driver that he had hired. We had to hire a second taxi to have space for Elisabeth and my bags, plus the two of us, Joe, and drivers! Still, we made it with little difficulty – just some rush hour traffic.
We are staying at the guest house of Wycliffe Associates. This organization is part of SIL (Summer Institute of Linguistics) and works to translate the Bible into diverse languages of the world. They have copies of the Bible in Sango (the national African language of CAR) and Gbaya (the ethnic group and language of western CAR and parts of Cameroon). I have not seen them yet… Anyway, the guest area is part of the annex and located 1-2 km. from the main area. It is a series of buildings built around a grassy area with a few trees and clothes lines. There is also a small building with a thatched roof for meeting, sitting, outside.
Elisabeth and I each have a room with bathroom. Just after we arrived, we went to a French restaurant for dinner. And, for those of you who think that Cameroon is “roughing it,” I took a picture of the dessert I had. This is a restaurant that specializes in the cuisine from Brittany where crepes are popular. I had a tomato and cheese one for dinner and then the Dame Blanche Crepe – crepe, ice cream, chocolate, and whipped cream!
Today has been a rest/recuperate day, basically. We met with two of the people with whom Elisabeth will be working and will have dinner with them and some others this evening. I will meet Rev. Antoinnette, a pastor from CAR who is in Yaoundé finishing her doctorate.
Over the next few days we will be visiting a church (on Sunday of course!), meeting some other people, shopping, getting my visa for CAR… The current plan is to head north Wednesday.
As I write, I can hear the field close by where there is a soccer game. Occasionally, the announcer talks about the game (which, from here, is garbled French) and the rest of the time they are playing loud music – mostly African with an occasional song from the US thrown in.
So, all is well. I am beginning to adjust. I know that these days are important, but I am looking forward to when I can go to Baboua, Central African Republic. (Tentatively that will be Sept. 14 or 15.)
Check back to the blog to get updates and write comments or questions. I’d love to answer whatever you are curious about (as much as I am able…).