Saturday, November 29, 2008

Can it still be called Thanksgiving if the turkey wasn’t invited?

The answer, of course, is yes! Last Thursday us Americans took over the Garoua PC office and cooked everything that would be at a Thanksgiving feast…except the turkey. The pilgrims would be so proud. It was actually amazing that we pulled it off: we had four burners (and no oven) to cook a feast for 50 people. Hopefully I will be able to put up all the pics that I wanted to.

Here is proof that there never can be too many cooks in the kitchen. In the foreground are the guacamole makers, then the onion cutter, and in the background the garlic is being diced for the garlic mashed potatoes. So the menu was deviled eggs, stuffing, peanut butter squash (I was on that team), garlic mashed potatoes and stuffed tomatoes. All we needed was Mama Delaney’s scalloped potatoes. Oh well!

The chicken is being grilled over an open flame; thanks to the chicken team, they turned out really delicious and almost made up for the sans turkey meal.

And for dessert, there was a fruit salad and oatmeal raisin cookie balls. Here, the pineapples and the watermelon are being sliced up.

Our chief organizer, Allison, stops for a breather…and some wine.

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a little pigskin. OK so it’s made out of pagne, but its genius, right? Caitlyn is showing us exactly how it’s done.

I really can’t say what’s going on here. The only appropriate caption I can think of is: Is there such thing as too much fun on Turkey Day?

I hope everyone had an excellent Thanksgiving and ate an extra slice of turkey swimming in gravy in my name. I’m guessing Black Friday will be a bit different this year with floundering economic situation. Don’t worry, I’ll be back in two years and everything will go back to normal.

Gobble gobble (xoxoxo)

ps: As per requested, I put my phone number and where my post is on Facebook. In about a week I won't have cell service regularly, so letters/emails will be the better option. If you don't have facebook call Mama Delaney.

pps: In case some of you can't get enough of PC Cameroon, I put some other blogs on the left side of the page. At least check them out for the pictures. No but really, all of them are way more insightful and introspective than mine so enjoy!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Roosters and mice and ants, oh my!

I dedicating this blog addition to all creatures great and small, especially those of that are gracing Cameroon. Things just grow larger here: not only are there bees the size of my big toe, spiders, giant mosquitoes, but also the avocadoes, bananas, carb portions, and beer are supersized.

Last week, after doing my laundry, the two roosters in my compound decided that it was a good time to have a cock fight. The feathers on their necks stuck straight out and they circled each other with their heads close to the ground. Then one would strike the other with its beak and then try to jump on him. Repeat. It went on like this until I left for school (about 20 minutes). For some reason I thought a cock fight would be more exciting.

A month ago I was eating dinner with my family when a neighbor came in and pointed out that there were tons of ants coming out from underneath the trunk next to me. When I say tons, I mean millions; I’ve never seen this many ants in my life! They were carrying these little white balls, which turned out to be eggs. My little brothers started jumped into action and started sweeping the ants in a pile. They then added paper and lit the pile on Fire! I had escaped to the couch and watched as more and more ants were swept into the pile to burn. For a last touch, my mom came in with the kerosene to drown and burn the ants at the same time. I don’t think this should be tried at home; I don’t think Americans are skilled in the ways of burning ants. (If you want to know more about the dangers of ant burning, talk to my dad.)

A few days ago, I woke at about midnight to the pitter-patter of little feet racing around my bedroom floor. I know I really shouldn’t have been that nervous after my run ins with mice in my apartment last year (viva murray!), but I was in a cold sweat imagining the sort of giant rodent that could have emerged from the hole in the floor next to my trunk. Of course my mind jumped to the scene in The Princess Bride when they are escaping through the forest and those giant creatures start attacking them (were they called Rodent’s of Unusual Size?). I did manage fall back asleep after convincing myself that my mosquito net was an impenetrable shield.

So I haven’t been exposed to any real trauma, except that I woke up one day with a cockroach as long as my pinky finger sitting on my collar bone. RIP cockroach, you chose the wrong place to take a nap.

Since I don’t have any pictures of any animals, here’s one of me with my pange dress. Notice the 80s side ponytail matches the shoulders. Lovely, I know.

Until next time, my friends.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Drumroll please…and my post is

Yeah, you should probably keep holding your breath for exact details of where I will be spending my two years—PC doesn’t allow that info to be public. I will be in the Extreme North near Mokolo, a city on the western part of the province, near Nigeria. If that description doesn’t satisfy you, feel free to email/facebook/smoke signal me.

Last week I visited my post with my postmate Matt, an agro volunteer; we’re replacing a married couple. This has created some confusion about whether or not Matt and I are married, but hopefully us living in separate houses will remedy that. So this post is one of the few that is without electricity, cell service, and running water—let’s hear it for the old school PC experience! When I told my homestay family of the electricity and cell service situation they told me that I was going to suffer, I believe the exact words were “Que suffrage!” Now that’s a bit of an exaggeration, when I travel to Mokolo about once a week cell service, internet, faucets, and light switches will be plentiful. But otherwise, handcrank radios, head lamps, candles, and kerosene lamps will be my life.

The post is nestled in the mountains and is completely beautiful. As usual, my limited vocab isn’t doing it justice so here are some pics of a hike we took, but the only way you can truly appreciate is if you came to visit. (hint hint)

There are massive rocks here; I think this place got some volcanic action at some point. For a point of reference, Matt’s in the pic, so you can see how ginormous they are.

Nigeria in the distance, right over those hills.

The health volunteer I’m replacing did a ton of projects, especially with midwives and pre/post natal care. She also did extensive research on the village, which has a population of about 47,000 spread over a large area. My counterpart, the doctor at the health center, has an extension action plan for my first 3 months at post, starting with a meeting about 3 days after I get there. No easing in for me, this is a jump off the high board with my clothes on kind of deal.

Halloween Party
Totally off topic, the stagiers had a Halloween party just before we left for site visit.

From left to right we have a Fanta Girl, Caitlyn being me, Sarah Palin, 1/3 of Charlie’s Angels, Chiquita Banana, 2/3 of Charlie’s Angels, and a Hula Dancer. Very creative for not having a Party City I must say.

I, the last third of the Charlie’s Angles, crew and Caitlyn is me. Apparently I rock the side ponytail and swish around long skirts and dresses obliviously.

Barack Rocks it in Cameroon

For the past two weeks, we’ve been getting a lot of double fist pumps and Barack Obama calls everywhere we go. His picture is everywhere and many stores have changed their names to include our future president’s name somewhere. For example, Garoua now has a Barack Obama Coiffure. As one women excitedly told me with a lot of fist pump action, “Hy ya Hy ya Hy ya Barack Obama.”

He should come and visit.

New Address

So I’ve placed my new address in the info on the left side of the page so please check it out! Hopefully things will get to me a bit faster than they have been while I’ve been in stage. (It’s almost done and the only thing I’ve gotten is the conditioner I sent myself.) I promise to send long, dull letters to you—when I’m without electricity pen pals will be part of my daily dose of sanity. For those who want to send me a package I have some ideas below to help guide you. Warning: it’s really expensive so letters would be fabulous too. To make mailing easier it’s best to send in one of those package envelopes and to write my name as Soeur Cara Delaney (I guess being a nun makes you immune to pillagers). You should also put what's in the package. As in write: old books, rotten tennis shoes, and other things people won't be curious about.

The List:

Chocolate—it’s going to be a melty mess, but I’m ok with that.

Mixed CDs—with artist and song name somewhere so that I’ve not completely uncool when I come back (siblings your on this)

Granola/Chewy/Cereal Bars

Instant Oatmeal – preferably peaches & cream, strawberries & cream, cinnamon, and apple cinnamon

Small Cookie packets—so I can eat them in one go, because the ants are CRAZY here

AAA batteries—Cameroon batteries stink

Old DVDs—cause there are no promises that you’re going to see them again

Old Magazines—maybe some with dress/skirt design ideas so that I can make clothes (think conservative/chic)

Candy, funny clippings, etc

Sorry for writing a book. It’s been a while. Love!