Monday, December 22, 2008

From Trainee to Volunteer (written Dec. 7)

As of last Thursday, I am now an official Peace Corps Volunteer! This means that I somehow passed my language training. I don’t really know how though because I lost my voice that day and was slightly disorientated from the cold medication that I took earlier that day, but it happened. It’s good to finally be done with training, but a little bittersweet to leave the 28 American’s that I’ve been incessantly hanging out with for three months.

We had the ceremony at the superfey’s house (kind of a more important mayor). The U.S. ambassador to Cameroon came along with tons of government officials from the area and the PC Director. It was a lot of pomp and circumstance and more than a little bit uncomfortable because of the black pagne all the girls had to wear, but very exciting as it was my second graduation this year.

The boys in their bou-bous.

The girl’s in the black pagne that absorbs the sun.

One of the musician’s that played music, before and during the ceremony.

With my homestay brother, mom, and sister. Notice the chickens and eggs on my mom’s pagne. They also have pagne with fans, oil cans, Paul Biya, toasters; I’m sure my fashion taste will only improve here. I heard through the grapevine that Obama pagne might be coming to Cameroon at some point.

After 11 weeks of training, I’m not sure I’m completely capable of making my own schedule, cooking my own food, and basically taking care of myself. I’m sure I’ll figure it out. So far I’ve helped Thea, a volunteer living in Mokolo, clean/rearrange her house because I’ll be staying there a fair amount to get fresh veggies, internet, and do banking. Tomorrow I’ll be moving to my post, but unfortunately not my house as I would like to some furniture in it before I settle in it. I’m a little bit nervous, but mostly excited to start meeting people in my community and begin the two years.

Drinking some billy bill at another trainees house. It's an alcoholic drink made from mill and tastes like balsalmic vineger.