8.31.2013

Cameroon Itinerary: Northwest Region

Bafut Photo via rbairdpccam
Njinikom Photo via The Advocacy Project
Bamenda Coffee Photo via Bill Zimmerman
10 days – 10 days!! Half of me is insanely excited, especially after meeting Colleen, a fellow PCT, last week over coffee. But the other half of me still has a hard time grasping the fact that in just 10 days I’ll be saying goodbye to my family and friends and boarding a plane not to return for 27 months. Despite being 10 days away, my to-do list is getting no shorter, so I anticipate the realization of my imminent departure to delay itself until I am physically boarding my US Airway flight to staging in Philadelphia.

Quand même, I’m here today to continue with my top-3 destinations for the second Anglophone region of Cameroon: The Northwest!
  1. Bamenda: I have little doubt I will visit the capital of the Northwest region at some point given that there are a fair number of Peace Corps volunteers in the area. Bamenda supposedly has a nice climate and scenic landscape and is located in close proximity to the Awing Crater Lake, another site I most definitely want to explore. While I’m sure Bamenda itself offers plenty of attractions, one thing I would love to do when in the area would be to visit coffee plantations. I have worked in coffee shops for almost 6 years, and beginning today, my father is taking over the coffee shop where I had my first job. Needless to say, coffee now courses through the veins of my family, particularly through mine and my dad’s. I hope next year my dad will be able to visit me, and if he does, we well have to take a trip to the coffee fields near and around Northwest region.
  2.  Bafut: I forgot where I first heard of Bafut, perhaps it was in my African architecture and African arts classes I took this year from my Cameroon-expert professor. One thing is for sure, the Bafut palace seems like an architectural treasure-trove. The Bafut Fondom, or chiefdom, has existed for centuries - and by centuries I mean around 700 years! The Fon’s palace, which itself is comprised of over 50 buildings, has been the fulcrum of political authority for the majority of that time. The Fon and his wives still inhabit the palace and continue to hold festivals, traditional dances, and lead tours of many of the buildings. I’m anxiously waiting to visit this palace that I have briefly studied in school and so often viewed through pictures. I’m sure it exceeds expectations in person. And not to mention, nearby is Lake Nyos (yes, that would be the site of the 1986 limnic eruption which suffocated 1,700 people and 3,500 livestock) and Menchum Falls,  both of which are sites I definitely want to see first-hand.
  3. Njinikom: There is a dearth of information regarding Njinikom. In fact, it isn’t mentioned in my guidebook, which mentions quite a few small villages, and Wikipedia only has a sentence to say about it. The only reason that I know of Njinikom is through a current health volunteer’s blog who lives in Njinikom. While Njinikom may not have any specific tourist attractions, it is on the way to Mt. Oku and is near some larger cities, such as Fundong. The main reason I want to visit Njinikom is because it looks like an unimaginably scenic and mountainous destination, n’est-ce pas?

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