9.26.2013

I Witnessed a Murder

My House in Bokito, Centre
 Today a bloody murder occurred in Bokito - and I was a witness.
 But before I get into that, let me explain my first day of school. I woke up at 5:45 to shower and get ready to cook my eggs with piment (a very famous Cameroonian spice made from palm oil that is used in almost everything). After eating my eggs and leftover fried plantains, I walked over the Bokito training center where us health volunteers gathered and left for Bafia for training with the two other groups.

In Bafia our group debriefed  the first night of their homestay. Some had some interesting experiences, that’s for sure! The only odd contributions that I could make was that my mom got me drunk and I was woken at 1am to my poor kitten Pascale being attacked my a mystery animal in the kitchen for a half an hour (I can only assume it was a snack given that our door is locked).

After our debriefing, we had a short coffee and beignet break - just what the doctor ordered on a 90+ degree day! Later on we head some security lessons, lunch, and our first French lesson!
Anthonase
My French class consists of me, Liz, and Lara - two other health stagiers. Our teacher is Anthonase, a young Cameroonian from the Center region. Anthonase is very kind, patient, and he gives us this ridiculous smirk when he is trying to hold back from laughing at us. For those of you who have read The Poisonwood Bible, he quite reminds me of the character Anatole.

At the end of the day, us health volunteers were immediately shuttled back to village life in Bokito. I went for a 20 minute run around Bokito and discovered it is indeed small but also somewhat charming. During my run, several people clapped for me and gave me thumbs up. One guy came up and ran with me for some time before he asked for my phone number, to which I lied and said I had no phone. I finished my run wit hteh sun setting on the horizon and casting the sky deep shades of red, purple, and orange. A classic African sunset indeed. They never disappoint.

A la maison, I made…can you guess?…eggs! I am beginning to think that is all my momma thinks I eat. Tonight though was special, I was allowed to use some of the frozen tomatoes in the freezer in my eggs. Oh yum! Also in the freezer was a giant severed goose head and neck. “C’est la viande!”, Luke exclaimed to me.
One of Hundreds of Cockroaches
I prepared my eggs in the dark because the power was out in Bokito - Quelle Surprise! While I quite like wearing my headlamp, I have quickly learned to hate it. When the lights go out, the cockroaches come out…quickly! Therefore, anywhere I turned my headlamp, the cockroaches scurried away. No matter where I was, my bedroom, the kitchen, or the bathroom, poor little cockroaches ran from my light in fear. Perhaps the more fearful one was me!

After cooking I went back outside to sit with momma, Alene and her friend Sarah and I listened to them gossip as I watched the skyline at the lightening in the distance. After an hour momma exclaimed ‘On va bore!’ - Lets go drink! Oi, again!

Instead of going to La Combattant we instead headed to a placed called Boyabe, owned by Bobo. Instead of a beer, I ordered a grapefruit soda because I was intent on not going to bed drunk that night! After finishing up at the bar after 30 minutes we walked back. When I went into my room that night a nice surprise awaited me. No, the surprise wasn’t the cockroaches that I am becoming accustomed to, but rather a frog.

As I opened my clothing trunk (which was closed!), I shone my headlamp onto my clothes and I saw a pair of reflected, beady eyes looking back at me. My brain didn’t register the sight for about a minute until  I realized something was gravely awry. I squeeled and ran over to momma’s room to explain the occurrence. Momma didn’t seem too concerned. She first tried to explain to me that it would sort itselt out - but after I explained that I needed to close my clothing drunk and my door to sleep, then she realized this was something that needed to be sorted out.

Momma took a broom from the kitchen and came to my room. She shooed the frog who was sitting quite comfortably amongs my bras and then proceeded to chase him around my room and my belongings for 20 minutes. After cornering him between my suitecase and the wall she lifted the broom and took a stab - but only managing to pin the leg. Momma lifted the broom again and took another stab at the frog - this time landing square on his back, piercing the frog with ease. Le grenouille est mort; vivant longue le grenoille! The frog was promptly swept into the kitchen and left, presumably as dinner for Pascale. I returned to my room and entered my mosquito net fortress where no wild animals can penetrate (at least that is what I tell myself). From my bed I glanced to the location of the murder. A red blood stain now marks where the heinous crime was committed. Alas, a murder occurred before my eyes, but nonetheless, I’ll sleep well tonight.

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