11.19.2013

Life on Medical Hold in Yaounde

Screening children at the local primary school for malnutrition

Long time, no update – and for that I apologize. Things have been a bit hectic lately. So here is a brief recap of recent events:

Halloween
Halloween was a blast. We all went and spent the night at a hotel in Bafia and had a party in the Salle de Conference. The bar at the hotel was awful (only beer!) so I frequented the nearby bars to buy sachets of whiskey (coffee whiskey, anyone?) to mix with fruit juice. Everyone dressed up in costumes and danced the night away. My original plan of dressing as palm wine failed as a result of not finding a way to attach leaves to myself. Instead, I was Rose from Titanic…because it was easy. The night was filled with drinking, dancing, and Lookman twerking. After a few hours of sobering up, Spencer and I ran around the dance floor to collect all the empty bottles and we ran them to the neighboring bar – collecting 100cfa for each bottle, which won Spencer a free beer and me more free whiskey sachets. That’s called being thrifty! We all spent the night in the hotel with walls covered in carpet and left the next morning back to Bokito to enjoy spaghetti omelets and coffee together. Halloween was great overall!
My first French class on Halloween! Liz, me, and Lara

Safety and Security Tour
This past Saturday our group headed to Yaoundé for a tour of the city so that we aren’t completely lost when we have to spend time here. The day began with us Easties breaking off into a group (with Keegan – the lone Southerner). We made a trip to the bus station that we will leave from on Friday to see which Agences take us to the various towns in the East and to see which Agences take us to other regions in Cameroon. We then went to one Agence and discussed a price for renting out a bus to take us all to Bertoua on Friday. For the price of $200, we settled it. 4 people - $200 – 1 long day of travel. After doing that we headed over to the Moulin de France for lunch where we enjoyed a legitimate lunch of the most amazing bread, salads, and pizza in a very nice and Western-esque style restaurant. We went downstairs for gelato (raspberry and dark chocolate!) and then headed over to Casino – a huge western style grocery store full of fantastic imported goods. The grocery store itself nearly brought me to tears. Nearly everything you could want is here. Bee pollen for 10$ - check! 10kg of cheddar cheese – check! Halloween costumes – check! The only things lacking are decent razors and deodorant. Before heading to post I plan on stocking up on bee pollen, lentils, and dried fruit so I don’t starve to death in my first few weeks at post.  It overall was a very nice day spent with my group of fellow Easties and it got me extremely excited to head to post!

Med Hold
Chinese food in Yaounde!
So technically I could have written this post days ago because I’ve had constant access to internet because…dun dun dun…I’m on medical hold in Yaoundé. What started as 2 weeks of being unable to poop ended with me in Yaoundé to get checkout out and ultimately turned into 3 weeks of me not being able to poop along with a recently acquire nasty eye infection! I arrived in Yaoundé last Tuesday where I was rushed around giving blood samples and getting ultrasounds to make sure I don’t have a hyperthyroid problem. I enjoyed a nice Chinese meal (veggies and tofu – oh my!) with Lara, my fellow med hold girl – but soon after I vomited all the goodness up because it was apparently a big change from my normal diet absolute crap. At night, the doctor prescribed me to drink oil – yes oil – to lube up my system (her words, not mine). All that ended up doing was making me vomit all night. Fun times.  

Now one week later, I’m almost pooping (many thanks to 1.5 liter smoothies) and it appears like I don’t have to be medivaced to Rabat, Morrocco! However, apparently I traded one problem for the next when I woke up unable to open my eye yesterday. Sorry for the details, but puss glued my eyes shut over night and when I peeled it all off in the morning, the inside of my eye was deep red and turning brown/black underneath  with a mysterious white bump on the inside of the eyelid.  I had to return to Bokito just for a few hours to get my swearing in dress and to pack all my things at home in an hour to move out and when I got back to Yaoundé, the doctor informed me I have developed an eye infection – yay for more medications! Last night it appeared as if I wouldn’t leave for post on Friday, but as of this morning it looks like I can since my eye is getting a bit better!


Despite my strict diet of 8 drinkable laxatives a day and meds that give my intestines spasms, I’ve been really enjoying my time in Yaoundé. This is actually a very nice city with great food. I’ve been spoiling myself with pizza from Moulin de France twice, with shawarma, with Chinese food, and smoothies. It’s been great. I have my own room at the case since I’m here for medical reasons and the case is filled with volunteers COSing. It’s interesting to witness their emotions just before leaving the country after two and a half years here.  In addition to meeting COSing volunteers, I’ve met many East volunteers! Best of all I’ve met my postmates, Danny and Grant. They are both awesome! All the hype I heard was correct! Grant is really chill, kind, and funny and Danny is wild, comedic, and really awesome. They will be the best postmates! Danny even showed me pictures of my future house – which is partially attached to Grant’s house. My house looks nice and big, my indoor latrine doesn’t look awful, and the house looks clean. Danny has added some nice shelves and storage in the kitchen and repainted the bedroom to a nice green color. It looks like work still needs to be done on the inside, but it nonetheless looks great! There is even fishing in Lomié and a nice new bar that opened up. I even saw the platfort that Grant built behind his house and it is awesome! I’ve received much more info on Lomié, but that deserves its own post which I will likely write tomorrow after I swear in.
Enjoying gelato at a boulangerie in Yaounde

Allez Les Lions! (pictures to come)
The only benefit of being on medical hold was that on Sunday I was able to purchase tickets to the Cameroon – Tunisia soccer/football match which was the qualifying game for the Brazil World Cup. I bought my ticket, my Cameroon jersey, and a nice Cameroon wrist band. Nearly 30 people at the case headed over to the game together and I sat with mostly East people. We had fantastic seats with an unparalleled view! The game was outrageous. Within the first five minutes Cameroon scored and a few minutes later they scored again! After halftime Tunisia scored once, but Cameroon soon followed with another goal – ended the game 4-1 for Cameroon. CAMEROON IS GOING TO THE WORLD CUP! The stadium went crazy. I was lifted up in the area by my postmate Danny and everyone was jumping up and down, hugging, and spraying beer everywhere. I was the only one in my stage to go to the game since the others were in Bafia and technically forbidden to go. It was a once in a lifetime experience and an awesome way to celebrate nearly becoming a volunteer.
Tomorrow I swear in as an official Peace Corps Volunteer and you can watch the ceremony here if you are so inclined at 4am EST. 

While everyone else in my stage will go back to Bafia to spend the night partying, I’ll still be stuck in Yaoundé on medical hold. C’est la vie! But at least that means I’ll be able to write a new post about my site and about swearing in. On Thursday the East group spends the night in the case before we leave on Friday and we plan on going out to Hilton happy hour and Indian food with Cody who is going to work for UNICEF in the North. Fun times to come!

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