12.09.2013

Moving (on up!)

Trapped on the Road when our Vehicle Broke Down...on the Good Road
After being homeless (displaced) for three weeks, first in Yaounde and then in Bertoua, I finally have moved to post! I was one of the last people from my stage to arrive at post, so while everyone was settling in, I was still living in limbo in Bertoua. But finally Sunday arrived and I began my long trek to Lomié (or as Danny likes to call it: #LittleYaounde).

After getting one last avocado salad with an omelet and a side of chai(s), Danny and I made our way with all my things to the bus station. Given that I was basically moving an entire house’s worth of things with me, I had to buy out (depot) an entire taxi. All my things were miraculously stuffed in the trunk of the taxi when we realized that despite me paying $26 to depot the car, we did not in fact depot it because four people (+ child) climbed on in the back seats. That left Danny and me to share the front seat, which inevitably turned into me sitting on the stick shift. 2 hours and a very sore and bruised left butt cheek later, we arrived in Abong Mbang where Danny and I met up with the taxi driver who would take me to Lomié.

I reloaded all my belongings into the new taxi and we drove over to Matt’s house to pick up my suitcase, my metal trunk and my bike (all of which fit on top of the taxi). After no time at all, we headed on our way. The road from Abong Mbang to Lomié quickly turned into a blood red dirt path in the rainforest. Thankfully it hadn’t rained in the recent days, so the road was still OK. 2 hours later we reached the halfway point – Mindarou. Mindarou is a truck stop. It is where the logging company, who hauls tree trunks that are thousands of years old out of the rainforest and into the developed world to be made into what I presume into IKEA furniture. The logging company built stock houses for its workers which gives the village a very Brave New World feel. We quickly breezed through Mindarou and continued on our dirty path to Lomié.

The road from Mindarou to Lomie is in much worse condition since it is much less traveled. The majority of the logging and deforestation is currently happening between Abong Mbang and Mindarou since that area is a protected biosphere and isn’t a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The road to Lomié was bumpy, to say the least, and as the rain came, it became increasingly slippery, causing us to dovetail quite a few times.

Halfway between Mindarou and Lomié a large boubiller/gremoullier (giant logging truck with 3-4 large tree trunks) was stuck mid-road. With little we can do until the drivers literally dig their truck out of the mud pit with machetes, Danny and I decided to get up and stretch our legs (since we were still sharing the front seat). We walked and walked down the dirt path in the middle of the rainforest. Surrounding us were giant bamboo trees and little paths into the forest. In one area, Danny and I decided to take one of the paths into the forest. After hiking down a very steep and slippery hill we came across a lagoon with bamboo trees coming out of the water. A fisherman’s pirogue (long, thin, and shallow fishing canoe) sat near the shore. After admiring the beautiful view for a few moments, Danny noticed a hunter far off in the distance. We decided to run before he thought our movements were that of his prey. Danny and I continued down the path and on our way back to our trapped car, we ran into the same hunter and his dog. The hunter carried a large sack on his back, which he took off, opened, and showed us his kill – a porcupine and a lievre – a small antelope-like animal, apparently. He asked if we wanted to buy any and we politely declined. He seemed happy because he told us that the porcupine was his dinner. I glanced at the dead porcupine and saw large white worms and maggots making their way through the eyes and ears of the porcupine and thanked God that was not my dinner!

When we made it back to the car, the big logging truck was dislodged. Our driver and I quickly hopped back in the taxi to make sure we were the first car to move so we wouldn't get stuck behind another logging truck which was slowing trying to progress forth. We made it through and continued on our route. For the next 4 hours we traveled through the thick rainforest and through sporadic Baka pygmy villages. As we approached Lomie, Danny pointed out a large clearing in the forest with white X’s on the tree trunks. Danny explained that is where witchcraft and sorcery is practiced. Apparently people venture into the forest to cast their spells and make sacrifices (to which Danny hinted are quite gruesome sacrifices). Around 45 minutes the sun set and we arrived in Lomié.

We pulled up in front of my house, tried to get in and realized that the lock had dropped and now lodged the door shut. We chipped away at the cement to dislodge the door so we could unlock it. After successfully breaking into my house, we unloaded my things and quickly headed to dinner. Danny showed me the town center, which is much larger than Bokito’s. Bars were alight and blasting music, moto men buzzed about, spaghetti omelet shacks were busy at work, and the town was really abuzz.

One of My Spider Enemies and Soon-to-be Kill


Danny took me to his favorite fish mama, Ann, who prepared us some nice mackerel with condiment vert, and grilled baton de manioc – truly one of my favorite meals! Danny and I dug our fingers into the fish while seated at Lomie’s newest and hippest bar, Polygone. After we finished, Danny walked me home. I entered my house alone with my things scattered about my living room.  I couldn’t see a thing in my new house and I felt a bit lost and lonely. With little else I could do, I took my mattress to the master bedroom, laid out my sheets, and put on my headlamp and tried to fall asleep. Wearing the headlamp was a mistake because once I lit it, I saw the cockroaches scurry away while the large hand-size spiders with glistening fake eyes on their back, stared back at me from above my bed. Terrified to say the least, I didn’t sleep a wink and instead chose to text Spencer and my mom to pass the hours until the sun rose. I spent the night with much uncertainty of both my house and Lomie, but thankfully this would be the only night that I spent with such uncertainty, because the next morning, I’d find that my expectations of Lomié would be far outshone by the reality

2 comments:

  1. judy snyder9.12.13

    I would seriously freak out at those spiders! They are huge!! You sure are a very brave lady!

    ReplyDelete
  2. judy snyder9.12.13

    I would be seriously freaked out by those spiders! They are huge!! You are a brave lady!

    ReplyDelete

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