Things I’ve Learned Since Moving to Cameroon

+ I've learned that stating the obvious is the norm and encouraged. For example, “Je suis la” – “I am here”.

+ I've learned that celery is not a vegetable. It is only an herb. Use the leaves and discard the rest.

+ I've learned that petrol is a cure-all. Honestly, it works as well as tied-to-go or Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. Paint splotch on the wall? Petrol! Paint on your body? Bathe in Petrol! Too much garbage piling up in the back yard? Douse in petrol and burn, baby, burn!

+ I've learned that RAID is a God send.

+ I've learned that latrines get clogged…seriously.

+ I've learned that freckles really are considered a disease.

+ I've learned that synthetic varnish will make your rain-ruined bed  look nicer.

+ I've learned that when you buy anything from a vender, it is perfectly acceptable to ask “So, where is my free gift?"

+ I've learned that living by lantern and candlelight is nice…even if you have electricity 24/7.

+ I've learned that termites will eat through your floor…repeatedly.

+ I've learned that regardless of your name, your new name is La blanche, nassara, or ntagna.

+ I've learned those little triangle like things on your wall…yeah, those are worms.

+ I've learned the rainforest gets seriously cold at night.

+ I've learned to smile and nod when people insist on practicing their incomprehensible English on you.

+ I've learned patience. Something I lacked before in the U.S. Now I am the Queen of patience and waiting.  Waiting at the bank for 2 hours? Easy! Waiting 4 hours for a bus? No problem! Day long car ride to bank? Bring it on!

+ I've learned that any leafy green doesn’t have a name and is simply referred to as ‘vegetable’. Any herb (including celery) is simply called ‘condiment’.

+ I've learned that Cameroonians don't even know basic geography. South America isn't Africa, what?!

+ I've learned that drinking is acceptable at all hours of the day.

+ I've learned that drinking beer while pregnant is acceptable, so long as it is Beaufort Light.

+ I've learned to haggle over mere cents.

+ I've learned to love fish.

+ I've learned to clean my house like a Cameroonian woman.

+ I've learned that the location you spend your holidays with doesn't matter, it's the people you are surrounded by.


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