Wow a long time has passed since I’ve gotten back to the blog. Halloween was a lot of fun despite being the first time I had a freak out and cried infront of african mamas. I found a giant blonde braided weave and a sparkly pink dress to dress up as rapunzel. I was viscous in my bargainng at marché A and almost made the lady cry when I cut her price two thirds. There was no way i was going to spend a paycheck on a halloween costume with sequins. I am SO american, wow. The party was in Bangangte and a lot of volunteers from the west and northwest showed up. I came a day early to cut hair and hang out with kids from my stage (stahj – original training group). My freakout came before arriving in Bangangté, though.

Early Friday morning I was required to go to a teaching seminar about how to teach english, and would last from 8:30 to well into the afternoon I was told. One of my colleagues at the lycee came with me. I had no idea he taught English, too. We shared a car and then a moto when we got to Baham where the seminar was. Once at the venue, a bilingual highschool in Baham, I realized I’d left my bag in the trunk of the taxi. Luckily my colleague knew the name of the driver so I called my landlord and he told me he’d call Calvin the chauffeur. I walked into the seminar holding my phone awaiting Sam’s call. The classroom was full of english teachers from around the Haute Plateau region with anglophone and francophone teachers alike. The seminar was led by two volunteer teachers and a woman from the ministry with a lot of years of teaching under her belt. Aside from her, the english was so heavily accented I could hardly understand what was going on, which wasn’t good seeing as I was the only obvious english speaker was used as a prop in many discussions, not to mention that I was thoroughly distracted with my lost bag and the fact that I didn’t want to be there. I also had to pee since my arrival and came to find out there were no restrooms.

We got one 10 min break in-between 8:30 when it started and 3:30 when I snuck out as elusively as a white girl in a room full of africans can. Oh, also, my colleague never returned after the 10 minute break when he told me he was going outside to smoke. The second half of the seminar I was in fumes, jealous of my crafty colleague and extremely uncomfortable by the man who had taken his spot on the bench next to me. He alternated between loudly whispering prayers under his breath, inching closer and closer to my until we were touching legs, and looking at me “inconspicuously”. The seminar itself wasn’t the greatest, with everything begin said 3 times, dumb questions being asked, and a workshop session that was really just more theory. Cameroonians can’t get enough theory.

The brought in sandwiches and drinks at 3:30 along with the principal, and while the room filled with the scent of delicious food and our hungry tummies rumbled they proceeded to thank the principal numerous times, sing a couple of songs about being happy and then begin a prayer. This was when I took the opportunity to sneak out.

I caught a moto to the center and caught a taxi to bafoussam. Sam had told me that the driver had left my bag with a mama named Maji at the taxi stop. I arrived and asked someone about her stand and they pointed to some closed doors and said she had left for Bandenkop. I was so mad. I went around searching for her number, got it, called her, couldn’t understand her and could get her to understand how to turn up her phone volume. Found someone with calivn’s number and he said he didn’t give it to Maji and that he dropped it off in bandenkop at the sofina. I called sam back and asked him to see if he could get in the sofina since it was closed. wasn’t there. etc. etc. more phone calls. more bad french. Then i cried. Infront of an african mama trying to help me (they don’t cry. ever.) I had no idea where my bag was. Finally my fav driver showed up and filled his car with passengers. I told him if someone gives him my bag in bandenkop to bring it back to bafoussam.

I left for the office to use the bathroom like i needed to all day. I grabbed a diet coke i’d left in the fridge—thank God. I sat and took a breather and vented to some poor volunteers who were in the office using the computers. They had come for the halloween party, too and invited me to get ice cream with them. A couple hours later, and after a call from sam, I headed to the taxi line to wait for a cab that my bag was allegedly in.

Also I forgot to mention my costume was in this bag!

The volunteers from the northwest arrived, just at the same time as the taxi with my bag, to catch a car to banganté for the party. We got in the car, waited for it to fill up with people until we noticed the driver was wasted and slurring his words. We got out, went to a different taxi stop for taxis headed to bangangté and paid extra to have it to ourselves and leave right away.

And then we made it. I couldn’t believe it. What a horrible day.

The next day was awesome and filled with touch football, carving a pumpkin, poker, dancing, drinking, eating candy corn. Costumes were great and very resourceful. There were the Spice Girls complete with an African Spice (or Maggi cube which is maybe MSG maybe beef bouillon and used in every dish). Eriika and Liz were the twins from the Shining and had their dresses custom made. Ghaddafi was there, the ghostbusters and a zombiliké which is a zombie from the Bamiliké tribe which makes up most of the peoples of the Western Region.

All in all it was a god weekend. Someone said during training, “Nothing in Cameroon is working but everything works out. ” This is the most true statement I’ve ever heard in my life, but man is it frustrating.

Whew. I’m glad I finally typed that up. Kim’s first freak out. The end. My second was this past weekend. I’ll type that up sometime soon, too.