Friday, January 14, 2005

My life in the dust

Whats happenin people,

Its been a while, you look older, as do I. I am a bit dusty after the long journey to the Peace Corps office from my dusty old cow town. Before I wash up, let me update this blog, it been a while.

I may have stated this before, but the trip from my town, Nanga Eboko, to the capital, Yaounde, is done in old beat up prison buses. These things were built by the french sometime in the 60's and they are now used to cover the 150 or so mile stretch of dirt road from my town to the city. The road is dusty and treachorous, very dangerous. The beat up old vans speed around corners at high speeds swirving around herds of cattle and lumber trucks. I always tie a hankerchief around my face to avoid inhaling the massive amounts of dust that fly in the windows. Its the dry season here and that means dust and heat like its nodbody's business. On my way here I was treated to two blown out tires, which is an average day on the road. It took about 5 hours this time. If this trip were done on an American highway, it would probably take about 1.5 hours, no kidding. The amazing thing is that these beat up old buses actually still work. They are never really inspected before they go anywhere, they are just fixed when something breaks, and something always breaks. Luckily there is always a teenager on the bus whose only job is to fix stuff and he is usually pretty good.

Anyway, besides the travel, my new post is FANTASTIC. My house is pretty much set up now. I had a local guy make me all kinds of furniture, I painted the walls sky blue, I painted a mural of a pacific ocean sunset on one of my walls (I miss the ocean soooooo much, even though I havent lived by the ocean in 10 years). I got a little cat who I named BLACK. The cat is actually black and white and grey, but I named it BLACK because everyone in town calls me WHITE. Its name is really "Evindi" which means black in the local language. I am called "ntangen" which means white. So now all the little kids in my neighborhood run around screaming "evindi" looking for my cat. I call the cat "it" because I dont really know if it is a "he" or a "she" The gender of the cat is TBD. When I find out I will get it SPAYED/NEUTERED because I dont want my cat sleeping around, thats not cool. My cat is very nice. Sometimes it thinks its a dog, it licks my hands and it comes running to me when i whistle.

I take a bucket bath once a day to keep myself so fresh and so clean. In exactly FOUR WEEKS I will be teaching BLAKE NOLAN how to take a bucket bath. Blake is from L.A., I think this bucket bath business might be a little intimidating for such a pretty boy, hahahaha, he has NO IDEA what is coming.

My neighbors are all very friendly. The guy across the dirt road from me is my best friend in town. He takes care of everything. He spends his days sitting outside of his house making clothes, yes, he is a taylor. he uses an ancient sewing machine and a REALLY OLD iron that is heated by COALS. Yeah, he puts hot coals insde the iron, and IT WORKS. Straight out of 1870. John also takes care of my cat when I leave, he washes my clothes and he scrubs my floors (dont worry, I pay him well). I like to go out for beers with John, everyone in town knows this guy, it makes me feel cool and not so white.

I bought a t-shirt the other day that says "CRACKER" on the front, I wear it everywhere. Nobody really understands it here, but I think its hilarious. The second hand t-shirts you can buy here are great, and they only cost about a dollar. I got another one that says "Porn Star" Again, people dont understand it here, but as long as I am entertained!

I have started tutoring students in English. I havent started teaching at the high school, I wont start until the third trimester which starts in March. But get this, how does "Professor Allen Banick the Third" sound? Thats right peole, I have been contacted by the local UNIVERSITY to teach english. I havent accepted the offer yet, but they have offered me a very lucrative deal which includes: access to the internet cafe and to a cafeteria which serves large portions of not-so-good food at excellent prices. Hard to resist! I will let you know.

What else? I like kids, and thats good because there is a constant flow of children in and out of my little house. They are very easy to entertain, I must say. they come in and play with my can opener, my nail clippers, and they read through my newsweek magazines. In exchange for my kindness, they get me water from the well, they clean my shoes, and they fetch me beer at the store. its quite an arrangement I tell you.

All in all, my life in dusty old Nanga Eboko beats my life in Bafoussam, although I do miss my friends and tennis in bafoussam. I am quickly making new friends in Nanga and I have two outstanding postmates (Richard and Stan) with whom I play many exciting games of scrabble. Scrabble has become a favorite passtime for me, African nights in the village would be a little boring without it.

Its been a while since my trip to the beach, which was one of the most relaxing weeks I've enjoyed in a LONG TIME. I spent most of the time with Jen, laying in the sand, eating fish and shrimp, drinking expensive beer (prices go up by the beach), and doing nothing. I want to buy property on the coast here before I go. Apparently you can purchase beautiful beachfront property for a whopping 1000 dollars an acre in some areas. yeah thats right. If anyone is interested in investing, let me know.

For those of you who have sent me packages, I have some news. I still havent received any packages and I just found out that all mail is being held up in the port city of Douala due to some postal strike or something. this is good news really because it means the mail isnt lost and that I MAY ONE DAY SEE IT.

Thats all for now. I will be updating more frequently, especially after BLAKES VISIT! WHOOOHOOOO, BLAKE NOLAN come on down. Yeeeeeeahh.



At January 14, 2005 at 7:41 AM, Blogger Mike Scott said...

Allen! Been waiting for you to post again. Quite frankly Blake's posts are borderline gibberish, but he does have pretty pictures. I'm sure you guys will have an epic adventure. The new village sounds great, I love that you have a cat, we just got 2 kittens who are bonafide hellions. Wonder if they would catch racism from your cat. Hmm.

Interesting that you may be back in university culture again :) I look forward to hearing about how that progresses.

The real question: when you play scrabble, what languages are you allowed to use?

keep it real and such,


At January 14, 2005 at 10:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Howdy Poopsie,

We were beginning to think you fell off the end of the earth. We haven't heard a thing from you since last year. We were surprised to learn that our college educated grandson could not determine the sex of his kitten. Didn't you take any health or sex education classes?

Here is a tip from some old folks on how to distinguish between a male or female cat. Hold the kitten upside down in your lap. Expose the rectum (aka the cat's poop hole). That, by the way, is located under the cat's tail. If there is another hole close by you have female. A male cat has apparatus located further north of the rectum.

Another sure sign you may have a female is when she goes into heat and starts singing to males and expressing herself with "elevator butt." An even better way to make the determination is if she gains a lot of weight and then gives birth to a litter. She can conceive as early as 3-months.

We were thrilled to read about your latest adventures. Please keep them coming.

Love and miss you,
Grandma and Grandpa B

At January 14, 2005 at 12:25 PM, Blogger DC said...

Hey Allen! Wow sounds like AAAfrica is starting to grow on you. I'm glad you finally found something that you like and it also sounds like it is not nearly as stressful as your other job. I bet you will be the coooolest professor at the university. Try not to hook up with too many of your students. (Ha Ha) I miss the beach also. You can't exactly catch many waves here in Germany. Have a new girlfriend from the states who is coming to live with me this summer and I am sure you will get to meet her. Looks like I am going to Iraq sometime between November and December and I might be getting a new job (scout platoon leader) since I am kicking ass at my current one. I interview for it next week.If I get it I'll keep you posted. You should come visit me over here when I get back from the desert. Love Dave

At January 14, 2005 at 7:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Al -

I "Al"lways enjoy your posts, glad to see you are back online. I just got back from a week in beautiful Columbus Gorgia (Dave might know this place!). Keep the blogs coming, I'm only 3,000 AA miles away from booking my flight in December. You and Blake need to do some good scouting for me!


At January 23, 2005 at 12:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy New Year, and new life, new surroundings! I still love reading your blog, and I want to wish you the best in Nanga. Can't wait to hear about you and blano's combined adventures. Take care!


Post a Comment

<< Home