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The current scandal in Cameroon is that a journalist published a list of the "Top 50"what he calls Ãƒâ€šÃ¢â‚¬Ëœhomosexuals' but I'd prefer to call sodomists. The list includes powerful CEO type men and government officials, men who belong to the most powerful, governing sect. To be welcomed into a senior post you eventually have to bend over. With such submission and humiliation (it's sometimes even done in front of their wives) the man is under his superior's complete control. I'd heard a few such stories and found them unbelievable. Now they're multiplying. All copies of the paper rapidly disappeared.
Sitting still I feel the exhaustion over take me. I've ridden close to 160k on a motorcycle in the past two days. We weighed babies in Kamba yesterday, in Nkom today. We broke down on the way back last night. I eventually got a ride with a passing moto. An hour later when I got home (9pm) I called Kanaga who went to find Magloire and tow him back. The roads are bumpy&dusty but I enjoy the scenery. We left Nkom with sugarcane and pineapple. Then mama in Bondi loaded us up with plantains and citronella on the way home.
Today overall was a little blah although I visited with several people. There was a pleasant cool wind most of the day but the rain skipped over us.
I have so many work ideas especially concentrated on SAIMED and it's all stuck in the mud. Bienvenu has been gone all week and he will be at a training next week with several other members of the staff. It's very frustrating.
I've set up a living well grid for myself with a point system including eating well, exercise, writing 100words, 7hrs of sleep, work progress, some study projects... It's going well.
The quarter finals game of the African Nations Cup between Cote d'Ivoire and Cameron was a fabulously suspenseful match with an unfortunate outcome. It was tied 0-0 at the end. 30minutes of play were added. Both teams rapidly scored, leaving the game tied again. Penalty kicks were needed to determine a winner. Eleven rounds, each player from each team scored their penalty kicks. They started again with our star Samuel Eto'o. GASP he missed it. The team comes home.
I won't have to braid my hair with Green, Red, Yellow as I'd promised if they made it to the finals.
I haven't left the house today. I read several Newsweeks. Now that it's getting late I'm more motivated to get other things done, like organize my closet, stretch, bathe. I don't think I'll be able to sleep. I'm suddenly very annoyed by the fact that Roger didn't come this weekend and now isn't answering his phone. I can't live like this. At least I've got some of my personal projects going, keeping me anchored and I got in contact with Bienvenu. I keep reshuffling the cards of my future. I've less patience; have had my share of ET moments recently.
I sat at the office playing spider solitaire engrossed for hours. I finally came home and ate before walking toward the Hotel de Ville and visiting Solange, Megan and Bellva. Her cheer almost always lifts me. She hangs on me in a way that her mother won't put up with. We walked around the block following the cows coming home for the night. We brought in the hen and 6 of her new chicks. Three chicks were missing presumably the hawks got them during the day. Now I'm home listening to music that makes me sing and practicing my typing.
Most everyone is away at a training so I didn't go into the office today. I slept in, then did an hour of exercise, swept the veranda, gave myself a pedicure, did typing lessons 5 and 6, boiled water, ate an omelet. I'm energized and still sweating, still hungry. After a cloudy morning the sun is now really strong. It's slash and burn season. People are cutting down the tall dried grasses in their fields and setting them on fire. They're also burning the banks of the Nyong river and the winds carry little black fibrous ashes to my yard.
If it weren't for my little personal projects I'd be going crazy. The strategy meeting at the CECA was rescheduled for next week. I had turned down a trip au village because of the meeting. I played hours of computer games. I spent some time on real basic French grammar and a few hours reading "Where There is No Doctor"catching up on signs of malnutrition, causes of goiters, the rhythm method and other fun stuff. Had a little chat with Sarah by text message. I'm not out drinking as much and a little bored with the same old company.
It's another humid morning with a slight breeze. I had dreams in the night that left me with traces of discomfort. My mind is a little on edge and my head is full of thoughts that follow no specific train of thought.
I'd wanted to exercise and dawdle this morning at home but the National Director of PLAN is scheduled to visit.
It's Youth Week and the students only have classes until noon. They've been sent in rounds to cut down the high grasses that line the roads. At night they wander town and socialize at the Salle des Fetes.
We waited yesterday for the new National Director of PLAN to visit. On his way to work, Nico had noticed their car in-front of Emicam. They must have gone from there to ATE, an old time PLAN village. He never came to visit SAIMED. We all sat in the reception all day gossiping. The discussion of "homosexuality"used as control and corruption within the government twists my stomach into a knott. We also discussed Mifed and the future of PCRD and SAIMED activities.
I have much curiosity about how this weekend will play out; arrival times, discussion topics, general attitudes.
Youth Day. There's a parade preparing in town and I guess I'll go down and check it out. Peter Lee called this morning to say he returned from Douala last night. Roger sent a text saying he'll take a car around 1pm. So he's going to try to work or celebrate or do something or other before waiting for the van. If he really gets to Inter by 1pm he could be here by 3pm. At least he should be here before dark. N'est pas? (Meeting my lowered but realistic expectations, he made it just as the sun was setting.)
Roger, Magloire and I went out. It'd been a long time since we'd hung out together. We ended up telling jokes and stories. We danced a couple of songs at Azek night club. It's nice to run in their and dance for 15 or 20 minutes but it gets so incredibly hot that it's hard to stay any longer.
The research couple stopped by this morning. Roger and I had lunch with them at Le Notre. Roger got the last place in the bus, traveled quickly. Dinner at Dr. pat's with Koen & Elisabeth who are staying with me tonight.
I'm listening to a Yannick Noah CD that is on the computer in Aloys's office. It has entranced me recently. I like at least 75% of the songs. My player just signaled error. It can't play 3 songs in a row without futzing out. It won't skip songs either. Next week maybe it won't be as temperamental.
We had an office meeting announcing that PCRD/Mifed will be restructured but it remains to be seen how. It's expected that they take some staff and leave SAIMED behind. Aloys took me out to examine his possibilities. He's not satisfied with either choice.
Most everyone went out on trips en brousse. I turned down an offer to accompany Magloire to Nsan because the 120k round-trip on the motorcycle would have busted my bum. I went home and wrote reports for Peace Corps. I wrote a one page summary of my post and current activities for the new SED APCD who is expected to arrive at the end of the month. It's been a year and a half since we've had a SED program director. I hope he ends up to be a good man. He should visit me in Akonolinga in early March.
Bulldog isn't the most appropriate name for the thin white dog living in our compound. His features more resemble that of a fox. I feed him from time to time, so he follows me around like a hound. He's the first dog I've ever reached out to touch in Cameroon. It must have been a first for him too because he cowered away from me. This afternoon while I was eating on my stool on the veranda, he timidly approached me and licked my foot. Now there's rain pouring down, he's shivering and hovering very uncomfortably just inside my door.
I spent the afternoon finishing reading "The Angel of Darkness"Caleb Carr. I was at the office this morning revising the staff evaluation form that SAIMED will soon put into practice and looking over Magloire's proposed schedule for work for PLAN through the end of March. I've just outlined my session notes for tomorrow morning when I'm scheduled to start a series of trainings for the staff of SAMED. There are high expectations for my guidance on setting professional goals, especially since everyone understands on some level that they will soon have to choose between the banking work and SAIMED.
I started SAIMED staff trainings this morning with a class on professionalism and setting career goals. I was waiting for Bienvenu to appear before starting when I was informed that he'd traveled to a meeting in YaoundÃƒÆ'Ã‚Â©. The simple fact that he hadn't even bothered to inform me that he wouldn't be present ticked me off. It was also annoying that Cecile sat looking into space during a series of exercises when I asked them to list their skills, preferences, opportunities, goals and what they still need to improve to reach their goals. The others got something out of it.
Roger came in the night. We talked and listened to music this morning. He had to make it to Mbalmayo for a work project so we headed to Inter Voyage before noon. We ran into Magloire on the way. There weren't many passengers so we waited for over an hour for the car to fill. I came home and eat, read, slept. I woke about 4pm and found myself completely bored. I visited Magloire, we played ball with his son before hitting the town.
Not much going on, same old, same old.
Not much going on, same old, same old.
I got up early and went with Dr. Pat to the hospital. He gave a round of shoots to certain patients before spending hours changing dressings on dozens of Buruli ulcer patients. I'd seen some pictures before so I was prepared for the huge open wounds, ugly raw flesh. But there was one woman in horrible shape. She has a foot long wound that has eaten away a chunk of her thigh. It was disgusting. Pat also sawed an inch thick cast off a boy's leg using the saw of his Swiss Army Knife!
It rained dropping the temperature considerably.
The Monday morning staff meeting led right into my second staff training session. I gave them 10 minutes to prepare a speech. Everryone accomplished the task relatively well. We analyzed who kept their attention, body movements, content. Then we played again but I asked everyone to give a 5 minute persuasive speech, using appropriate props, voice and movement. The less experienced improved. Charlotte came to meet with Bienvenu. He acted very strangely afterwards in a planning meeting. Overdue salaries were mentioned but nobody wanted to discuss it openly, everyone understanding that money matters should be negotiated individually behind closed doors.
On the 30th of January, officially, in writing I asked for more information about the project with PLAN. I asked for a copy of the contract, budget, communications, reports. Today Beinvenu returned from YaoundÃƒÆ'Ã‚Â© and entered the office without any of us knowing he'd arrived. Mathieu, the secretary came and gave me a folder "from the Director-. Inside I find a photocopy of the contact with PLAN including the generalized budget. It's like I've been knocking at a door for ages and suddenly it swings open by a phantom hand. Does he expect me to respond? What was his motivation?
Reviewing the report we sent this week to Plan, I rather rapidly I analyzed the weights of the children we've weighted against the average growth diagram. I found 25% are under weight and probably malnourished and another 20% "at risk"or borderline. Astonishing!
Magloire and I did a supervising round of the 4 PciME trainings that Nico, Carine, Ceciel and Ziegel were giving in different villages around Mengang. We made small interventions, answered questions and moved on.
We ended up chez Ze Oundoua eating antelope and discussing corruption, "homosexuality-, arrests taking place in YaoundÃƒÆ'Ã‚Â© this week and journalism in Cameroon.
The animals in our compound have multiplied. There are horned goats and bearded Billy goats. There's a goat trying to kick down the tin shack out back, a goat who coughs in the night, another who whines and others would bleat in a chorus. There are roosters who wake before dawn, a white scruffy rooster and a big red one with a bellowing voice who crows in competition with another down the block. There's a mother hen and several guinea fowl. Hooves on cement, kicking tin, bleating, crying, coughing, crowing. It disturbs my sleep. The neighbors need to start feasting.
I was truly bored yesterday. It surprises me how quickly boredom sets in. I spent Sunday at the hospital with Pat. Monday all day at SAIMED giving training and then wound up and drinking with Nico and Ziegel. Tuesday still wound up and strategizing. Wednesday doing a tour of trainings in Mengang. Nothing to do on Thursday and I'm instantly bored and frustrated.
Today I'm expecting a group to visit from the American Embassy. They are financing the construction of CES Ndamba school and are coming to Akonolinga to check on the progress before releasing the balance of the funds.
The disintegration of the director weighs heavy upon me. Oh I'd had hope for him, believed in his enthusiasm, his good intentions, his abilities. He's no longer even able to make it appear that he's making an effort. The situation has overwhelmed him, his management ability was stretched. Now it's snapped, the company is broken into pieces. He ignored the guidance I offered. Now he also ignores the work to be done and even ignores everyone in the office. Rumor has it that he's been offered a big post at MiFed. He'll leave shambles in his dust. I'm enormously disappointed.
The electricity is out so I'll probably travel to YaoundÃƒÆ'Ã‚Â© sooner than I expected.
Yesterday filled with gossip of Bienvenu's activities. Two main events have been discovered and corroborated by various sources. Juliet is most ingenious. Not only did she get all the details of MiFed's offer out of Solange but she got Materne to spill the beans on Plan contracts. She found him in a bar a little drunk. He announced that he's a consultant to SAIMED. She didn't know what he was talking about. But she flattered him, bought him a large Guinness and discovered the newest deal.
I'm in YaoundÃƒÆ'Ã‚Â© for 2 nights. It is very calm and quiet at the caz and I'm getting along very well with Roger.
The Country Director of PC just announced to the staff that his wife has cancer. He'll be gone for at least the next 3 months. Shocking, awful.
The female PC staff have invited me to come to YaoundÃƒÆ'Ã‚Â© on Women's Day to march with them in the parade on March8th.
I've got an appointment this afternoon to visit the new American Embassy.
I have lots of e-mail to catch up on. It's daunting. I'm putting it off.
We welcomed the new SED APCD this morning. I got to speak with him for half an hour. He's a good guy for the post. I enjoyed a quiet day at the caz. I went down to the market, bought some zuccini and made some couscous and rataoughie. Roger came over and we watched Oceans 12. We went out for a beer and he brought me back to the caz. I'll get my bag packed before going to bed so that I can travel back to Akonolinga early in the morning. I have a new writing project for March. I'mCalm&OK.
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