Thursday, June 23, 2011

First Days in Cameroon!

Hi All!
This is Allyson writing from the lovely land of Cameroon! The night before last I and my travel buddy Mike arrived in Douala, Cameroon to begin my Open Mind for Africa learning and volunteering experience! Stepping off the plane I was met with mild chaos and extreme humidity. Soon however I found our driver from United Action for Children and made my way to Buea, the place I will call home for the next two months. The people of Cameroon are incredibly hospitable and my first two days have been fantastic. We live with a group of other volunteers in a little house next to the Director Mr. Orock's. Mr. Orock left yesterday for Germany so I have not gotten to know him well yet but his family has been very nice. We were fortunate enough to arrive just in time for the primary school graduation and spent Tuesday watching Class 6 be praised and awarded as they graduated. They length of the graduation would definitely rival any university, but included fantastic dancing and singing by the children. The children also looked adorable in their purple and gold robes. Today was our first day of volunteering for the summer program. Each day we take a van to a different rural village outside of Buea to provide educational enrichment. They age from babies carried by older siblings to middle school aged students. The kids are great and to me seemed very well behaved. I worked with the oldest students going into class five or form 1 (middle school) because I really enjoy older students. We read a book about air (donated books can be pretty random and worked on some vocabulary building. We learned and acted out billowing, sway, swirl, tug, among others and the kids were very attentive. After a "spelling quiz" I took them outside the one room community building for some fun. I taught them the "banana song" that CSSP ( a Penn student group that works in Philly schools) does with our kids and they absolutely loved it and proceeded to teach the younger kids. Afterward, we returned for lunch at Mr. Orock's house with the other volunteers all of who are incredible people. We have also made friends with the local soccer team who are teaching us pidgin and dancing. I successfully took my first bucket shower and ousted a cockroach so I'd say I'm fairing well so far!

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