I'm finishing up week four of my five week stay. It took my a while, but I've been able to get into a bit of a rhythm. Me entry into the country along with the first two weeks was harrowing.
The process of everyday life for the locals is challenging. The government, with a sitting President in his 32nd year, is dysfunctional and thoroughly corrupt....according to the citizenry. Although public schools are "free", parents are required to join a PTA type org. that has steep dues. If you don't join and pay, your child will not receive books, supplies, or teacher attention. Many kids don't make it through high school. I mentioned the roadways and traffic control devices in my previous post. The dilapidated conditions extend beyond the roads. Almost anything considered infrastructure is in dire need of repair. Storm drains and sewer systems have been built along the city roadways. They are between a sidewalk area and the road surface. These drains are basically troughs about 3 foot deep. They are covered by a series of concrete blocks like stepping stones. Every 3rd block is missing which creates gaping holes around 4 square feet. Since there is no order to driving and parking..quite often a car tire will find one of these holes and BOOM....
Cameroon is actually a rich country of natural resources, just poorly managed. Any type of agricultural product can be found here. The neighboring countries of Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Central African Republic, and Congo all import truckloads of food from Cameroon daily. I've found two restaurants that receive high grades for food safety and quality. Rice, fish, plantains, beans, corn, beef, and chicken are part of daily fare. The plantains are especially delicious. The national dish of Cameroon is ndole. It closely resembles collard greens. This bitter leaf is combined with nuts, spices and small pieces of seafood or meat. Ndole is really good.
I've added a few pictures to include:
The crazy taxi (used Toyota Corollas) and motor bike drivers.
A mini bus that transports people daily. These buses have had the seats ripped out and replaced with what look like kitchen table benches.
Street kiosks that sell just about everything.
A ditch I watched being dug by hand with pickaxes. It's over a kilometer long. These guys were covered in mud. Wow, back breaking work!
A phone booth at the city park... no phone in years.