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« Red dust, chalk dust, and the ABCs | Main | Introduction »
Monday
Jan092006

Up, up, and away!

Well folks, after a long hiatus from life on the road, my bags are packed and I am Cameroon-bound. I am a restless mixture of excitement and nerves right now. I fly out Tuesday, January 10th from Philly and make connections in Cincinnati and Paris before arriving in Douala, Cameroon, at which point I will travel by bus/van for about six hours to reach my destination: Dschang. Hours of total travel (approx) = 26. For those of you who could use the reference, below are some map links. I will be in the West (Ouest) province of Cameroon in a town called Dschang. I will be living with the same host family with whom I stayed during my semester abroad, and will be teaching English as a foreign language in the primary school that is directed by my host-father.

Though Cameroon is officially bilingual (French and English), English is spoken by only a small minority in the southwestern region bordering Nigeria. (Let's not forget to mention the 240+ non-colonial languages spoken throughout the country.) The city of Dschang is french-speaking. Though I'll save the full explanation for those who specifically want it, here's the short explanation for why I think English-language instruction is important in Cameroon: Cameroon at least pretends to be interested in developing a functional democracy. If there is ever going to be hope for the disenfranchised anglophone minority, English-speakers and the English language must become further incorporated into the Cameroonian public sphere and government. By promoting French-English bilingualism, the fissure between the anglophone and francophone populations can gradually be mended (or at least shrunk). Though I can't do this in four+ months of teaching and teacher-training, it's a step in the right direction and I don't plan on brushing the matter under the rug when I return. Anyone else out there want to teach in Dschang? I am looking into the potential of turning this into an enduring program.

I will be in regular contact via email throughout my time in Dschang. I'll be sending out occasional emails to this group so those few of you who actually read them through can keep up the good work. If, however, you're bored bulk emails like these, it's because I don't know what you want to hear! Send me an email with specific questions and it will be more fun for both you and me. Keep in touch and fill me in on what's new (or not new) in your life.

Wish me luck in my 26 hours of travel. Ugh. And stay in touch! (Seriously, stay in touch. An email from any one of you brightens my day.)

Until next time,
Lindsay

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