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« Breaking ground (literally) - and you can help! | Main | More photos from Dschang »

Life in Dschang

It POURED on Wednesday! This time of year, rain is a blessing. In the hot dry days, the dust on the roads in unbearable. The commute to work (on the back of my host-father's motorcycle) is tough: I ride covered by a cloth in an attempt to block out the clouds of dust kicked up by the occasional passing car. But Wednesday's rain knocked the dust back and the roads are still relatively dust free ( i.e. I walked here from home wearing sandals and my feet are still clean). The storm was crazy - torrential downpour, wind, hail, thunder and lightning. The sky has been bluer since, though the creep of dust is returning.

To my fellow SIT alums: The SIT family is doing great. Thomas, Maurice, Paul, and Boubakari are all the same and wonderful. Paul has a new baby!! Exciting news after the loss of Guillotin. I see Annie (Gustave's wife) often and can hardly peel Benson and Jeff off be to get through the door each time. Boubakari got back to town shortly after my arrival and we've been hanging out regularly. (He's actually sitting in the room now and says hi.) I am getting informal but intensive courses in Fulfuldé once again. Last night, while hanging out at his house (the house of his friend, Adamou, where Boubs stays while he's in Dschang), heated debates about the death penalty and racism moved in and out between French and Fulfuldé. They sometimes forget that I only speak the one language. But all is well here with the program. The new students arrive Monday in Yaoundé and will be wisked off to Fongo Tongo for orientation. I have been talking with the new (interim) director and am going to do some work with the students during their orientation and first week in Dschang.

Other news. I am working hard at building my resistance to the constant barrage of comments about the color of my skin. As I explained to Boubakari and Adamou, it is completely unexceptable in the U.S. (at least in the world that I'm from) to point at a person and shout "black person!" or "hispanic!" or "woman!" or "gay!", but here things are different. I know that when kids and adults alike point and shout "la blanche" or "ndege" that they don't mean offense. If anything, they are excited by my presence and want to say hi, courage to you. But having been raised in a world where I was taught to see past these differences, it is still hard to not cringe when I am called "ndege" (Yemba for "white"). So that is my biggest personal challenge. It is hard to change an involuntary response. I don't want to cringe when called out for being white. I want to respond with a greeting... but right now I just have to work on toughening up this white skin of mine and bearing it.

New pictures! Check them out. I just had to take a picture of my breakfast this morning because really represents the worst of the worse. Starch, through and through. Tasty, yes, but not something I want to stuff in my face. I think I'll go find myself some papaya or an orange or something that isn't potato, root, or bean based.

Thanks to all of you that have been in touch with me. I'm sorry if I can't get a personal response back each time, but I will try my best. I love hearing from you so keep those emails coming.

Wow, this was a long post.

On est ensemble!!

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    Hello, i cant find your twitter account on site, can you send, i want became ur follower in twitter
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