I'm going to Cameroon!

I just got word from the Peace Corps today. They want to send me to Cameroon to do IT eduction. I’ll be there for two years. I’m leaving in JUNE!

I’m so excited!

Let me be the first to congratulate you. Way to go sven!

With any luck, in two years you can get both of their computers working at the same time! :smiley:

I spent two years northwest of there in Mali with the State Department. It’s a real education.

I’ve been reading up a little more about it.

It is a very diverse place, with a full span of ethnicities, religions and climates. You’ve got sweltering desert in the north, rainforest in the south and temperate zones in the center. there are about 300 languages spoken (French being the primary one) and Animism, Christianity, and Islam are all well represented. Cameroon has been called “Africa in miniature”. This is good for me because PCVs have a lot less restrictions on in country travel and I’ll be able to experience a lot of what Africa has to offer without going to far.

The food is some of the best in the area, with unusual variety and freshness.

I’ll be working in a classroom someplace between a 300 person village and a 10,000 person city. Very likely this will be the school’s first computer. I’ll be doing basic computer literacy and a variety of non-computer side project’s based on the community needs.

I leave on June 15th! I’ve already told my job, now I have to get ahold of my landlord. And sell my stuff. It’s so very soon!

Cameroon, eh? My brother was in Cameroon for the Peace Corps, too (last year). The whole situation didn’t end well at all, but he had a great time in the country, and loved the people. He was none-too-happy about the extensive corruption and the lack of a future he really saw for the country (he worked in the banking industry), but if they ever let him return to the PC, he would probably love to go back to Cameroon.

If you go to the north, you’ll be speaking French, but the south is mainly anglophone. There is also signficant tensions between the two areas. If you’d like here is a link to my brother’s blog. Definitely start with the beginning posts for the whole sad story. We’re still hoping for a completely happy ending, but if nothing else are glad to have him back with us. :slight_smile:

Congratulations, even sven.

A favorite author of mine wrote a book about his animal collecting trip to the area. The story is kind of dated and a bit racist (understandable considering the time it was written), but it’s very humourous, interesting and informative. It paints a vivid picture of the area and the people. The book is called The Overloaded Ark by Gerald Durrell.

One of my friends got malaria twice while in Cameroon. Don’t forget your DEET…

Beef jerky time!

Have fun. Be careful of Loa loa and malaria.

As Kamerun, the country was a German colony from 1884 to 1919. Following World War I, the land was divided between Britain and France, with the British portion ruled from the then-colony of Nigeria and relatively neglected. French Cameroun gained its independence in 1960, and a referendum in the British Cameroons the next year resulted in the northern portion of that colony joining Nigeria and the southern portion merging with the new nation of Cameroun. Here is a timeline detailing key events in the history of the country anointed as the world’s most corrupt by the business organization Transparency International in both 1998 and '99.

Don’t have gay sex:

Buy a book called Mefloquine Dreams (if you can find it), then read it after you’ve been there a year. It’s hilarious.

Also, if you do feel any potentially malarial symptoms, go to a clinic right away. The latest anti-malarial drugs are quite good, provided you take them early enough. While most Africans have to just suffer through the disease, it can cause permanent organ damage which you’d really rather avoid if you can.

I got sick while vacationing in Zambia last year. Because I’d been canoeing the week before, malaria was a possibility, so they gave me anti-malarial drugs just to be safe. The doctor explained that they probably see and treat more malaria than anywhere else in the world, so they have good first-hand knowledge of how well the drugs work (and the health effects of letting it go untreated). The newest drugs are something like 100% effective. What’s sad is that, while the doctor visit and drugs (both anti-malarial and antibiotics) cost me a total of $3, that’s still too expensive for most of the locals so the disease is mostly untreated.

Good for you for giving your service to the Peace Corps, even sven. I’m sure you’ll help a lot of people, and have an unforgettable experience.

Do you mean Malaria Dreams by Stuart Stevens? If so, I agree – hilarious, and well worth reading even if you aren’t going to Africa, although I’d imagine someone who has worked there would appreciate it far more than the rest of us.

I’ll put “avoid malaria” and “don’t have gay sex” on my checklist. Not taking your malaria prophelactics is a kick-outable offense, and I have a very strong “slather on insect repellent” urge and “be religious about your bed’s mosquito net” tendency ever since I got 57 mosquito bites on one leg in Maui.

I’m sorry to hear about your borther Necros.

A few random thoughts and discoveries (not so much for even sven’s benefit, since I would imagine that she’s spent the last day or so immersing herself in all things Cameroonian):
[li]It would be hard not to like a country named after tasty seafood: the first Europeans to see Cameroon (the Portuguese) named the Wouri River the Rio dos Camarões (“River of the Prawns”) due to the plentiful crustaceans. Mmm… [/li][li]Claire Denis’ autobiographical movie Chocolat (1988) [not to be confused with the 2000 Juliette Binoche / Johnny Depp movie of the same name] is set in Cameroon, and is a wonderful portrayal of a young woman growing up in a french colonial milieu. I highly recommend it.[/li][li]I’ve been given a personal recommendation for the book Cameroon with Egbert, the travelogue of an Irishwoman who trekked around northern Cameroon with her daughter and a pack-horse (Egbert). [/li][li]Apparently, there are plenty of Greek and Indian merchants in Cameroon. This ought to make for some great food when you’re visiting the major cities, sven![/li][li]Talking of major cities, apparently there are very serious issues with crime and corruption. Please keep your street “radar” deployed at all times…[/li][li]The people who run Google Earth must have something against les camerounais, at least judging by the lack of high-resolution aerial images. The capital, Yaoundé, is totally obscured by clouds, and I haven’t found a single high-resolution area for the entire country.[/li][li]Cameroon has a remarkably high literacy rating for its region. That ought to be worth something![/li][li]Gay sex? Avoid any sex. Although it’s not the worst of the worst, it’s definitely in Africa’s “AIDS belt”, and that crosses the boundaries of sexual orientation. Be careful out there.[/li][li]My feelings towards Peace Corps Volunteers are expressed in this post in an earlier thread of even sven’s. It would be too glurge-y to repeat it in full, so let the link suffice. (BTW, Kyla arrived in Bulgaria recently for her Peace Corps assignment, and AFAIK will soon be putting the resources of the SDMB to work in the cause of Bulgarian education.)[/li][li]I’m glad that you’re planning on remaining a member of the SDMB, sven, and look forward to your posts “from the field”.[/li][/list]

Just bumping the thread to say congrats and good luck to sven. Yay for you!


Congrats on going Peace Corps!

I was NW of you in Nouakchott, Mauritania for '93-'95. It was a wonderful experience, and I have not even one sliver of regret.

Bring the malaria meds, get your shots, etc. Buy a bottle of iodine for when your water purifier breaks.

One thing that worries me about your situation is the protection. Never put yourself in a dangerous position for any reason. Cameroon ain’t the US, and don’t be fooled into thinking it is.


Crap! No wonder I couldn’t find it! Too much of that stuff will make your mind do odd things, I guess. Another good book I can’t remember is about some guy who receives an odd package from his son (who is in the Peace Corps, possibly in Senegal) and goes looking for him. Another very funny read, but of course the name eludes me.

Thanks. I’m pretty saavy, with a fair amount of solo travel in developing countries, so I wouldn’t worry too much. At least with the Peace Corps I’m less likely to wander in to the middle of a civil war like i did last time I went out =).

How awesome. I remember getting a lot of enjoyment out of your India travel blog that you posted recently.