Friday, December 15, 2006

Almost half way....

......Now that is a scary thought. Today we have been here five months. We will not be here for a whole year as we arrived in the middle of July and have to be back at work at the start of July. So at about new year we will be half way through. A lot of the last month has been taken up with me parents visiting, which was a welcome break for us. Joe finished teaching his first web design course a few days before they arrived, so he was ready to relax. The last few days of the course had caused particular stress due to lack of power and being closed down by taxation. resulting in the students only having a couple of days to complete the final project instead of the planned one week. Nevertheless the students did well and managed to get some stuff done. Power has been a real problem in the last few weeks. We are now protected from short power cuts as we have ups back-up. However recently the electricity board has been putting the power out for the whole day. Joe is due to start a new course on Monday.

We are taking over the buildings for the health unit (as it will now be called due to Cameroon bureaucracy) at the end of the month. Currently Genesis and I are going over all the paperwork we must collect and of course get stamped by the DO. Hopefully it should be a smooth easy process but I am sure somewhere along the line someone will make trouble. I will be training my first group of HIV trainers in January once we have the building. It has been a great frustration to me it has taken five months to get this far. I hope that by my six month update I will have completed it. I often feel we are getting nothing done and what is the point. However it is a slow gradual process and I am sure I will look back after my (almost) year and see the good things.

We are set to set up the school book pool. We will use storage space at the buildings for the health unit. We have been to visit the schools we will be targeting and have teachers elected to help us with the project. The only thing we need now is money to buy all the books. We have applied for funding from the British High Commission so fingers crossed. We are very excited about this project as it will really help the local children, education is so important. Once the initial books are bought it can continue for years.

We get very frustrated with people attitudes. People expect everyone to do everything at an instant yet they do not get stuff done themselves. Resulting in nothing getting done by anyone apart from moaning at each other for not doing it - sounds like the NHS I remember! There are still many cultural differences that we find difficult to adjust too. People can be very rude to each other and I think they do not view it in the same way we do. We are coming from a different perceptive and would not tolerate that behaviour in the UK. Here most people just put up with being shouted at without fighting their corner - does not matter who's right its all down to who is older or in a position of power. If you do fight back it may lose you your job.

So five months gone, we are still learning, still working and still enjoying life in Cameroon. We have good days and bad days but doesn't everyone. I cannot believe it is Christmas, I am sitting in a skirt and sandals and see no decorations, no lights and there is not irritating music in the background. It is great to avoid all the hype but I do miss it.


Ann said...

I was thinking of you today & wondering what the holiday season is like. The weather you're having sounds like ours-- even for Waco, we're having unseasonably warm weather. The non-stop music is as irritating as ever (where do they find some of these songs??), but I guess it's like a broken a crazy way, you do miss it.

dad said...

Don't be down-hearted, You have achieved a lot for five months.