Monday, April 02, 2007

It's grim up North

The North of Cameroon is very, very different to the South West. They refer to Cameroon as Africa all in one country and now we have seen it all, we have been in or through each of the 10 provinces, which is more than most Cameroonians have. The North is like the 'Africa' that you may think of, it is dry, desolate, empty expanse of flat land. The people are very different, the speak french, are Muslim meaning the dress is quite different people here also warned us they behave very differently but as we do not understand french we did not notice this.

It is really hot in the North, it was touching 40C, you could not escape the heat. It was hot in the shade, while you were on a bus or in a car if you opened the window you had hot air blowing in your face. On the bus up the window in front of me was open most the journey, it felt like sitting under a hairdryer, I was amazed that closing the window was a relief. Didimus found the conditions really harsh he kept saying things like 'you could not pay me 500 000 francs a month to live here' or 'if I was in the army and got stationed up here I would hand in my gun in and quit'.

The people have to work hard up in the North, here in the South West there is not much hunger food grows easily. The road sides are littered with coco yam plants as if they are weeds. Even if you do not own a farm you can pick food from un-farmed places. It the North they struggle to grow anything the land is so dry and hard. Everything growing was dead there were just a few trees with some green leaves. The rainy season is much shorter than here. Many goods are more expensive also as they have to transport them on the train or import from Nigeria or Chad. There is poverty all over Cameroon but in many ways I felt it was worse here. As we passed villages no-one was doing anything - it is just too hot to move they all shelter under what shade they can find. Life is very tough in the North.

Before we went everyone told us how terrible it was up north, made me chuckle as all the southerners of England say 'its grim up north'. Does every country have this north south divide?


dad said...

It does sound very different. It is interesting to read about as you have seen it Hev, to see it through your eyes.

Ann said...

Regarding north/south division, it still exists in the USA. Some northerners think people from the south are ignorant racists, and some southerners call northerners "Yankees," which to them is synonomous with rudeness & bad manners!

And a very interesting post, by the way!