Friday, December 28, 2007

tis the season

christmas here was mostly like i expected: 80 degrees, cameroonian music blasting, a haze of dust filling the air and a trek up the hill to roast two chickens in a friend's oven. peace corps volunteers usually only have a gas range. now, here comes the homesickness.

about three weeks ago the seasons changed. eight months out of the year cameroon is in the rainy season. you may remember previous blog entries where i marvelled at the amount of mud one encounters daily. however, at the end of november/beginning of december, the dry season starts. i expected a gradual change. instead, we went from daily rains to bone-dry, skin-cracking, dust-cloudy heat in this incredible snap that you could almost hear. my skin is so dry now that i have wrinkles that never existed before. my feet look like little old lady feet covered in a red dusty film. every time you leave the house it's like puffing on a dust cigar. the moto drivers wear the free eye pillows provided on all Air France flights over their noses and mouths to avoid the red lung. this is also the season for road construction, and the act of ripping up the asphalt has created rolling hills of dust. this is not the season to where contact lenses.

in addition to the dust, this is also the season of illness. something about the rash change of climate makes people susceptible to disease. i, myself, have already caught bacterial dysentary twice in one month and have twice been to the neighborhood hospital to seek treatment. the first time, the doctor told me that he thought that i have an irregular heartbeat and that it was necessary to see the internal cardiologist. i told him that i thought his stethoscope might be broken.

it is the season to be lonely for home and for family, but it is also the season to be with friends, both peace corps and cameroonian alike. i feel so lucky that i am near other volunteers that i like and that i can be exposed to different ways that people celebrate these universal holidays. even if it means driving around in a dusty taxi covered in tinsel and feeling that something just isn't quite right...

i miss everyone. this blog is kind of short, but my internet cafe time is running out. happy holidays and don't get too cold...