Browsing Archive: November, 2010

Slingshot and Stones: Multimedia in Africa

Posted by Heather Faison on Monday, November 22, 2010,

Word travels fast in Buea. Once the head of the journalism department at the university found out a “new media specialist” was visiting, he called for me.

Pale yellow buildings are flung across the sprawling campus in no particular sequence. The taxi dipped in a pool of mud left from the rainfall the night before in front of the communications and humanities building.

I sat down across from the dean's paper-scattered desk. Mr. Akangwa, my boss at the grammar school, pulled out my resume ...

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Lessons only getting malaria could teach me

Posted by Heather Faison on Thursday, November 18, 2010,

“Malaria reminds you that you are alive” - My neighbor Felix.

Only an African would have sage words on malaria. But, he's right. Just like an asthma attack makes you value the air we breathe, losing yourself in sickness for days, and coming out of it reminds you to be grateful for life.

To be real, I was no where near death. I wasn't in the hospital hooked up to IV drips. And I knew the end of the pain was only a few days away thanks to an early dose of malaria drugs at the onset of my sy...

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I had malaria and lived to blog about it

Posted by Heather Faison on Monday, November 15, 2010,

“She has malaria.”

For a moment, I thought my roommate was talking about someone else. A student or fellow teacher perhaps. My doting neighbor came by to check in like always and noticed my concentration was off as she unleashed her round of morning questions.

“Asha,” she said in her thick accent that makes every word sound aggressive. (Cameroonian lingo: Asha is a word to express empathy that loosely means, “I feel sorry for your life.”)

“Africa. Mosquitoes.” She smiled like ...

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Dad, please say something

Posted by Heather Faison on Friday, November 5, 2010,

As a first-year teacher, I'll admit it: I'm a pushover.

My voice rarely rises. I fall for the puppy dog eyes when a student forgets an assignment. I cringe at the punishment of paddling used in the school system here, and instead will reduce a student's lab time.

Few rules are posted on my classroom walls. But one is no free play on the computers during a lesson. No pacman. Solitaire. Instant Messenger. Nada.

I stood a few feet away from my desk when I realized Emilian's window was not closed...

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Um. So, this is the salon?

Posted by Heather Faison on Tuesday, November 2, 2010,

We squeezed out of the taxi packed with four in the back seat and two in the passenger, and walked in the middle of Clerks Quarters.

People shuffled the streets shoulder to shoulder and merchants shopped their wares at every turn. Walters grabbed my hand and lead me off the road.

Now, when I hear “salon,” my mind flashes to the Saturdays spent at Hair 4 U in South Philly where gossip was the soundtrack to buzzing hair dryers, and the latest Essence magazines made the hour-long wait a li...

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Posted by Heather Faison on Monday, November 1, 2010,

Women in Africa carry a heavy load. In many countries they work the fields, rise at the rooster's crow to draw water for the day, all while caring for the children and keeping house. I saw this woman on my way home. I've never seen strollers here. When babies get fussy in the market or pout on long treks home, they are wrapped tightly in fabric and holstered onto their mother's backs. Like all the women I have met in Cameroon, this one carries her load with grace. 

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