So, I’ll be honest.  My transition between high class livin in Baghdad and the life of a volunteer in Cameroon has not been easy.  I have struggled to try and get things done without a staff on hand.  I have struggled with taxis and locals and toilets and cooking.  You’d think that living in a war zone was hard – and it was.  But, living outside of the Ex-Pat comfort zone is also hard.  There are, after my almost 3 months here, advantages I have found.


Being in Baghdad tested my personal strength; being in Cameroon has tested my ability to care for myself.  The “Do It Yourself” mentality is welcomed here.  If the task you must complete is particularly difficult you may get an “asha” which means both “I’m sorry” and “I understand” at the same time.  No one here is particularly sympathetic or worried that the poor white girl is miserable and slightly helpless.  Nor should they be.  You gotta do what you gotta do is the prevailing opinion about life here – both among the locals and Ex-Pats.  It comes with a gentle understanding when someone flies off their rocker and starts yelling – something I’ve done and witnessed on many an occasion.  People huff and puff then calm down and get back to life and it’s over almost before it began.


I have fixed my own computer and toilet twice.  I’ve made something that resembles peanut butter and chocolate.  I am currently wearing a dress made by a lovely lady named Cynthia who hasn’t used a pattern in her life. I’m writing this blog thanks to an electrician who broke apart my MAC charger and stuffed a piece of plastic in the hole and hit it until it started to work (there was a lot more to it then that, but that was what eventually what did the job). 


I was once told that people who grow up in Africa are “double hard” a phase meant to imply they are tougher than the rest of us.  It’s true in a lot of ways and I hope that I’ll be a little tougher and a little more resourceful too after my short stay.