Club classes for this week went really well and our students are right on track!!

Both classes on Wednesday (Lycee Molyko and Buea Town) had 14 students attending. At first, things were a bit hectic and crazy… but that’s how it usually is. There had been no power again throughout Molyko and when I arrived early to set up for class the doors to my surprise were locked! I called and called both teachers whom I knew had keys – no one was available. I found another computer teacher who offered me the keys to his classroom which he wouldn’t be using due to the power outage. Since our lesson didn’t require computers – I took the offer! About 20min after class was supposed to start, a couple of students came filing in one at a time. By 1:30 I had about 10 students.


Classroom to teach in = check

Students to teach = check

Lesson not requiring electricity = check

Curriculum booklets = … in the locked room!!


Some students had finished their homework ahead of time and returned their books to the box while others had brought their books from home. Some students had books – others did not. We started by watching a short film on Albatross. We debriefed after words talking about how effective the right music and photos can be in a video. This gave the students some idea for their future video.


Curriculum booklets = CHECK!! Someone finally came upstairs to unlock the door!!


From there, a few groups edited their podcasts while others recorded theirs. In addition, students completed their ‘video proposal worksheet’ and began working on questions for their interview and the letter requesting an interview.


Buea Town didn’t need computers either so we headed to a classroom in the school compound. My computer had no battery left so no one edited podcasts but one of them recorded. Most groups were able to finish one or both of their assignments, the letter requesting an interview and/or the questions for the interview.


While everyone was working, out of the blue, one student asked, “Madam, when will you cook for us?” Half the class started chiming in agreeing asking me, “Bring whiteman chop”. In pidgin-english, chop=food. (eg: a like chop meaning I like food or a di chop chop meaning I’m eating food.) This brought on a very serious discussion about “wuch kin chop whiteman chop” or in other words: what do white people eat?


I explained the sort of things I made  in the house and the ways in which I cook, chop and use the vegetables and spices found in the local markets. When I explained the way I prepared it…the students where shocked and laughing hysterically. “Madam, you mean you cut the tomatoes - you don’t grind them?” After saying, “Yes” Fatimatou’s jaw nearly dropped to floor, she put her head in her hands and while laughing said, “a no fit chop whiteman chop” (I cannot eat white man food). Surprisingly I had taken a photo of a recent dish I made while it was cooking on the stove so I showed it around to the class. After seeing the picture, they were more interested in trying the dish. “Madam you will prepare this one for us!” Clinton says. I flipped to the next picture, the final product: vegetable stew with couscous. Bertrand agreed, “Yes you will bring us this one!! We want to try this one.”


Here, many people will agree that they simply cannot eat food if there is no meat or egg in it. I’ve been told several times, “That is what a dog eats.” referring to food with no egg or meat which is AKA ‘empty food’. For me personally, meat is expensive and although I eat all kinds of meat, I don’t on a daily basis. They were even more surprised to hear that my food didn’t always have meat. At this point I didn’t even want to see their reaction when I told them I didn’t cook with Maggi, an artificial flavoring put into EVERY SINGLE MEAL in Cameroon and throughout West Africa. Its full of sodium, hydrogenated oils and MSG…meaning I try to avoid it at all costs but people here are convinced that, “You’re food will not have a taste if you do not cook with Maggi.”


This whole conversation lead me to thinking… I’ve spent so much time here in Cameroon learning about the culture and food here, but I feel like I haven’t been able to share too much of my culture with others. I want to make a simple, cheap dish for the students for our “End of the Term” class which will be April 2nd. Avocados are so abundant here so I was thinking about making a massive bowl of guacamole and a ton of plantain chips which are readily available all along the roadside. I know guacamole isn’t ‘American” but it is something different for them and something many American’s enjoy. Does anyone else have any easy dishes I could bring for the kids?

Students waiting outside of a classroom at the GHS in Buea Town!