Posted by: Matthew | Fri: October 10, 2008

Lost posting

This is the post that I wrote right before leaving for the Kuhn’s but lost. I should finish the posting about my trip soon

The electricity was on for the whole night last night. It was very exciting, not to mention weird to see my house lighted by the harsh fluorescent lights after getting used to the moody ambiance that the candles and lanterns cast. Few things are as unknowable as the power grid here where twenty-two power cuts in one day it’s not unheard of, nor is three months without a single cut. Nevertheless, nothing bring as much joy as the clicking of my voltage regulator announcing that, somewhere in the mysterious inner workings of SONEL (the power company), someone decided to flip on the switch marked Batouri and give us light. Never do the words of the Genesis resound more resonantly with me than when power randomly appears after a week (or two or three…) of enigmatic darkness.
“And God said ‘let there be light,’ and there was light”

Unfortunately there’s no such quick fix that appears from the heavens for the youth group’s projects. It’s not even that they need a fix, they just need some movement. I’m sure I have already mentioned the differences in the attitude and approach towards work and professionalism between local culture here and my western upbringing. I have mostly been able to reconcile theses differences, which is to say, accept that I will get half the number of things done that I had planned. With the youth project, for example, we are at nearly exactly the same point as we were when I last posted. Now normally I would consider this an acceptable pace of progress, however now that I’ve found a project I really believe in I want it to be done NOW! Recently, however, the hold up has been on the Peace Corps side of things. It’s been a really busy time for the Yaoundé office with a budget crisis (thanks for that Congress) and new volunteer groups arriving (which makes me an old(er) timer!). But at least the project looks like it’s on the right path and it will get the financing…eventually.

Meanwhile, this next week I am heading down to work in conjunction with two agro-forestry volunteers (Matt and Sarah Kuhn) posted with the WWF in a small town called Mambélé. It’s is a good two days from me on the public transport over poorly maintained unpaved roads. I’m quite excited at the chance to go down there as they might be in the most remote posting we have in Cameroon and its right in the heart of the Congolese rainforest. Although seeing as how we’ve cleverly planned this trip right in the middle of the rainy season I hope I don’t get more of an adventure than I bargained for! So I should have an interesting posting for you when I get back.

For anyone trying to call me (which should be all of you!) I’ll be out of réseaux range starting this Saturday the 28th until Saturday the 3rd, maybe longer depending on the condition of the roads, so don’t be concerned if you can’t get through.


  1. Hi Matthew,

    Glad you had time to post this, we really enjoy reading your blogs. Not much new here except for the stock market collapse and general economic meltdown. It might not be such a bad time to be in Africa.

    Love Dad

  2. Jose,
    Glad you’re back safely. I can’t wait to hear about your adventures in the rain forest in the rainy season.
    Aunt Susie

  3. Hi Matthew, so good to hear from you again. We missed you at the family picnic. It rained so we didn’t have the big volleyball game or campfire. Bob is adding on to the patio out from the basement (north end) of house and going to put in a firepit, would put you to work if you were here. Brook is now an LPN and working in a doctors’ office, loves it. We have Mindy’s little guy (almost 1 yr old) 2 days a week and really enjoy him. The Bakers enjoy your blogs too. Look forward to hearing how things went in the rain forest. Love, Aunt Emily and Bob

  4. I have talked to a guy in French at least 4 times trying to call you. The first time I freaked out, said “Merci” and hung up. The 3rd time I decided to try to communicate. He repeated your name a few times, and then I thought I caught the word dejeuner and decided he was telling me you were at lunch. I said in French (hopefully) to tell you that your sister called. Did you get the message? Or was I just talking to some random guy because the lines got crossed? I got the same guy ( i think? ) calling this weekend and am now giving up calling you until I figure out if I am actually getting your phone or someone random.

    I miss you! Haven’t talked to you in forever…text me sometime and let me know when I can call!
    Love you

  5. Good to hear your still trudging along. You really are doing good work, even if it doesn’t feel like it. At least you are setting a great example for your little cousins!:) Jayson is often in awe of what you do and where you live. He doesn’t get the political stuff, but loves to read about where you are. Anyway the point is don’t give up and hang in there. We are proud of you! Love ya,

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