Random Far North

We have been asked many times to supply photos from Cameroon’s Far North.  Truth be told, when “up there” we hardly explore much around Maroua which is to our great shame.  Sometimes we simply don’t feel we have enough to write about, or we get distracted or some things seem a little too random to post.  So here are a few pics and mini-stories we meant to share.

Mosquée Issa Balarabé

Friday prayers:  Outside our house in Maroua is one of the town’s special Friday mosques which means that it is a gathering place for the midday prayer each week.  They block the street to traffic and men file in with their mats for the 20-minute or so weekly ritual. Last month, the imam there pulled in a favour from the President and succeeded in convincing the local government to install speed bumps in front of the mosque to slow traffic down.  Great idea as there were way too many moto accidents for our tastes… I wonder though… could 7 speed bumps in less than 50 meters be overkill (pardon the pun).

Neighbourhood kids:  Here is what we have learned about how to deal with the kids who use our front stoop as a playground.  When they are too rowdy, there are a few options – none of which involve asking them to quiet down as they think that is just the funniest thing.  No, instead one has to be creative.

Tactic 1: if they are banging the metal gate over and over and over, then you can put a padlock on the gate.  The ensuing confusion will bring silence for at least an hour while they gather kids from everywhere to inspect what the weird “nassaras” have done now.

Tactic 2:  Clean the courtyard with water and ensure that it flows out underneath the front door and wets their feet.  Again, confusion reigns supreme!

Tactic 3:  If the goofing around is happening at night while trying to watch a movie on the computer, then simply bring on silence by turning off the outside light!  No light on the street means kids have to find an alternate playground!  Or go to bed.

wedding parade

Wedding party:  If you hear banging, singing, ululating and whistling, chances are there is a wedding party walking by!  Women carrying various sets of pots with an enormous amount of food and other goods for the newlyweds parade through the streets spreading the news of the union.  Beats honking horns!

These are just a few of the many stories we should have shared before.

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~ by Caroline Spira on July 11, 2010.

2 Responses to “Random Far North”

  1. Hi Greg and Caroline,

    My name is Martin and I am writing to you on behalf of a website that I am currently involved in starting up. We aim to provide prospect volunteers with all the information they need in order to feel confident in their choice of organisation, position and destination, as well as inspire people to make the jump and try out volunteering.

    As a part of that, I was wondering whether you might be interested in answering a few questions and perhaps sharing any advice you may have for people who are considering to volunteer.

    If you think you might have time to do this, I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me through info@volunteeringinfo.org, and you can view the website I’m representing at http://www.volunteeringinfo.org.

    Thanks, and keep up your amazing work!

    Martin Jonsson

  2. When you leave Maroua, a part of you will always remain behind.

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