November 26, 2007
After a beautiful weekend at the beach, eating American food, and connecting with a few PCVs, it’s difficult to be back at post again.
Tim, Brad and I arrived in Tiko on Friday to spend Thanksgiving at Joe and Debbie’s house- everyone calls them Uncle Joe and Aunt Deb, because they are the married couple of the group that takes care of everyone else, as if we were their very own children. And what a breath of fresh air it was to be in a place that felt more like home that I had felt in a very long time. The generous hosts went above and beyond to make everyone feel extremely comfortable, and everything about this weekend warmed my heart. This Thanksgiving was amazing. I realize that what really makes me thankful and more grateful than any past holiday is the pure absence of what I would usually take for granted, so that we (I can say that my fellow PCVs feel the same way) cling onto any reminiscence of home and cherish it. The cranberry, chicken, mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy was without a doubt the most satisfying meal I have had in Cameroon. After 3 months officially at post, I was able to take a break and reflect on them with some of my PC family.
We shared some of our challenges, delights, and feelings of frustration. I was made aware that the feelings of frustration and lack of motivation that I had been experiencing were very common through out the group. I had had feelings of disappointment in myself at post, mostly because I felt I was not doing enough or not progressing well enough, but I was not alone. I was surprised that even Debbie, an experienced and passionate teacher of at least 20 years, was finding that she did not like teaching here. Without resources, the mentality that children are our future and deserve respect, the mentality of students, and in every other difficulty that we face as teachers, most days expend a great amount of energy that leaves you overwhelmed, frustrated, and unfulfilled. What fulfills me most of the time is simply being here and trying to shed some light on every situation. The children that passed by my house to give me fresh corn from the fields- and ended up cleaning my floors and preparing the corn for me- lets me know that I am appreciated in some way. My few English Club students that have given me letters to correct, to be sent to a corresponding WorldWise teacher and her class in Texas, lets me know that there is a spark of interest that I can work with. It’s impossible to see the big picture in just how we are aiding in the sustainable development goal of Peace Corps, so we latch on to the little things- and each other.
The beach in Limbe was gorgeous, and I already cannot wait to get back down south for In Service Training that lasts a week. Where the ocean meets the jungle is a beautiful spot to lie out and relax with friends. There’s even a little restaurant that apparently has great hamburgers, but when we went, there was only burgers and no ham, we were told, so that will have to wait.