|Yes He is and you, Little Man are brave!|
|The view from Sherri's front porch|
I made it. The journey was long. The flight to Doula stopped unbeknownst to me in Libreville, Dakar. I was crawling out of my skin by the time this almost 8 hour flight was over after having just gotten off a 17.5 hour flight. Way too may hours of sitting and staring. Odd how so much sitting will wear you slap out. The airport in Doula took me home with that familiar first whiff of Africa. The airport air smelled of urine, breath, sweat and fuel. It was sultry to say the least. I kept having to wipe my face at baggage claim, where a sign boasted "Home of Coca Cola". It took me way to long to notice that I was the only white girl. I gathered my luggage on a rickety cart and pushed it out to find Sherri waiting for me. Porters were trying to grab my bags as we were trying to hug necks but we fought them off like pros. Well, okay Sherri fought them off while I stood there flabbergasted and bewildered. I have done all of this before but all the transition from one world to the other takes more than a moment.
It was an hour and a half drive from Doula to Buea. It was dark and I could not see much other than lots of green. Rainy season is coming to an end but what I saw was all so vibrant lush and tropical, even in the dark. The boys who collected us pulled over on the side of the road at one point to let a car behind us take over. They were doing it as a trick so that the lead car would be the first to be stopped at the police checkpoint and we would be able to proceed. Sure enough, it worked. At the first checkpoint the police was peeing on the side of the road, lucky for us. And at the second, the car who had over taken us was stopped and we were allowed to sail right through. I am usually the foreigner in this situation and only see it from my point of view. It was interesting to see that even the locals struggle with police issues and government bureaucracy and it is not just a plot against me alone.
We parked the car at the bottom of the road to Sherri's house and walked up hill the final bit of the journey home. At that point I did wonder if I would EVER arrive. I had left on Saturday, it was almost Wednesday. We hiked up the wet, steep, rocky hill and Sherri's beautiful oasis was a beacon on a hill. It looks as if it were made for a princess, a little African castle with iron gate. We tumbled inside and sat in silence as there were no words. I had a million questions and we have four years of catching up to do but my language portion of my brain wouldn't work so we just looked at each other and laughed.
I slept 10 hours thanks to the major fatigue and Melatonin. This afternoon we went into town to attempt to buy a SIM card for my phone but something is wrong with their computers and they cannot activate them. I exchanged money and bought coffee. The town of Buea is busy and hopping. It is so different than Pemba. The women here are smartly dressed and people are busy and going places and professional. Apparently 80% of Cameroon is French speaking and the other English. We are in the English speaking region. You have no idea how wonderful this is. Half of my major frustrations in traveling internationally and working in Africa has been because of language barriers. You never know if someone is saying, "Good morning, how do you do?" or "Good afternoon, if you don't give me your bag, I am going to kill you." You have to be incredibly attentive to tone of voice and body language and all of your surroundings. You feel as if you have lost one of your senses and all the others step up to fill in the gap that is left by you essentially being deaf. But on the streets of Buea, I could have found my own way and enjoyed being able to greet and understand others.
Sherri lost a very close friend this week to cancer. She is at the home of her friend now. I can feel her loss among the community of Sherri's Cameroonian family in my short time being here. I am amazed at God's timing and am glad I can be here for Sherri in this very moment and in these days ahead. He knew she needed a friend and I am honored He sent me.
We have loads on the calendar, a course I will be teaching, planning sessions for future projects, and staff meeting tomorrow. But for now I am re-entering, breathing in Cameroon and it feels so good.