Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The King and I

Last Sunday I met a King.

His majesty King Fotso Nka’kkho of the Bamougoum Dynasty took the throne in 1981 and is the 20th king of Bamougoum, the first king being Ndjwòngveu who established the kingdom in 1403. The current monarch has over 100 wives some of which he inherited from his predecessor. I found this all out at a visit to a local Chefferie near Baffoussam, the regional capital of the West region of Cameroon. The food was great, the art in the palace consisted of wood carvings and the 100 wives danced for us as a tribute to us being honoured guests of the king.

I thought I would start out this post with something out of the ordinary. It has been a few weeks since I last posted something new and the novelty of the trip up north has passed, considering that I will be repeating it on Thursday, 20th of August. My apologies for not posting as regularly as I may have wanted to. Nonetheless Stage has finished. Tomorrow I swear in as a peace corps volunteer and start my duties and responsibilities in Kaélé and I am antsy to start. The stage has been useful but after 11 weeks of it I am more than ready to put it behind me. There have been some interesting elements to it though. After the visit up north we had a representative of the Ministry for the Development of Small and Medium sized businesses (PME in French) visit us and talk about schemes they have in place to encourage the development of business in Cameroon. That was a stellar presentation; especially after we tasted some of the dried mangos and bananas prepared by a company he helped out that export the stuff to Switzerland. There’s a ministry office in Maroua so I am looking forward to collaborating with it up north.

I had a cross cultural presentation on waste management in Cameroon. It seems that things are improving in the country now that they have the society in charge of waste collection and disposal expanding throughout the country. Suddenly “être propre” is the cool word in town and everyone is joining the bandwagon. That does not mean that the piles of garbage on the crossroads here are going to disappear anytime soon, but they do get collected. I finished my consulting with the local cable company in town and recommended them to become a stronger monopoly. That was not the type of consulting I envisioned doing here, but it was interesting anyhow. The owner outperformed all the other competition in town and is continuing to expand relentlessly throughout the area, adding new publicity schemes and creating new markets to tap. He did not really need my help in my opinion but it was good fun trying to come up with recommendations for him.

On other things, there has been a lot going on. But to be frank what I just wrote is the juicy bit. My time in Bangangté is coming to a close and Kaélé is calling. I will not be speaking Fulfulde there, just Mundong (spelling to be checked!) though Fulfulde is an interesting but complicated language. On that note, Useko, Sey Yeeso (thank you, goodbye) and next time I will not be a pukaraajo (student) but a janginoowo (teacher) writing from Kaélé, Extreme North, Cameroon.

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