Sunday, March 18, 2007

Back again so soon?

Yes, indeed I am ... after one solitary night in Godola I discovered there were a whole list of things on my list of things not to forget that I had as it happens forgotten. Not just that but there were also no end of things that I hadn't even thought of that I suddenly find I need, and things too which I bought but just need more of ... it's terribly confusing, not very exciting but thought you should know none the less.

Also there was a phonecall that needed to be made: I have reception in my house, but only it seems for 3 seconds at a time and assuming the wind is blowing in the right direction. Text messages get to me but phonecalls get lost in the heat. Who can blame them! +237 9161764 should you be interested. Can't promise responses to texts but I'll try and include you in my emailing duties as and when I can fulfil them.

So, yes, the first night. And what a night it was. Actually it was the whole day really but the night was infinitely more peculiar.

Had what could be described as 'one of those days' yesterday when everything seemed to go wrong. Not badly wrong just wrong enough for you to realise after the 7th little bit wrong thing that it was going to be one of those days, sighing resignedly and letting it take its course.

The journey there in the front of a truck whose miopic driver seemed to manage to avoid missing any of the 38million pot-holes on the road twixt here, Maroua, and there, Godola. Officious army/police types waved us over in the hope of a little baksheesh but whatever was said appeased his uniformed ego and he let us go ... perhaps it was a warning that Saturday 17th March was going to be 'one of those days'.

Got to the house, unloaded the kit and was left with a small shabbily dressed man who was assigned sweeper and general cleanser of future abode. He did as his job suggested, helped arrange the furniture and so I was left.

A breif description me thinks wouldn't go amiss, but then again ... two rooms, one big the other not so. White walls in and out with a metal roof. External latrine is used by me and the family in the other building on the compound and is going to take some getting used to, to say the least. Kitchen consists of a gas bottle with a hob attached to the top, a fridge and a large metal water filter that is going to be working incredibly hard for the next couple of years! And that is about that. A few chairs, a table, a bed, a couple of cupboards ... actually it's almost luxurious in many ways.

Met the neighbour, or rather Mrs Neighbour and her progeny ... two small and smiley things of the female persuasion who parrot everything I say and spend most of their time staring wide-eyed at my obscure, almost ghostly drifting around what is effectively their garden! Mrs Neighbour said she'd show me how to whistle up some Cameroonian fare and also to tell me what's what. When Mr N got home, we did our intros and then they very kindly fed me. Not sure if they knew that my fridge was empty but the gesture was accepted whole-heartedly.

And then the boss rocked up.

There I was thinking "I'll get used to this" and he appeared, gave me the standard security chat which achieved little but to scare me shitless. All those friendly people I'd seen in town that afternoon became ax wielding maniacs with designs on my life and various parts of my anatomy. They were all gun-toting weirdos with no consideration for the sanctity of human life and were all lurking in the shadows, waiting for me to turn out the light and then they'd strike.

No sooner had I turned out the light than they struck.

Imaginary foes are the worst of all and as I leapt out of bed, armed to the teeth with my leatherman, unlocked the door and hurled myself at the imaginary foe in the living room I felt a little ridiculous. Strange house, strange noises, strange town surrounded by strangers ... I think it's alright to be a little on edge! Imaginary foe slain, normality resumed until 5 o'clock when it sounded like someone was trying to get in through the roof.

Leapt out of bed, armed to the teeth again, looked out the window to see a dazed looking vulture who'd clearly done a less than graceful landing on hot corrugated iron and then slid off. Not sure whether it's a good thing to have vultures providing your morning call but I guess it's better to see them than not!

And so there we go ... back in town, this time on the back of a moto-taxi and with a helmet full of millet seed. Got hit by a man going the wrong way with a bag of millet ... him that is, not me. Bag split and he filled my crash helmet with seeds ...

More wiffle, more waffle and a whole load of piffle to go with it. This'll be my last for a while I imagine. Think you've got enough to be getting on with though!

Must dash, the vultures are waiting.


  1. Hey Lex, me again! Will have to think carefully about what I say this time, so as to avoid cyberbullying for my attempt at communication! Look at you being all brave, hate imaginary baddies, we get lots of them in Biggin Hill, especially when I'm the only one at home! bet they're that much bigger and badder in Africa though! Sounds like you are starting to settle which is good, and the 'house' sounds utterly beautiful! Keep meaning to ask how Gupert is managing out there with all that sun and stuff - hope you are taking good care of him! Right really had better get back to work now. peace out, big love and tanti baci captain xxx

  2. Thanks for the cell number. I'm sure I'll use it. Txting on Sykpe is super cheep these days I hear so I'll give it a go. Glad you are getting some extra adventuring thrown in. I was beginning to think that relocating to a small African nation was too easy, and anyone could do it. But I think it takes a certain mad fool, shitting yourself in the middle of the night (and not because of the food, although who knows...), dodging axe wielding types armed to the teeth with teeth and arms to continually see the lighter side. Cheerio and have a super weekend (they do have weekends do they?) I'm off the an IMAX to sit in a rumble-seat and experience a movie made almost entirely of digital magic. I imagine yours will be just as exciting, only a but dustier.

  3. Mills4:39 pm

    Hi there!!!! Well it certainly sounds like you are having an adventure or two out there! It must be feeling less and less strange as the days go by and i'm sure that you'll soon have a pet fruit bat and vulture to keep you company! Loving the blogs - doing lots of laughing out loud which is attracting a few strange glances. Take care of yourself. xxxxxxxxxxx

  4. Yes, they have teeth. Yes, they have arms. Yes it's all a little bit perplexing, but then again I'm sure they'd say the same about my 'normal' life.

    The baddies have gone, Jeff is at the gate: the baptists won't let him in ... they nearly didn't let me in either till I showed them my voluntary status ... some people are so fickle.

    The time has come to blow this popsicle stand. A boiling hot, cockroach and gekko infested room awaits, with a giant hairdryer purporting to be a fan to keep me 'cool' ... uh-huh.



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