Another week passes and another blogging courses its ephemeral way to you across the ether; binarised bollocks from the balmy boulevards of Extremely Northern Cameroon's foremost purveyor of all things bright and lighted. Lucidity comes in waves upon which I surf the shores of sanity but in this brackish backwater the waves themselves are few and far between so don't hold your breath.
Week two and another week of firsts. The first wet-season invasion of a billion buzzing beasties all intent on dying in the intermitent flickering of my living room light. Their brief lives and flighty dreams of procreation blown to pieces in a glimmer of neon luminescence. Sex or the bright light; it's a tough call if your a bug apparently.
The first lost days of the school year. We're two weeks in, 10 teaching days, and already 20% of them have fallen by the way in a rush of all too Cameroonian disorganisation. What was achieved in the meetings for which education was put on ice? For answers please submit an SAE to Fanny Adams, c/o The Catering Department.
The first 150+ lesson and there's more to come I feel. Mayhem has tended to be the adopted approach but then TEFL favours a student centred approach but then it doesn't expect classes of greater than about 25. Did he let that put him off? Don't be silly. "I'd like you all in groups of 6", he said, with the reckless abandon of the clinically insane. 10 minutes of Beatlemania-esque noise pollution but it was worth it. Fellow VSO-EFL-ers look at me as if I'm mad ... horses for courses is what I say and if that means dessert too, then so be it.
One of the more surreal moments was during a conversation with my neighbour who has returned with solitary sprog in hand so I am still a family of one. She whose accent is so convoluted I have little idea as to what she's talking about most of the time and whose stick of consciousness is as gnarled and twisted as a, something gnarled and twisted. An example:
Mrs NEIGHBOUR: "Avez-vous un chien?" / "Do you have a dog?"
Yours TRULY: "Un chien?" / "A dog?"
Mrs N: "Oui, Un chien pour cultiver les choses dedans." / "Yes, a dog for growing things in"
Yours T: "Un chien? Pour cultiver les choses dedans??" / "A dog? For growing things in?"
Mrs N: "Oui" / "Yes"
Yours T: "?" / "?"
Yours T: "?? ... ?" / "?? ... ?"
Yours T: "Oh, 'un champ' ... " / "Oh, 'a field' ..."
That was in week two. This week, during one of those fascinating rural conversations about hatching tiume of various beasts of the air, I told her how we'd once put a duck egg under a hen who had hatched said duckling. She couldn't work out how a chicken had hatched a duck ... I gave her a brief lesson in genetics and haven't seen her since. Not quite sure what she's doing but she then gave me a bowl of guinea-fowl eggs. Do you think she wants me to try and hatch them? It might break her heart if they actually hatched as guinea-fowl and not English teachers ...
Welcome, as it were, to my world.
In parting I leave you with possibly the finest piece of advertising the world has ever seen ... it's my opinion and I have no pretences towards humility but it's kept me smiling for at least 10 years now ... here's hoping it works. If not, there's a tag underneath.
Enjoy people, until next time.
"Hi. I'm Ray Gardner, spokesperson for Blackcurrant Tango ..."