Hello friends and family, I’m back!
I am sorry for the delay in my posts. I’ve had some technological issues recently, and I’ve been very busy over the past couple of weeks. However I’m trying to make up for it by posting three articles at once, so please make sure to read them all!
On Sunday, September 2nd, I left Miami with my Dad, to fly from Paris to Yaounde, Cameroon. Traveling was quite an experience, to say the least. From the moment I left the U.S. and landed in France, I learned a lot about myself and the people who I would meet in my new environment. When we landed in Paris to catch our connecting flight, I briefly lost contact with my Dad because of a restroom stop. It wasn’t easy trying to navigate my way through the airport, because I’m not fluent in French yet. We encountered a few obstacles along the way (late luggage arrival and my lost laptop), but I quickly learned how to make lemonade out of lemons. When we arrived in Yaounde, I was greeted by my Grandmother, my Uncle, and the SIT group (School of International Training). It was surreal to be reunited with my family after 10 years, and to return to the place where I created many childhood memories.
During the first week of the program, everyone stayed together in a monastery hostel. It was located on top of a hill with a beautiful view of the city. We spent most of our time in orientation to prepare for life in Cameroon. Most of the students in the program are from various areas in the United States. There are two students from Cameroon who are studying with us. During orientation, we learned about the Do’s and Don’ts of Cameroonian society. We discussed and compared American and Cameroonian culture. We also had interviews in French for our various course placement levels. We toured the city of Yaounde, and the National Museum of Yaounde. There we learned about the music, people, and history of Cameroon. There was an awesome exhibit which discussed the repercussions of the Transatlantic slave on Cameroon’s history, and the world at large.
Our last night together at the monastery, we enjoyed dinner with the faculty. We went to a very nice restaurant with live music. When the food was served, I was filled with nostalgia from some of my favorite dishes, and I was able to share my experiences with the Cameroonian students. The next day we all met our homestay families, ate together, and went our separate ways. My homestay family lives in an area called Bastos, which is very close to where I take my classes, so I walk to school. I live with a retired teacher and businesswoman, and their kids who are in their mid 20s to early 30s. They have all been very friendly and helpful, and I’m grateful that I have been placed in such a great home. So overall, my experiences have gone pretty well, and I will continue to update you all as my journey continues.