Africa in Miniature

Hello again! Thanks for joining me!

Recently, I have had many people ask me how I feel about Cameroon. At first, I did not think much about the answer to this question, just stating that I love it. However, when I began to consider my unique experience as an outsider, with this being my place of origin, I have decided to make a post about all of the reasons why I love this beautiful country.

  1. I love the hospitality of Cameroonians. Since I’ve been here, I feel as if I have not come across a stranger, because everyone is so welcoming and friendly. Cameroon is like the southern part of the U.S., because mostly everyone greets you when you speak to them, whether they know you or not.
  2. I love the fact that Cameroon is such a diverse nation, featuring so many different dynamics. It has ten different regions, and no region of Cameroon is like another. Each is uniquely beautiful in its own way, and so are the people within each region. Hence the nickname “Africa in Miniature”.
  3. I love the fact that Cameroon is a bilingual country. Being here has helped me to hone in my language skills in such a way that I’ve never been able to before, and I am grateful to be in such a place where cultural and linguistic immersion is the norm.
  4. I love that the method in which the country functions resembles a beautiful chaos. I have never seen a place where the phrase “there’s a method to the madness” applies more.
  5. I love that no day here is ever the same. As I always say “toujours quelque chose ici”, meaning that there’s always some new experience occurring each day. As you can probably tell, I live for adventure and spontaneity, and Cameroon provides both in a way that no other place can.
  6. I love the variety of cultures here. Cameroon is a country where people from all over the world come and can find other people who can relate to them in some way, shape, or form. For example, the girls that I met here from the Peace Corps and I were able to relate to our lives in the U.S., and our lives here as well.
  7. I love that Cameroon is seen as a place of refuge for people facing conflict within this region of Africa. From my work with my project concerning refugee children  and my work with ANICHRA, I have learned that a lot of people see Cameroon as a place of safety and a country to escape to during times of hardships and difficulties in their places of origin.
  8. I love that Cameroon reminds me so much of my university. I say this for many reasons, but mostly because the vast majority of Cameroonians love to look nice, and try to present their best selves at all times, especially when going out. If you know anything about Hampton, then you know that is pretty similar to the status quo of my university, where the motto is theStandard of Excellence” and dressing up is done on a regular basis.
  9. I love the relationships that I’ve been able to create during my time here. Every person I have met and every encounter I have had during my time here has taught me something about myself and the world, in a way which I have never experienced before.
  10. I love the collectivism mindset of Cameroonians.  For example, one day last week I attended a class at the university for my internship, and a lady walked in asking for donations for a surgical operation. I loved the way the students in the class banded together to provide her with whatever they had, and how Professor Dze Ngwa gave her the opportunity to receive help. I had never seen anything like it. It was a moment that I will never forget, and when I learned what the word collectivism truly represents.  
  11. I love that my experiences in Cameroon have challenged me and my worldview. As you can see from some of my posts, while being here I have been pushed out of my comfort zone in pretty much every way imaginable. These experiences have forced me to change, and have humbled me in ways that I never considered necessary. I now understand that my cultural and worldview perceptions are relative, and this revelation has made me more open-minded.
  12. I love the way Cameroonians do not feel pressured to look, speak, and act a certain way, as we do in the States. Since being here, I have not felt very pressured to look a certain way, or change myself or my looks into what I feel society deems as acceptable. 
  13.   Another thing that I appreciate about Cameroon is that political correctness is not a thing here. You say what you say, and you mean it. No apologies given. Also, privacy and personal space are truly not concepts here, which, to a certain extent, I find amusing.
  14. I appreciate the fact that when most Cameroonians speak, they speak with assertion, as if what they have to say is important. It takes some getting used to, but when it is used within the right context, I believe that it represents the strength of Cameroonians.
  15. I love how Cameroonians do not change their traditional values to match modern times. They are true to their roots. Traditional customs and languages are still spoken and practiced, and have been kept in tact, even after the periods of colonization and with neo-colonialism. I love this, because it is something that we are missing in the U.S., especially within the Black community, where this information is not available as common knowledge, with the history and heritage of our people having been taken from us through slavery. 
  16. I love that Cameroonians are a resilient people, who dress up and show up no matter how they are feeling, usually with a smile. Overall, Cameroonians have a strong sense of work ethic, which is something I that I like to believe that I have inherited.
  17. I love the way families come together and support each other here. In this society, you help and support your own in any way that you can, whether that be money, food, advice, or just quality time. 
  18. I love that here your community is also a part of your extended family. Everyone in Cameroon speaks like how you are taught growing up in the church. This meaning that everyone is your mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt,etc. It’s often hard to separate biological family members and friends of the family.
  19. I love that Cameroonians love to dance and have fun. Not being biased, Cameroonians throw some pretty great parties. Celebrations here last from sunset to sunup, and if you know me than you know that is my favorite kind of celebration.
  20. But most of all, I love that the primary love language of all Cameroonians is service. I believe that it is innately Cameroonian to show that you care in this manner, and I believe it to truly be the most beautiful thing about this place.

I hope that this answers the question concerning an outsider’s perception of Cameroon, and that it also provides insight into why I love this wonderful country within the heart of the continent of Africa. I am proud to call it my place of origin.

X.OX.O.,

-L.M.

One thought on “Africa in Miniature

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