Chiefs and Police
Trip Start Oct 12, 2009
12Trip End May 03, 2010
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I can’t remember quite where I left off last time (I’m writing at home to save precious internet minutes) but I have a few things to report on.
Firstly, work. The three of us (me, Louise & Justin) had a think at the start of last week about what we are going to do with our time here and what we want to achieve for RUDEC. As I probably mentioned the organisation is tiny with has big ideas, but has a serious lack of funding. We all kind of agreed that we need to focus on community-based projects that will require little or no money to operate but still be of help to the community. So my big idea is jam.
Pretty much everyone around here is a subsistence farmer so my idea is to get a few people (to start with) to make jam out of surplus fruits to sell and generate some income
On the not-work front, I’ve been up to quite a bit. Last weekend we went over to Fundong, a town about 40 minutes away, to see the fon (chief) of Kom (tribe local to this area). This involved buying gifts for him before we went (we’d been told he wasn’t in good health so opted for honey, juice & wine rather than the customary whisky) and all putting some money in an envelope for him. The palace (I use the term loosely) and compound are up in the hills so we piled into a taxi to get up there, 7 of us plus driver… in a minibus, I presume, I hear you thinking. Nope. 5 of us in the back and 2 in the front with driver of a bog-standard Toyota Corolla! (This is slight deviation from the standard 4 in back, 3 in front on account of the bad road hence the driver needing easy access to the gear stick.) Luckily though we only had to get out and walk part of the way, and despite being told we’d have to walk to the last half hour the taxi somehow made it all the way to the top. Getting down also required some pushing on our part, I was seriously worried at some points that we’d broken this guy’s car!
On arrival we were taken into the courtyard of the palace (a large version of standard brick huts, but with some nice carvings around the place) to see the fon. Normally he would have a meal cooked and eat with you, but today was the turn of a local village to bring him gifts so he didn’t have time for that (he doesn’t receive a salary, so people bring him food, booze & money)
On Wednesday we took a day off from work to go to a tea estate close to where we are. It’s the largest tea plantation in West Africa and after the failed attempt in Malawi, I actually got to have a cup of tea on a tea estate
In other news, the rain is persisting (good for crops but not good for me not being covered in mud!), my tan is still largely absent (rats) and I gave myself a haircut the other day…. I actually think it looks OK! Oh, and best of all, we’ve been told about a German nun in the next town along from us that makes cheese!! This is the most exciting news I’ve heard in a while, I know what I’m buying myself for Christmas. : )
This weekend's adventures to follow shortly! Hope everyone is well and enjoying all the Christmas food that I'm sure is starting to appear!