On Saturday, we had our first party! Normally, our curfew is set at 7pm, so we are all back to our host families at dusk for dinner each night. However, two other trainees arranged to put together a party last weekend!
It was quite the hassle to get all of the details in line. The party was held in a hotel in Bafia, it is the only hotel with 1 star, meaning it is the only hotel with any stars. It is also the only place in Bafia where you can get French fries! We reserved the banquet room, and each chipped in about $1 to cover the cost of the rental. We got approval from the trainee director to get our curfew extended until 10pm, so we were all excited for the outing. Come to find out, the party organizers had to also get approval from the city director and police officers – a concept totally foreign to us, but is something that we should get used to. The two trainees had to go to the head of the gendarmes, the local police, and give a list of all of the trainees attending the party. After that, they then had to go talk to the prefet, essentially the person in charge of the city, and request permission for us to have the private party at the hotel. Of course both the gendarmes and prefet obliged, and they sent a few security guards to be posted at our party. Shaun and I both thought this was all a bit comical, as there is a lot of hype around our security here, even though we have all felt very safe the whole time. The guards ended up sitting outside our banquet room watching the France/Spain soccer game on a small tv, and provided us with score updates.
All in all, we had a good time out. It was really nice to have a night out and enjoy hanging out with our friends and other trainees here. Sunday was mostly spent ‘recovering’ and relaxing. There are tentative plans for throwing another party, this time, a pagne prom, before we leave for our posts, so we will have that to look forward to as well!