It has been a busy month for us here in Cameroon, and the next month is sure to be even busier. This blog post will be an attempt to fill you in on all the comings and goings we have had in the past couple of weeks. As many of you know, last week was our in-service training which was held in Kribi. It was fantastic to be back together with everyone again as we had not seen many people in 3 months. It was also great to finally see the beaches of Cameroon! We enjoyed plenty of beach time between sessions and of course ate a lot of seafood. The training was also a bit more exciting this time around, unlike the trainings we knew from PST these were more specific and useful to us at our post. We learned about a wide array of things, from small grant applications available to us to monitoring and evaluation tools and techniques.
Since arriving back at post this week we have been very busy playing host to a number of volunteers from around the country who have been traveling through Nkongsamba. In fact we have only had one night in 7 without anyone else staying at the house. We enjoy it though, as it is always fun to see others and we generally like to play the role of the host. On top of that, we have also been trying to prepare for several Christmas parties here. Yesterday was spent shopping for Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner ingredients, followed by a present wrapping party for one of the organizations that we work with who donates Christmas gifts to children who otherwise would have none. It is a great cause, but oh my, were there ever a lot of gifts to be wrapped. We will be going back to attend the gift giving ceremony later this afternoon…photos to come.
As for our own holiday plans we will be hosting more volunteers here for both Christmas Eve dinner as well as a grand Christmas day spread. It may not be a traditional American Christmas, but I am confident it will be a very fun time with friends all the same. We so wish we could be home with family, but, we are creating new memories of Christmas in Cameroon. After all of the Christmas celebrations we will have a short recovery before heading up to Bamenda in the NW region to spend New Year’s with the other 2 married couples. It should be a good change of pace as for the last few weeks as it will be only a small group of couples and it will be in an Anglophone region, so I can finally speak English again!
Once the New Year arrives, it will only be 3 short days before the family begins to get here and we start our vacation together. I am sure if you read this blog then you already know how much we have been looking forward to this. We will be spending several days up north, followed by 5 days at our post here in Nkongsamba and then lastly we will end it all with some more beach time again in Kribi. I am sure it will all go by much too quickly, and I just hope I can slow down and make it last longer.
Yes, these last few weeks have flown by faster than I could have imagined and the next few are certain to do the same. We continue to be busy as we look forward into the new year, in February and I will be running up Mt. Cameroon in the Race of Hope, with Mollie and other volunteers to cheer us on. I can guarantee you there will be a long blog post to follow that race! Then, March brings our online grant writing class, and before we know it, we will have been in Cameroon for a year. The time continues to pick up its pace, and we are trying to keep up by getting projects off the ground. So, for now, Mollie and I just want to wish everyone reading a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I hope you all have a fantastic holiday season wherever you are!