Tomorrow we are heading off to Yaounde for a variety of different reasons. Yaounde is Cameroon’s capital and is where the Peace Corps headquarters is. We will be spending the week either in meetings at the Peace Corps office followed by happy hour at the Hilton Hotel , or getting ready to run up a volcano. I think you can all guess which activity I, Mollie, will be participating in!
Shaun will only be in Yaounde for a little bit, as he is then traveling on to Buea, with two other volunteers who are his teammates for the Race of Hope. Buea is the town at the foot of Mount Cameroon, the highest mountain, and active volcano, in West Africa. Every year they host a race up and down the mountain, which is just about a marathon at 24 miles long. Shaun and team will be running the race as a relay, and will be spending the week getting everything in order. The race is on Saturday, so cheer the boys on as they race up the mountain together.
I will be spending the week in Yaounde. The primary reason is because I joined the CED (my program) Steering Committee, and we will be meeting later in the week. Shaun and I are starting a grant advisory board for Peace Corps, so I have a few meetings to get that up and going, and then, it will be nice to touch base with a few other people since I will already be in the office. The major ulterior motive to go is to catch up with other volunteers and friends that will be in Yaounde at the same time, for various other meetings. The Hilton Hotel is also in Yaounde, meaning most of this catching up will be done over the hotel’s happy hour…it will be great to catch up with friends with real cocktails on the side!
I will then go meet Shaun in Buea on Friday. On Saturday, the day of the race while Shaun and other volunteers are running (we have about 4 Peace Corps Volunteer relay teams participating!), there is a whole other group of volunteers that will be doing HIV/AIDS awareness and education for the group of spectators. I (we) are very excited to see how the race goes, what the atmosphere is like around race day, and participate in all of the activities. I can only imagine it will be nothing like Portland’s race day mornings that we are used to! I can also assure you that Shaun will write a long blog post about the race when we get back to post.
It will definitely be a busy week, but that is always welcomed after some of the slower weeks we have had. Stay tuned for the updates and reflections of our first real ‘work’ week in Yaounde and the Race of Hope!