June 1, 2017
We made it! So sorry about the delay of this connection. No internet access until today and it is in and out now. We are so glad to tell you we are safe and starting to rest.
First impressions of Cameroon?
1) Motorcycles are EVERYWHERE. They are ubiquitous! They are the most common form of transportation here. And they are coated in the red dust of Dschang just like the houses and the gates. Even in the rainy season, red dust is everywhere. If it is like this now when it is wet, what must it be like during the dry season?
2) They drive on the same side of the road that we do in the US. But all the signs are in French! Nicki is trying to negotiate simple French, but it is a challenge. Tonight we start our 1st retreat and we have Fr. Joseph to translate. Thank God. The sisters are very good-natured with our attempts at French, though.
3) We are in the season of the Number One Mangos (Victoria’s favorite… no fibers… yea). Also avocados (See Nicki smile). We even had wine the first night in Dschang (pronounced Chong). You can see the French influence.
4) They warned us it was cold… we discovered that means cold FOR THEM. Hot and still humid for us. Not too many mosquitoes in Dschang, thank heavens, though.
Three wonderful things here… next door are the Daughters of Charity sisters, sister-cousins of Sr. Victoria’s community (Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati). We met them yesterday and were so excited to shake hands with them.
Also, Senator Etienne provided peanut oil, rice, water and coke for the retreat! See him here in his finery with Nicki and Sr. Marie Elisabeth. We are so grateful. He is a special friend of the sisters.
Yesterday was the feast of the Visitation… Sr. Elisabeth, our contact’s feast. We had brought her a watch to thank her for her work to get us here. In the evening, there was much singing and ululation as she opened it. Her own watch had broken a year ago. Isn’t it amazing that we chose that gift for her without knowing? Everyone was grateful.
Finally, we went to an end of the school year performance yesterday. The kindergarten was acting out a play, highly amplified with a microphone. They acted out a wedding… the little girl asks before she consents, “Do you have money?” “Yes, I have money and a good job. I also have a big car!” She is satisfied in her white dress. The parents insist on a church wedding, but until then they sign the papers for a traditional marriage and dance around the stage. Darling. Absolutely precious.
We hope to get word to you again as we get electricity and internet. Know that we are safe and hot but happy. Love to you all and keep us in your prayers.
Nicki and Victoria