05 November 2007

Some pictures we took a few weeks ago when we went on a pirogue trip in Kribi.

We saw our new house last week. I'm very pleased, because it's clean, there are no holes in the walls, no lizzards and cockroaches running around, no mold or damp and it smels like a normal house. Yes our house smells really bad lately, because it's made out of wood and with the extreme humidity it gets very moldy and therefor smelly. I'm even more eager to move now, but the house is still occupied by David's future boss. So we'll have to wait just a little longer.

25 October 2007


So since my policy is for every comment one post, there we go...
David is kind of finished doing the biodiesel here, so we're on to another project. Starting next februari, he'll be building a new factory (in the middle of the jungle, so we're talking about starting from the ground up). This means we'll be moving to another plantation, but we're staying in Cameroon. It's actually just an hour drive from here. The fun thing about that plantation is that there are a lot more expats than here, so there's a bit motre of a social life.
If all goes well, it ll be a two year project. He's very excited, offcourse, because it's a cool thing to do, certainly at his age.
So naturally I am looking forward to moving out and we would like to move sooner if possible. I'm a bit sad that we're not moving to another country, but in the end, we're quite ok here and it spares us from the awkward 'get to know the place'-feeling. Moreover it gives us some more time to see the country, because so far we haven't been visiting a lot. Frankly, we've only seen Kribi and Douala, but there's so much more out there!

17 October 2007


Ok, since I had one comment you are entitled to one anekdote.
I'm not sure if I already talked about my new Kamerounian friend. She's called Eleanore and she lives here in Edea. It s a very lively woman, full of projects, so I'm sure we'll have lots of fun in the near future. But that's not what I wanted to talk about. Since I only want to write one anekdote, let me tell you a funny one.
Last weekend, we were eating at the restaurant in Edea (delicious shrimps... we can't get enough of them) and she walked in. She saw us and came to our table to say hi. She said she was meeting her brother there, so very quickly she was of, only to steal a shrimp from our plate... and without even asking or mentioning it!
As you can believe we were astounished... so we started thinking. Eleanore is a well educated woman, so we assumed that she didn't mean to be impolite. So we figure that's a normal thing to do here.
And as we thought about it even more, we remembered one time we had made some christophines at home, and one of the camerounian managers was at our place. We asked him if he knew the vegetable, and as an answer he took our serving spoon and just ate of our dish...
But that's not all! When David was at the hospital, one day I brought him a pizza, the nurse came in and saw that pizza. 'can I taste', she said. Off course we said yes, omnly to find her walking of with a quarter of my sick husband's food.
So if you catch us eating of your plate next time... Hey! It's the camerounian way!!!

10 October 2007


Dearest readers,

Even though there s a lot going on in our little Camerounian life, I'm not very tempted to write any more, since I hardly get any comments. You'd start to wonder why you're writing in the first place. I hope you all can understand that it's not motivating to write if you don't get any feedback. So out of protest I'm going on strike untill I get enough investment back from your side.

01 October 2007

Communicating again

After a long time of non-communication, I m back. It s been a hectic few weeks. David
's been in the hospital with malaria for two days (apparently Lariam doesn't protect you all that well with these mosquitoes from hell), so I had to bring him food. As a European you cannot imagine that they don t feed you in a hospital. So when you don't have any family, you starve (and i m talking about a private clinic, not the public one!).
David has been really busy and is looking towards a really full schedule. I m keeping busy quite well these last couple of weeks, fixing up the house, sewing some clothes, occasionally spending time with Adel... I've got a new little assignment from David's boss making another movie, which I'm looking forward to. And this week I'm sending my first little package to Belgium... May the exporting commence!
Adel askt me to come to Ghana with her at the end of the month, but it's so expensive (the flights between african countries), it's almost cheaper to fly to Ghana when you fly to Europe first, can you imagine?

11 September 2007

Onder het motto van "hou jezelf nuttig bezig" ben ik begonnen met mijn mini-export onderneminkje. Eerst wilde ik een winkeltje openen in Edea met Adel en van daaruit wat dingen exporteren, maar dat is een beetje in t water gevallen omdat dat hier veel teveel kost om dat legaal te doen. De meeste winkels hier doen alles gewoon in t zwart (hihi grappige connotaties!) en dat wordt getolereerd, maar als expat kunt ge zoiets niet maken, want dan komen ze u natuurlijk uitpersen tot ge niks meer over hebt. Dus we beperken ons tot exporteren. Ben al goed gaan onderhandelen met onze artisanat.
Eindelijk een projectje! Zelfs al heb ik mij de laatste tijd al goed kunnen bezighouden met mijn naaimachine, het gevoel van nutteloosheid blijft, dus bij deze proberen we daar verandering in te brengen.
Als er dus iemand geïnteresseerd is in Kameroenese juweeltjes, contacteer mij gerust.

Voor de rest heeft Davidje nog steeds veel werk met zijn nieuw fabriekske. Veel steken we eigenlijk niet uit wegens het regenseizoen en gebrek aan transport. Hopelijk binnenkort meer te vertellen.

06 September 2007

I know it's been a while since I have last been able to write something and I also know I have promised to write more often... There are some decent reasons for not blogging, though. First, David has a lot of work, because they're going to build a new part on his biofactory and since he is the boss he has to plan, make budgets... So he doesn't have a lot of time to bring me over.
Secondly, the internet office is always occupied and that makes me hesitant to come over.
Third reason: it's raining most of the time and then I cannot get to this office at all.
Last reason: there's not a lot going on so not much to write about.
Indeed, we are now experiencing the rainy season. It's not as bad or depressing as we imagind. It does sometimes rain two days in a row, but in a way, the rain here doesn't suck the energy out of you as it does in Belgium. Maybe because it's still kind of sunny most of the time and the temperature is still ok.
So what have I been up to the last couple of weeks?
Not much, as I already said. But I have been able to keep busy much more constructively than before we came to Belgium. So far I have been sewing a lot. We also painted one of our bathrooms and I try to see my friend as much as possible (which, quite frankly, is not a lot).
We were talking about setting up a shop in Edea... but we're not sure. Consumerism is non existant here, so it would be a struggle just to earn someting, and then there's still bills to pay, so we're still pondering if it would be worth our while. And then there's also the transportation problem since neither of us have a car to get to Edea.
But we will find a way to keep occupied (and maybe even make some money, while we're at it).

15 August 2007

Bye bye Belgium

Our stay in Belgium is almost over. Tomorrow we leave really early in the mornig. We have a flight at 10 am but we still have to get taxes back and so on, so we ll be at the airport way earlier.

Being back in Belgium was a lot heavier than we expected. The first two weeks we've been shopping like crazy people. I had imagined that would have been fun after such a long while without, but it's proven to be a tiresome and hectic experience. Furthermore, you have to combine the shopping with trying to see everybody (that didn't work out! three weeks in Belgium and we didn't manage to see all the people we wanted).

Luckily we went on holiday in Tunesia for a week (funny, a holdiay in a holiday), which was very relaxing, we had our spa treatments in the morning.

Since posting pictures is a lot easier here, I'll put some on of our holiday.
Nic, den dezen is speciaal voor u!

I'll try to blog more often once I'm back in Cameroun. The thing is that most of the time I'm under the impression that I don't have anything to tell, it's just life, you know. But I'll try my best to keep blogging.
Now I have to get on with making our bags!

20 June 2007

Binnenkort naar België

We zijn in België tussen 24 juli en 16 augustus (wachten nog op bevestiging voor de vluchten). Tussenin gaan we wel nog ergens op reis, we weten nog niet zeker waar opf wanneer, meer info volgt.
Niet veel te vertellen hier, dit weekend nog s naar Kribi geweest op zondag, want het was mooi weer. We zitten nu volop in t kleine regenseizoen, maar dat valt eigenlijk nog wel goed mee. Het regent eigenlijk meestal 's nachts. Overdag natuurlijk ook soms wel, maar t is niet echt storend.
David zijn fabriekje is nu volledig operationeel, hij heeft zelfs al een aantal man personeel, dus veel werk voor hem nu.
Volgende week verblijven we even op een andere plantage, want David moet daar 't een of 't ander doen.

16 May 2007

Busy (for once)

This will be a real quick message, because I'm really busy. David is ready to start working with Emanuelle tomorrow, so, I had to help him out the last couple of days. Therefor we haven't been online a lot lately.
And even now, I've got so much to do in very little time that I will make this rather short.

This weekend we finally went to the Hotel Sanaga here in Edea. It's about the only hotel in the region. What's really interesting to us is that they have a restaurant and a club with a swimming pool and squash and tennis field... So we went swimming and afterwards we had the most wonderful roasted shrimp ever! We went there with Cédric, who is also a colleague of David.

The garden at David's factory is slowly becoming something more than just a wide space of earth and dirtyness... Some of the managers have already said they like it. We're really starting a beautifying offensive... Next up is David's office space and the factory itself.

09 May 2007

Happy housewife

At the risk of upsetting a few feminists, I hereby declare that I am completely and utterly happy because I have finally managed to put new lining paper in my kitchen cupboards. You cannot imagine what a relief!!! Before they were lined with just ugly and dirty wallpaper... Not very hygienic.
I think I must have done about seven stores to find lining paper though. Well, I've been looking for it for more then two months now.

And I must also add that I am quite happy with the programming on sattelite television. (FIY we've got canal Sat) I didn't quite like the fact that everything is dubbed in French, but it is true that you do get used to it. And there's always a good movie on, at any time of the day. And we can still follow most of the shows we were watching in Belgium (exept for Cold Case).
It did get quite annoying during French presidential elections though!

07 May 2007

Info on Douala

We've been to Douala again this weekend. It's funny how we discover new things everytime. This time we even went to the fruit and vegetable market. Normaly this is not really a recomended tourist visit, but we found it to be really nice. The people were maybe a little more annoying than at other shops or markets, but it was quite enjoyable and we got to buy a lot of fruit & veg very cheap.
On the way home, I saw a stall selling crocodiles. They were alive, hanging by their tails on a shabby stall. Trying to get away offcourse and squirming. It's kind of painfull to see, because they're babycrocodiles, they're so tiny...

Some info on Douala:
At first glance it isn't such a nice city. It doesn't even seem like a city, because houses rarely surpass one floor, most of them are just shacks really. There isn't a real touristical appeal at all. You can't walk around, you have to drive, but for that you need a driver. (White people aren't recommended to drive there). You can imagine the traffic. And they don't really have regulations or anything, accept maybe survival of the fittest. Red lights are only there to decorate the road and next to that, there are pedestrians everywhere.
As I mentioned, no touristical appeal whatsoever. There's just one little market where they sell art and flowers, but apperently these things are better in other places of the country.
Hotels are really expensive in Douala (the same for Yaounde). There are of course some less expensive ones, but they're really bad, so it's not very enjoyable to stay there.

We had our first encounter with a real living snake yesterday. It was crawling just a few meters from our house so we didn't want to go out any more.

03 May 2007

Weekend at Kribi

Barbecue man at the fish market. Best fish ever!
We went to see Jean-Marie's footbball match. (Jean Marie is the tall white guy, Etienne- middle- is also a colleague of David and had to play referee)
The falls of the Lobe river into the ocean

Even though we had been trying to get to Kribi for my birthday, it kind of happened out of the blue, when Friday night; we got a message from Jean-Marie saying he had a football game on Saturday and that they could come by to pick us up. We were very exited, because we had a 4 day weekend with the 1st of May.
We changed hotels after the first day, because even though the first hotel was really cheap (10 000 CFA, which is about 15 euros a night), the rooms smelled of damp and the toilet didn’t even have a seat and there was no hot water. Nevertheless, the terras at that hotel was really beautiful, but the lack of service made it again kind of annoying.
On Saturday, we went to eat fish at the marina. The fishermen come with their small boats and deliver and you can choose what you want. Then there are some women with a barbecue who grill it for you. It was the most wonderful fish I ever had in my life. Especially the barracuda and the rouget (I don’t know what it is called in English, it’s quite a small reddish fish) were delicious.
Our stay was kind of a feast, food wise, we had crab and shrimp, the latter we ate shell and all. Might seem weird, but most of the flavour is in the shell and it gets really soft when cooked. I even had crocodile and porcupine (which is really superbe). And we had the Mbongo, which is a local sauce. It’s black and full of flavour. Next time we get to Kribi, I’ll ask the lady from the African restaurant to give me some lessons.

When we went to the Lobe falls wefound a magnificent beach where the water was really calm and clear. Hardly any people around!!! Superbe.
I finally got a little bit of a tan. Can you imagine it takes me two months to get a tan. We can't go out at the plantation because of the insects. But in Kribi there aren't a lot of them, so...

26 April 2007

Garden of Eden

We've discovered a whole new part of our garden yesterday. We already thought it was rather huge, but now it's quite frankly giant. We've got a small pepper plantation ( I mean the hot small variety) in the newly discovered part, a guava tree, some corrosol trees (that's the fruit I was talking about in an earlier post), more physalis, a couple of papaya trees and something my gardener calls plums... But I can hardly imagine that will be the same plums as ours (and David thinks they're water apples). Aber has already started working on what will soon be our little vegetable patch and he's planning to get all of the high grass out of the way (whitch is one hell of a job, if you can imagine that the garden had been abandoned for more than a year and that he's started working in it just a week before David arrived).
If kind of got myself a little function here (not payed or fulltime or anything, just as a pass time, you could say). David's factory needs to have some landscaping done. I should say before I go further that, eventhough most of the gardeners are quite good workers, they don't have any sense of structure, order or esthetics, so what happens is they just plant all over the place, whenever they've got something that's ready to be planted. It's quite frustrating, because it's kept up very nicely but it always looks like chaos.
And that's where I come in. I kind of had to design the garden and say which plants go where and now I go over there whenever they're planting something to make sure it's according to plan and that they plant it straight and keep the right distance between plants etc.

24 April 2007

Working in Africa:

Hello everyone. As Laura is writing about our experience in the day to day life, I will write something about working here and try to set some things straight about what a lot of Europeans think about exploiting people here in Africa.

Working here:

I personally love it. There are several reasons for this: The work I have to do is at a level you only achieve in Belgium after 10 years of successful career. I have already full responsibility (budget, people, production, …) of a factory (biodiesel) and I am working in the palm oil mill (POM) at director level. Crazy if you think I’ve only been working for 1 year. Also the people do everything here for you, even if you want a cup of tea, they bring it to you.
But there are also drawbacks and they are not minor. For example the African people are the laziest people I ever met. You say they have to do something and if you turn your back they will almost certainly be sleeping. At the beginning I thought let’s fire them and take other people but you get exactly the same problem. Another big problem is because they don’t have good education and if you want something to be correctly repaired you must give instructions in detail (do that then this followed by this …). If you let them think to much they will come up with a solution and the day after the piece will explode. I don’t want to say they are stupid but they really have a problem here with their education.

Something I need to say:

When in Europe you meet people and see sometimes documentaries on tv (referring to envoyer special: “les forcats du caoutchouts”) that say that European or American Companies are exploiting people here. Well let me say: IT IS ABSOLUTELY FALSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! People working for companies as our, are paid twice what they would get if they worked for an African Company. They also get a house, free electricity, water and rice. They have a medical insurance and free school for their children. They are also treated in a fair way (If you see how rich Africans are treating their people in the factory you will understand). They come from all over the country to try to get work here.
I will end with these words: ‘Le travail que vous les blancs de la société faites est bien mieux que nombre d’ONG. Elle viennent et donnent à manger et repartent. Vous restez et donnez du travail pour la vie a de nombreuses familles’.

That’s what I wanted to say. Greetz to everyone,


18 April 2007

Het Douala avontuur

Ja, sorry he, geen zin om int engels te schrijven en k moet da Nederlands toch soms wat kunnen trainen he.
Gisteren dus samen met Davidje naar Douala gegaan. We zijn er zelfs in geslaagd om s middags iets te gaan eten. Pizza! Grappig eigenlijk, in België is da iets wat we nooit of amper op restaurant zouden bestellen, wegens zeer gemakkelijk thuis te maken, hier is dat een rariteit... en dus zeer gegeerd! (vooral het spek dat erop ligt, aangezien dat nergens anders te krijgen is, althans voor zover wij weten tot nu toe).
We hebben dus ook de meubels voor onze salon, hip hip hoi. Ze zijn echt fantastisch, maar naturlijk kon niet alles perfect zijn (we zijn immers in Afrika voor iets!) en heeft hij zich vergist van stof... Roos nota bene! Zien wij eruit alsof we roze zetels willen voor onze living... Mm misschien geen antwoord geven op die vraag, maar neen, dat was inderdaad NIET wat we gevraagd hadden. Wat we werkelijk gevraagd hadden was een ecru stofke met een motief, maar aangezien hij dat niet vond dacht hij: "ecru... roze, same difference!"
Dus nog ne ganse tijd moeten zitten onderhandelen om een nieuwe overtrek vast te krijgen. En gelukt. Het eindresultaat is (of zou moeten worden, we'll see) wit met een rood en beige patroon erop, een beetje arabisch en eigenlijk t zelfde van op onze stoelen. k Heb er toch nog een paar keer op aangedrongen zeker geen roze meer!
Ma bon, we hebben dan wel een heel mooi bewerkt houten dooske kado gekregen en dan hebben we ineens een tweede set overtrekken voor wanneer de andere in de was zit.
Voor mensen die zich afvragen hoe roze zetels eruit zien zal ik zo rap mogelijk s een fotooke op den blog zetten, maar nu zitten de overtrekken nog in de was.
Nog even over Douala. Deze keer was t eigenlijk echt wel plezant. Nog altijd vermoeiend, want ge moet zo de ganse dag van hot naar her lopen. Maar we hebben wel charcuterie kunnen kopen!!! en zelfs worst en lamsvlees... (mm we beginnen al spontaan te kwijlen als we deraan denken!). In een echte boucherie dan nog, zo met frigo's en zo (maw niet gewoon in open lucht aan een balk: welk stuk koe wilt u madame?)... geweldig!!! En we zijn ne keer in een andere supermarkt geweest, eindelijk ene die de naam supermarkt verdient! Wel ongeloofelijk duur, maar alles op één plaats en ook een aantal dingen die ge nergens anders vind (ze hadden zelfs aziatisch voedsel, stel je voor), dus toch de moeite waard.
Hebben ook een nieuwe groente- en fruit winkel ontdekt. Ik heb er zoiets vreemdsoortigs gevonden (het noemt chouchou, christophines of chayotes), zal binnenkort s laten weten of t lekker is.
De zoektocht naar de strijkplank en de onderlakens dient echter nog steeds voortgezet te worden (en hoe moeilijk kan da nu zijn om een pakske bloem te vinden? Moet ge daar echt 36 winkels voor doen of is dat enkel om mij te ******).
Hopelijk tot binnenkort,

16 April 2007

Snakes of Cameroon
Here it is: a picture of the first ever snake I saw here. it was already dead by the time I took the picture. The two men in the picture are the gardeners, to the left, Aber, which is our gardener. (little detail: they were going to eat the baby python and had found it in our garden, 20 meters from or house).
Tomorrow we're going to Douala to get our furniture, so I'll let you know how they've turned out asap.

09 April 2007

This is the back of our garden, the river you see here is the Nyong

First of all, thanks a lot for the comments!

Garden adventure

To keep you guys posted on what's growing in our garden: we've got the first tomatoe seed coming out! Hip hip hurrah!!! Furthermore we'll be planting some pumpkin seeds and I've also kept some orange, olive and cucumber seeds. It's amazing how fast the watermellon grows. Almost all of the seeds we planted have come out by now and some are already 6 cm high.

Quite funny, who would have ever thought this would become a gardening blog...
We've got somenew furniture!
The local carpenter delivered the desk for my computer and a table for the kitchen. He also put up some shelves in our pantry and we finally got our freezer. (Which is actually way too big and doent foit in either our kitchen or the pantry, so we had to put it in the back room)


't Is hier helemaal niet eenzaam, daar moet ge u geen zorgen over maken. Ik heb de ganse voormiddag onze kok in huis en der is ook een tuinman en af en toe passeren er nog loodgieters en electriciens. En ongeveer één keer per week ga ik naar Edea met een chauffeur, dus ik zie hier volgens mij meer volk dan wat ik in België gemiddeld op een dag zie.

Davidje is trouwens heel erg gelukkig met zijn werk. Zijn fabriekje is ondertussen af en t ziet er schitterend uit. Hij heeft er een bureau zo groot als onze slaapkamer, voor hem alleen... De stoefer!

05 April 2007

Hello everybody

Finally got some internet time again. If you read this, please comment, just to let me know I'm not just writing this for me. It does get kind of isolated sometimes, so it would be nice to hear from the outside world.
After the last post, I've planted some watermellon seeds, and you can believe it or not, they're already coming out!!! We're also trying to plant tomatoes and paprika, but that's more of an experiment... I'll keep you posted.

Quote of the day:
Les Africains ne trompent pas leur femme, ils se trompent seulement parfois de femme.

The first weeks I was here, whenever I came into the village people started calling me: "la blanche, la blanche". (I wondered, if we would do that in the opposite direction, in Belgium, wouldn't we be lynched for being racist?) Now the children even go around calling: "bonjour l'argent" when we pass by... What can I say, they learn young???

29 March 2007

For starters some pics from our garden

this is the strange fruit I talked about earlier. It is called corrosol

De annanas in ons tuintje
Onze banane plantaine
Front of our house

Some more Q&A

Who does the shopping over here?
I do. I try to do that once a week, but that’s not always possible. Not to worry; there’s a woman who delivers fish to our home, right out of the ocean and we’ve also found a fruit deliverer. And when all else fails, we still have plenty of things growing in our garden.
Kind of funny, though, you have to buy your chickens still alive and the gardener then kills them.
We need to buy everything in big amounts, because we never know when a car will be free to drive me to the market. We make lists and then we have to do as many supermarkets as possible, just to find half of what we needed.
Cooking is a rather creative process here. It’s not like at home where you can consult your cookbook when you’re out of inspiration and then you can just stop by the store to pick up whatever it is you need. We go to the market and buy everything that looks fresh. Then I browse through the cookbooks to see what we can make with what we’ve got. But we eat really well here. No wonder! There’s two of us cooking all day long!!!
I had a little chat with the gardener today and we’re going to start growing even more fruit and veg. Really easy here, I just collect the seeds from whatever we eat and he plants it for us… cross our fingers for it to grow.

23 March 2007

Our garden

Every week I discover new fruit growing in our garden. Well, actually, I don’t discover them myself. My tropical botanic knowledge is limited to the mango’s, papaya’s, limes, bananas and pineapples growing in our garden. It’s usually our cook, Lambert, who points it out to me. Last week, he told me he was going to check if there where some ripe avocado’s. Quite astonished I asked him if we had avocado’s in our garden. We went out and he showed me. Little did I know that avocado’s grow on trees. I had passed that tree many times and never noticed that. Just minutes ago, he walked in with a strange looking thing, green and with stings on the skin. He had picked some fruit – from which I didn’t quite catch the name – that I hadn’t seen in our garden at all.


Over the past weeks I had some e-mails bombarding me with questions. I thought I might answer some of them here, because I think many of you will have the same questions and this will answer them all at once.

Where are we exactly?
Well, we are on a plantation a 20 minutes drive from Edea in Cameroun. Cameroun is situated at the west of central Africa, right under the bulge of Western-Africa. It’s one hour and a half to Douala (second largest city of Cameroun) and 45 minutes from Kribi, which is located at the seaside.

Have we seen snakes yet?
No. We do have frogs and lizards and all kinds of birds living in our garden. There’s also a squirrel that jumps around in our trees every once in a while. David has also had a close encounter with an Iguana once, but that was before I arrived and I haven’t seen that one yet. And of course there’s an entire variety of insects and spiders crawling and flying around. Yesterday we even saw a butterfly the size of a small bird.
I was told that there are all kinds of monkeys around here, but I haven’t seen one myself.

Have our boxes arrived?
Yes and to our amazement, everything in one piece. Only a corner of one of the boxes and a lock were broken. It arrived in Cameroun the second week I was here, but got stuck in customs until this week. It was quite an ordeal to get them here. First, they didn’t find a list of included items, while I had sent one with it and had also attached a list per box. Then they wanted us to estimate a price per item, onto which we would have to pay importation taxes. Then I had to go all the way to Douala, because only David or I could retrieve the boxes. But when I arrived there, they had already been taken to another socfin company in Douala.

Have we got any furniture?
We still only have the table, chairs and bed David bought before I arrived. We did order two daybeds, a television stand and bookcases. They should be ready on April 15th. I say order, but I mean we are having it custom made by a carpenter. Another carpenter is making a kitchen cupboard and a desk. That same man should also come and fix some shelves in our storage room and put up some mosquito nets in the windows.

Do I cook myself?
Yes, I do. Lambert gets to do the easy things and he also cuts everything before I begin, but the main part of the job I do myself.

I often get asked how long we will be staying here, but that is a question I can not answer. Certainly I year and most likely more… But I think all of you know that nothing is for certain here.

20 March 2007

't is weer al eventjes geleden, aangezien internet hier plat lag sinds de blikseminslag twee weken geleden. Maar zulke dingen zijn hier normaal.

Zoveel te vertellen en zo weinig tijd.

Twee weekends geleden zijn we naar Kribi geweest met alle expats van Socfoin die op da moment hier waren. Kribi is een kuststadje op een 45 minuten rijden van hier. We hebben daar gelogeerd in een schattig klein hotelletje, dat gehouden wordt door de dochter van een expat van Socfin. Een française.

We zijn een paar keer gaan zwemmen en dat zeewater is hier stikheet. t is zelfs moeilijk om er al te veel in te bewegen.

Hier alvast enkele foto's
The beach at the hotel

Funny road sign, it says: danger hospital...

Fishing boats at the Kribi falls

Voor de rest zijn onze dozen toegekomen. Ik ben ze gisteren gaan halen in Douala. Wonder boven wonder is er zelfs niks kapot gegaan, alleen één van de dozen... We hebben ondertussen ook al een wasmachine, maar op de salonmeubels moeten we nog wachten tot 15 april.Je kan hier wel kant en klare meubels kopen, maar die hebben hier meestal zo'n een ouwe bomma stijl, dus we hebben ze getekend en laten maken bij een menuisier.

Tgenwoordig ben ik hier voornamelijk controle van de werken aan het doen, want om de vijf minuten staat er wel een plombier of een electricien voor de deur. Zoals ik al in de vorige post zei is ons huisje aan een deftige opknapbeurt toe. Maar ik ben vastbesloten om er een thuisje van te maken. Nu dat de dozen er zijn met zo al wat persoonlijke spulletjes voelt het toch al meer thuis aan dan dat kamperen van de voorbije weken.

Ik sluit af voor vandaag, want ik moet gaan koken... hopelijk kan ik snel nog s komen bloggen

05 March 2007

The first African post

It’s really difficult to start this post, because there’s quite a lot to tell. Maybe the best way is to start chronologically.
I left Belgium on Friday at the Brussels South train station (and not Charleroi airport, as Isabelle mistakenly thought for a moment) where I took the TGV to Paris Charles De Gaulle airport. Isa and Nathalie came to say goodbye to me there. It was really strange, cause in a way I felt sad and excited at the same time. One hour and fifteen minutes later I was at the airport. Since there were only two people working customs, it took a great while to get through and my flight had half an hour delay.
The flight was quite comfortable. I had a window seat and nobody sitting beside me. I watched a movie (Heb diene film gezien die gij met Jean-Marie hebt gezien, Nathalie, die met Audrey Tautou. En ge hebt gelijk die rol gaat haar inderdaad met hoe ze er daar uitziet. Kweet wel niet meer hoe die noemt.), had some conversations with people on the plane, so the – almost – seven hours it took me to get here literally flew by.
Douala airport was a different story. The airport itself is quite modern and seems rather ok at first glance (maybe because I was expecting the worst)… And then you have to pass passport and health control. Health control is ok, they check your yellow fever vaccine and put a piece of paper inside. But for the passport control they are totally understaffed, so you have to wait in line or ages, by that time you start feeling the heath and the moist air surrounds you as if you’d fallen into a warm pot of glue. You start sweating and your clothes stick to your body. You really should get some layers off, but you’ve got a bag and a passport in your hands and the line keeps moving every time you try to take off your sweater. Staying put is no option, because then people just pass you by.
Luggage retrieval is how I think hell must be. It’s hot and there are so many people (even though only one flight has landed) and everybody is pushing and shoving to get to their luggage. Then you find out that there are two retrieval points for the same flight, so you have to go back and forth the whole time. Meanwhile the luggage handlers keep stalking you to help you with your bags (but telling them your husband is waiting outside and you can carry your bags yourself, thank you, and you don’t have any money on you anyway, seems to help). And still I was lucky, because I didn’t have to open my bags at customs, they just asked me what was inside. And when I answered (really blondly): “well, shoes, sir, and clothes… the usual stuff”, they let me through. All this while, I really needed to pee and there are no toilets in the airport.
There are no toilets along the way from Douala to Edea either. And apparently there are no toilets anywhere… Did I ever say that toilets should be the first basic right a human should get? Not freedom or equality or anything like that, but a simple sanitary facility. In Thailand I held on to it being a clean toilet, but that doesn’t even matter any more, the fact of there being one somewhere is already more than enough now.

We drink about three bottles of water a day… and that’s a bare minimum. I am getting adjusted to the temperature now. I even get cold with the airco allready.

Our House

We seem to have a thing for thing kind of house… It reminds us a lot of the apartment in the Jakob Jordaensstraat. Breathtaking at first sight, but in desperate need of attention. Bad paintjobs, grudgy, doors who don’t fit or close, things falling off and holes in the walls. But with the right kind of loving this will be great.
We’ve only got a bed and a table and chairs for the moment. But we’re going to order some thing tomorrow.
It’s funny how some stupid, simple things, you woudn’t think about in Belgium simply don’t seem to exist. Like pillows… They only sell mousse ones here that are terribly small and hard and uncomfortable…
For those who think Africa is cheap… think again. Everything local is indeed very cheap. Imported goods though are about three times as expensive as they would be in Europe. And since only vegetables and fruit are local, you can figure out it’s not as cheap as you’d think. It’s funny how much is imported, this being a fertile country and all. Everything that is not a basic product is imported: marmalades, toast, cookies, chips… Cooking therefore is quite an adventure, no such thing as opening up a bottle of passata, you have to start making it from scratch. Now, it’s no like I’ve got to do it all myself…
For those who think all of this is depressing me, that’s really not the fact. Not one of these things weighs up to the fact that we’ve got papaya’s and mango’s and limes in our garden. That whenever we go out it’s nicely warm. That we have only a ten minutes drive to being in the rimboe. That I don’t have to cook or clean or do anything I don’t want to. That all food you it is extremely fresh…

01 March 2007

The first post of the year

It's been a long time since I've written anything. This for the simple reason that I was at home and didn't have anything special to tell.
All that is going to change drastically since I'm leaving for Cameroun tomorrow. How do I feel? Excited, a little scared and also a tiny bit sad to leave everybody behind.
To forget all of these mixed emotions, let me tell you some anekdotes about David's stay in Africa until now.
When he was in Ivory Coast, he once stepped on a snake when it was dark. He also got pretty shook up one morning when opening the door and finding an Iguana "looking at him" (this was already in Cameroun). After a while the beast lost his interest when a delicious 5cm long beatle came along for breakfast.
The worst thing in Cameroun, he said, are the parrots. They're making an awfull noise because it seems to be mating season.

David has already seen our house. It is quite a bit larger than we've expected. It has three bedrooms and three bathrooms. Here is a little preview:
For some general data: it is now 30 to 35 degrees and up to 90% of humidity, you could best compare it to a steam room. Posting over there will be possible, but I can't imagine it being quite so regular as in Sweden.
So this is it... Goodbye to all of you and a very warm hug. Keep me informed about what's going on by mail or through the comments.