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.

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