My host family consists of 6 people. There is the dad, mom, 3 kids and the dad’s brother, who does most of the house work. The mom and the dad are both teachers. He is a secondary school science teacher and she is a primary school teacher. Their kids, two girls Anais and Alex and the youngest Andrew, a boy are 8, 6 and 2 years old. Andrew is quite possibly the cutest kid I have ever seen.

 

Staying with a strange family can be one of the most stressful times for a volunteer because it brings forth all of your cultural and language challenges. For example, PC told us that when sitting down to eat dinner (everyone eats together, except for breakfast), the males will serve themselves first, then the kids, then the women. I can understand that, but they failed to tell us that since I am a guest, I would be serving myself first. The first dinner together we looked at each other for 3 minutes before I understood that they were waiting for me to begin. Also I felt like the kids were staring at me all the time. And they were. It could be worse though. One of my neighbor volunteers is staying in a house with 8 kids. He said the first day he was sitting at the dinning room table eating while the 8 kids poked at him and his mom asking, “Isn’t this fun?”

 

But since that first day, every day has gotten better. My French is improving and I’m able to make a few small sentences and communicate as if I was their 2 year old son. In fact, I could see the pride in my host mom’s face when I said my first complete sentence. I think It was, “What time do we eat dinner.” I thought I had figured out the cure for AIDS.

 

Every day is mostly the same routine. I wake up and get ready. Then I go in the dining room where my breakfast is ready. I’m not a big breakfast person so I told them I just wanted bread. I also get coffee with sweetened condensed milk which tastes like a Starbux drink, and fresh coconut; It’s freaking delicious. I then walk to class with two other volunteers and train until about 4:30. Usually, I’ll do ‘happy hour’ if you want to call it that, with other volunteers until 6 then go home, chillax with the family, eat dinner, which is always made from scratch and delicious, and practice my French. Afterwards I’ll study then go to bed. Sometimes, in the morning I’ll lift my water jugs or do some push-ups if I’m not too tired.

 

The family has been incredibly nice and welcoming to me. In my broken French I know I leave out some common pleasantries like instead of saying ‘I’m leaving now, have a good day.’ I’d been saying, ‘I leave bye’.

 

I decided to do something nice for this weekend. I’m going to cook them an American dinner! And what’s more American than hamburgers and freedom fries. I just hope it turns out ok. The street vendors don’t sell hamburgers and there are no McDonalds in town.

the cutest kid in bagante

Quite possibly the cutest kid in all of Cameroon. Andrew, my little brother at my host family

my family welcoming my when I arrived in bagante

my host family welcoming me!

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