To begin my integration into the community, I decided to go get water from the well myself. I couple of people asked me on the way there what I was doing. Most people pay a petite to get the water for them. From my house it wasn’t very close, but it seemed even farther coming back with a jug full of water. I wish I knew how to carry the thing on my head, because I had to stop a few times to rest and switch hands.

The well wasn’t really a well either. Water just streams from a tube out of ground next to the river. I don’t know where the water is coming from (I assume it’s the river), or if it ever stops coming out, but I waited my turn, filled up and walked back home. 

A few meters from my house, it started raining and I got home just in time. There’s no way I’m making that trip again. I’ll just pay Taco (a petite less than half my age and apparently twice as strong) to make the trip*.

In fact, Taco showed up about an hour later and I put him to work taking the garbage out to the dump and getting me more water. Again I paid him another 500 cfa; money well spent. While he was working he saw my computer and asked if he could have one. 

After he got done with the things I asked him to do, he just kind of stood around. I had to ask him to leave. I don’t think he would have left otherwise. While he was out getting water, another petite, Yaya, showed up, and asked if I wanted anything, but I already had Taco. I asked him to come back on Tuesday, but he just stood there. After a couple of minutes I had to ask him to leave also.

In Cameroun, boutiques double as bars. So, in the afternoon, I went out to the boutique of the elite who is here to help me. I asked for a beer. She asked me for one. So I said fine, and I bought her one, even though she is the owner of the boutique. 

That’s just part of the culture in Cameroun. People just ask just for ridiculous things as part of the conversation. The figure, there’s no harm in asking, and if you for some reason oblige, more the better.

*Getting water from the well is hard work, and I don’t think even Taco will be able to fill up the 100 gallon tank I have in my house. I hired another petite (age 20) to get water for me now.

 

Petite cours de Fracais:

Salut: Hi/hello

Bon Jour: Good morning/good day

Au Revoir: Till next time/good bye

Merci: Thank you

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