I got a lot of things for my house my last trip to Baffusam, but I still needed more things, mainly a stove. I’m planning on doing some cooking (and not just the 30 packages of Ramen noodles and Mac and Cheese Antonio and Justin sent me), but a stove is a necessity because I need it to boil water to drink.

So I went to Baffusam with another volunteer. By the time we got to the Marché we had grown into a group of 5 Americans.

A peculiar thing about Cameroun is their love of shoes. Having nice, clean shoes is very important to them, but is made difficult by all the mud and rain. The way the get around this is having a lot of shoes, and you can see this fascination with shoes when you go to the marché. There is boutique after boutique selling tons of shoes. I decided to indulge in this fetish of theirs and bought 4 different pairs of shoes, most of them between 2000 and 5000 cfa. This might eventually evolve into a problem, but I have it under control right now.

Although I went mostly to get a stove, I left the marché only with shoes. Luckily, one of the volunteers knew a good place to get a stove for a good price. After we all finished our shopping, we got a bush taxi to take us back to our respective villages. That turned out to be easier said than done.

In the taxi there were six of us including the driver, which is better than the usual 8. Still it didn’t feel much more comfortable for most of the ride. Because it took a while to find a taxi, it was starting to get dark so we needed to get home soon.

As if the chauffer could read our mind, he was speeding towards our villages as if he had supper waiting for him at home. This wasn’t out of the ordinary except it was getting dark and harder to see. This rickety taxi was going top speed when rain started pouring down, which did in fact make it dark as night. His one windshield wiper was now working overtime trying to get the golf ball size rain drops off the window.

The best way for some of us to deal was to make light of the situation, and no sooner had someone said ‘We’re in a bush taxi, at night, in the pouring rain, one headlight, one windshield wiper, rickety car, speeding… it can’t get any worse.’, When the chauffer pulled over. He had a flat tire.

I could tell we all had the same thing going thru our minds, yet no one could clearly express the irony and incredulousness of the situation clearly. As the driver went to the back to get his spare, we sat in the darkness and rain waiting for the bandits to come out of the woods with machetes trying to take my range and the rest of my stuff.

Luckily, no bandits showed up, but when the chauffer went for the spare, all we heard was ‘merd’. His spare was flat. This is when innovative Cameroonian ingenuity came in handy. He merely switched the front tire, which had the flat, to the back, and we slowly rolled the other 3 kilometers into town.

typical market day at Bangou, which happens every 8 days. The traditional calendar has 8 days so…

Probably the most dangerous thing in Cameroun. The bush taxi’s which are loaded with 8 people per trip.