Sorry it has taken me forever to write this, but I haven’t had internet access for a while.

The trip up north started in Yaounde where I met up with another volunteer and a Canadian volunteer I met a few weeks before. The volunteer is an older volunteer in the South Province. She is very nice and has a cool cultural background and she was great when I got sick. The Canadian volunteer is working at an orphanage in the Northwest province which is Anglophone, so her French was not great. She is doing what I guess you can call volun-tourism, where she travels to different countries and volunteers where she can. After Cameroon she will be heading to Australia.

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We had never taken the train so we didn’t know what we were doing, but we were fortunate to tag along with another older volunteer who is in the North province and the PC representative in the North, so we just followed them around until we got underway.

The train is a 1960s built train that under regular circumstances you would qualify as quaint, but in Africa, these quaint occurrences are too common to still be quaint. The train was better than I thought it was going to be though, and the 14 hour train ride in the couchette, which is the best option for travelers which have beds, was pretty comfortable. The train rocks you to sleep on the overnight ride, and I woke up rested ready to discover the north.

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We arrived in Ngoundere, the provincial capital for the Ademawa, the first of the Grand North provinces coming from the south. We lucked out again when Amadou had a PC car waiting for us to take us to Garoua, the provincial capital for the North province.

The road from Ngoundere to Garoua cuts thru a national park, and we drove past some baboons that hang out by the road and wait for people to throw them food. It was like being in a safari.

There is currently PC training going on in Garoua and I got a chance to meet a few of the new volunteers while there, including one from Texas. We went to the pool, played some ping pong, then I lucked out and got a ride with Amadou again from Garoua all the way to Mozogo where he was visiting a maternity ward that a health volunteer there helped build. So I got another free ride all the way to the Extreme North province and check out a cool ceremony along with two other volunteers.

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Ended up staying with the volunteer in Koza that night, along with the Mozogo volunteer. We hung out with some other American volunteers who are there for 6 months and drank some billy billy which is fermented from millet.

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Next day I went to Mokolo and spent the night with the PCV there along with the south volunteer and the Canadian. In the morning we went to Rhumziki, which are a bunch of rock formations near the Nigerian border. The hotel room was great, and we went to a restaurant which had amazing food. I was not able to taste any of it however because I got food poisoning, for the first time in Africa, from the “billy billy” I drank in Koza.

Next morning I was about 70 percent though, so I was able to take the Rhumziki hike. It was fine, but in all honesty, after seeing the Grand Canyon a few years ago, nature stuff kind of bores me. I’m not much of a hiker anyway. I did buy a cool ebony statue on the hike though.

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After Rhumziki, we spent a few nights in Maroua, the provincial capital of the extreme north province. Maroua is probably my favorite city in Cameroon. They have a great market, the people are nice, and you can find almost anything you want, including elephant skin wallets or ivory necklaces.

After a few days in Maroua, I started my way back down, stopping in Guider and Kaely to visit some volunteers.

I met up with the volunteer from the south again and traveled to Ngaoundere. We spent the night there and I was able to go out with some more volunteers. Ngaoundere was the prettiest city in the north because of all of its mosques. This mostly Muslim town had lots of mosques and seven times a day, people praying where they are.

This was the trip, minus many of the interesting things that make a trip like this interesting, but maybe one day all that interesting thing will end up in a book somewhere.

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