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2005-09-07 - 10:18 a.m.

I am a little slow at responding to email and writing because I am without home Internet. Bare with me mmmk? I am using the schools computer again. I get my own walkie-talkie to radio for a driver so that I can go where I need to. Itís weird though. Today was the first day I used it. I am Pooh Bear for my call sign. I was gonna go with Rubber Duck but unless youíve seen Convoy I guess you wouldnít get the reference. So yea thatís why Iím slow at this. And I am really touched by those of you who took the time to comment. Thank you.

So about where I am. I live in Yaounde, which is the capital city of Cameroon. It is located in what some call the armpit of Africa, which is the upper west side crook. It is very green here due to the rainy season Iím sure. We are up in the hills so we donít get the extreme temperatures up here. Iíve been here for almost 2 weeks now and how to describe it. Itís hard but Iíll do my best in bits and pieces. I canít really take pictures in town because the locals DO NOT like that but when and where I can I will. I canít really talk about the ways of life here just yet because Iím not really familiar with them. I can tell you what I observe and maybe give you an idea.

We were on a shopping trip the other day and in one part of town we saw people with small stands grilling stacks and stacks of what looked like coiled up cow patties. They were palm sized and about 2-3 inches thick. They sell it and the locals love to eat it. Wanna guess what it was? If you guessed giant caterpillars or larvae, you win. And I saw hundreds of them grilled and stacked. I doubt Iíll try one. Not cuz Iím afraid (IĎm actually curious) but because my body is not accustomed to the local food and Iíd probably get sicker than a dog. During the drive I also saw what at first looks like hundreds of large birds circling the treetops. In reality they are fruit bats Big-assed fruit bats. I thought they only came out at night but Iím told that the locals are currently hunting them for food (the meat is supposed to be particularly sweet) so that has them in a tizzy during the day. The first time I saw the swarms of them I was in total awe.

Some of the things I hadnít expected to see are all the people in town. I mean crowds of locals everywhere all the time. They weave in and out of the cars on the streets and cover the sides of the roads. They are often trying to peddle something whether itís fruits and vegetables or used shoes or peanuts; itís something. The roads are packed with small yellow Toyotas that are used as taxis. Iíd say they make up 75 to 80% of the traffic on the road. There is neither rhyme nor reason in the way they drive either. No real rules just cover your butt. I doubt Iíll drive here much if at all. Itís safer to call for a ride. Not that we have our stuff yet anyway. Thatís all I can come up with at the moment oh; there are a lot of lizards here too, some very colorful ones too.

One last thing on my mind if youíre still reading, Iíve been watching the news and Oprah and have just been devastated about the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. I have sat and cried and just felt so helpless from where I sit. I want to help, I want to fix it but I canít from here and I canít alone. It tears me up that all I can do is sit, watch, and pray. Some of the footage Iíve seen is just unbelievable. Kelly was watching the news the other day and asked me why God did that to them. I really had to think about how Iíd answer. But what I believe and what I told her is that God didnít specifically do it to them. I donít believe he just picks an area and says ok these people are bad Iíll just wipe them out. No, I donít think it works that way. God created nature first and people last. Nature does its things and unfortunately people get caught up in the crossfire. Itís totally random. People have free will and awareness. What they do with it is up to them. Iím not saying it is their fault, no not by any means. But God didnít purposely set out to destroy anyone specifically. Now they have to rebuild and try to find a way to live again and itís going to be a long time. They say that which doesnít kill you makes you stronger. I pray that I should never have to know what it means to find that kind of strength. I pray for these people to rebuild there live as quickly as possible and if you can do anything and I mean anything at all to help, donít hesitate to do it. It does make a difference. Until next time.

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