Sunday, January 19, 2014

Street Vendors in Douala

Jobs are impossible to find in Cameroon.  There is a 70% unemployment rate.  People sell anything on the streets to buy food for the day.  These are a bunch of random pictures of different ways people try to make a living.

Before Christmas, we saw this man selling beach balls.  I love his glasses and nose.  He is walking down the middle of the very crowded street.
man with beach balls 2

This is a fish shop.  The man wanted us to pay him to take his picture, but we finally got him to hold up a fish so we could take the picture.
Large Fish shop

This lady does hair, sells palm oil, phone airtime credits, bananas and many snacks at the one little booth.
Braiding Hair

This man pulls his flip flop store with him all over town.  He has quite a variety.
Flip flop vendor

This is an outdoor grill where they sell shiskabobs.  We haven’t dare try them, but the look and smell really good.  They are cooked over an open fire.
Chicken on the grill

A popcorn and water vendor
Popcorn Vendor

Large avocados for sale.
Avacodos for sale

Potatoes and other vegetables for sale.
Market - Copy

More Shiskabobs for sale over an open fire.
Grilled Chicken

Shoes for sale on the side of the road.
Shoes for sale

Home Depot on a cart.
Plumbing cart (2)

Fresh fish straight out of the Wouri River.
Fish market (2)
Fish market (3)

Our peanut ladies.  They didn’t want us to take the picture, so we told them no more sales unless we could.  They were then eager.  We drive up and roll down our window and 5 of them will be shoving bottles in our faces.  We pay $4 for a bottle of roasted peanuts.
Peanut Ladies

Auto Zone
Auto Parts store

Fresh pineapple is available all year round.  We eat it until we get sick of it and then wait a few weeks and start eating it again.
Pineapple Stand

This is taken from our truck as we drive through the central market where the locals do all of their shopping.  We pay a lot more in places where you can move.  This road is two way traffic.
Market Road

This lady sells many different kinds of beans.
Lady Selling Beans

This is a little souvenier market by our apartment.
Mini Market

Backpacks and school supplies

Wicker furniture is made from bamboo poles that are stripped into strips.  They along with most other furniture is sold sitting in the dirt on the sides of the road.
Furniture Market

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Moving people and things in Cameroon

We helped our Elders help one of their investigators move this past week.  She was living in a little two room apartment with out electricity with her boyfriend and he made her move out.  As we drove to her new apartment, we took these pictures to give an idea of the sights we saw along the way.  Everything is very typical of any neighborhood here in Douala.
When we think of Africa, we often  think of people carrying things on their heads.  It is so common here.  They carry everything on their heads and their babies on their backs.

They move a lot of things on these little two wheeled carts that they push called “puse puse”.  We’re not sure how they spell that.


This man was pushing a cart with bags of cement up this hill by himself.  He stopped to rest.  The missionaries often jump our and help them up the hill. 

If we hadn’t helped this sister move, she would have had to try to put it in the back of a Toyota taxi, or on a tricycle like this one who is moving someone else.

This is a close up of the same tricycle.  It drives us crazy to see the Africans with beanies and heavy coats on when we are dripping wet with short sleeves and light weight clothes on.

It is so humbling when we help people move and everything they own fits in the back of our little Toyota truck.  Elders Beutler, Kampoy, Gailey, and Leavitt with the sister’s brother who helped us find the new apartment.  We had 7 of us in the front of the truck.

This is the house that she moved out of.  It is a little deceiving because several different families live in different parts of this house.

We drove up this dirt road for about 15 minutes after leaving the main road.  The hill was pretty steep, and there were large rocks in the road with  ruts and mud, so we parked here and walked about 100 yards up the hill to the place where we left her belongings.

We paid these two young boys 30 cents each to help us carry the stuff.  When we were ready to leave they were eating some candy they had bought on the side of the road.

When we came up the road these ladies were in the middle of the road filling their water containers from a pipe that was broken.  Usually they fill them by dropping a bucket into a hand dug well about 10 feet deep. 

This is looking back down the road we drove up.  They have a pretty view of the valley below.

These next two pictures show the typical homes we drove past on the way.  The sister was moving into a similar home.  We didn’t see inside it.  It was locked, so we just set her things by the door.  She couldn’t fit in our truck, so she was coming in a taxi.

These ladies were out in the yard washing dishes and cooking over charcoal, literally pieces of wood.  We walked past several people as we were carrying the things up the hill.  I think they really thought a bunch of whites were moving into the neighborhood.

This is so typical of the vehicles here in Cameroon.  They never repair anything until it stops going.  This Honda lost it’s front wheel and it did some more damage to the front end.  The wheel didn’t just come off, but the front end broke.  They put tires or weeds in the street to warn drivers that there is a break down ahead.  They won’t tow this car.  Someone will come on a motorcycle taxi with a bag of tools and will tear it apart and repair it right where it sits.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

An experience of a lifetime!!!


On Saturday November 16, 2013 we were invited to attend the wedding of the niece of Dr. Samuel and Sister Caro.  We had taught and baptized Sister Caro and had spent a lot of time in their home.  Their niece, Sidoni was living with them and going to school and had sat in on a few discussions.  We have grown very close to their family and felt honored that they would want us to come to the wedding.  Weddings here, are an all day affair.  We had a zone training with the missionaries in the morning and got there just as they were coming out of the mayor’s office where he married them.  Branch presidents in Cameroon don’t have authority from the government to marry.

Sidoni's Wedding Dress

This is the bride, Sidoni and her two nieces who were flower children outside of the court house.  When someone else takes the picture, it is hard to know when they will snap it, so most of us weren’t ready.

Wedding music group2

I’m not sure if they are hired or just show up, but these men were playing music when  the wedding party came out.  They play flutes and small drums and parade around.

6 Ladies in the back of our truck

Transportation here is a huge problem.  Taxis are plentiful, but money to pay for them is not.  People actually skip meals to save the 40 cents to come to church.  These ladies asked if they could ride with us.  Six of them climbed into the back of our small Toyota truck.  We also had 7 people, including 2 younger children in our back seat.  Jan and I were quite comfortable in the front seats.

Sidoni's wedding line

We drove about 20 minutes to a little park in between two lanes of busy traffic to take pictures.  Pretty places like this are rare in Cameroon.  It is near our apartment and we often see wedding parties taking pictures here.  This is Sidoni, her husband and the wedding party.

Road to Sidoni's Groom's house

After wedding pictures, we drove, with all the same people in our truck,  out to the village to the home of the groom for the wedding reception and the church wedding.  It was about 45 minutes away but took us 11/2 hours because of the traffic.   An evangelist pastor then married them in behalf of the church.  Dr. Samuel and his family are Anglephones which means English speakers, so everything was in English.  It was really nice to be able to understand most of what was being said.  We drove along this road until it looked to steep for the small cars to make it back up, and then we parked and walked about 1/2 mile to the home of the groom.

Pushing stuck vehicle

On the way, we pulled over to let a large truck pass and one of our cars got stuck.  This is a Toyota Corolla and it had at least 8 people in it.    Everyone piled out and we soon had it back on the road.

Dark clouds Storm Sidoni's wedding

As we started walking we looked up and noticed these very dark clouds coming our way.  They were very black and we knew it would soon start pouring rain.  Jan had hurt her knee and we were walking very slowly down a large hill when we felt the first rain drops start to fall.

Rainbow at Sidoni's wedding

We paused just long enough to take a picture of this beautiful rainbow that was just ahead of the rain hitting us.  We would have loved to video the storm, but were afraid to ruin the camera.  Lightening and thunder were all around us and we were seriously worried about being struck with the lightening.

bridge to Sidoni's groom's house

Just as we came to this little bridge over a stream, the rain started to fall in buckets.  By the time we crossed the bridge we were very wet.  We looked for shelter and could only see the small building on the left.  It had about a 1 foot overhang and we huddled next to it.  I had my back pressed against the wall and Jan had her face buried in the corner trying to keep her mascara from running in her eyes.  The wind started blowing and the overhang did no good at all.  We were both soaked to the skin and water was dripping off our noses.  We both just started laughing out loud.  After about 20 minutes a little girl came from the house looking for us.  She had one little umbrella and told us to come with her.  We started walking up the hill in front of us and it was a river.  The water was 4 inches deep coming down the road.  I was holding onto Jan and we were trying to stay under  the umbrella when Jan went down, face down in the mud, and I fell on top of her.  She had on her huge African dress and the front was all muddy.  I was better off because I was on top.

Under the tent in the rain at Sidoni's wedding

We finally arrived at the home and they had this tent set up out in front.  Most of the other guests had gotten there before the rain and were sitting under it.  When we arrived, they made a path right down the middle and we marched through.  It was so embarrassing.  I’m sure they were thinking, “you stupid white people”, but they were so nice to us.

Caught in the rain  Sidoni's wedding

They led us into the house, right in the middle of the ceremony, two people jumped up, right behind the bride and groom. and insisted that we have their seats.  We sat down looking good.  We laughed, everytime they took pictures of the couple, knowing that two soaking white people would be in the background.  We sat there for 3 hours and they insisted on feeding us first.  We had chicken, rice and some stew looking stuff.  It was all very good.


Sidoni's Wedding cake

This is the wedding cake.

Sidoni and her Husband

This is the happy couple.  I hope they are happier than they look.  They were all very nice to us and we felt like honored guests.  As we drove through the village all the children would look at us.  We finally rolled down our windows and said Hi to them.  A little girl in our truck said, “you are probably the only white people they have ever seen.”  It was probably true.

Jimmy at Sidoni's wedding

This is Dr. Samuel and Sister Caro’s smallest child Jimmy.  He sat on our laps for a long time and was very content.  We finally decided that we had better get going about 8:00 that night.  It was dark and we knew we would never find our way home.  They arranged for 5 people, complete strangers to ride with us and show us the way.  We walked back down the same path by the light of the moon, the fire flies and our lights on our phones.  They were very nice and spoke enough English to get us back.  We dropped them off one at a time along the way.  We got back to where we knew the way and it was just the two of us driving home.  We got home at 9:00 and it felt so good to get into the shower and get some dry clothes on.  My shoes were wet for two days.