Cameroon is quite different in the wet season. I think Jess described it best by saying, 'the desert came to life'. I wish I could upload a picture right now for comparison - I will do so as soon as I get home - because the contrast is startling. Everything that was brown on the previous trip is now bright green. There are new animals and insects everywhere (especially mosquitoes), and it rains about every other day. This is nice for several reasons: the nights it rains I actually feel cold. It's much easier to keep a full cannerie out front, and Jess and I collect rainwater in buckets for bathing and laundry.
Rainy season has its downsides, however. Humidity can be extreme at times, making a slightly hot afternoon unbearable. Also, as we are in a very rural area, power goes out from time to time as storms 20 miles away knock it out. Mosquitoes, absent in the dry season, necessitate much more precaution now, as I am not about to sign up for a dose of malaria.
Speaking of sickness, about a week ago I began to feel a bit funny inside during lunch. Before I could say jenesaisquoi, I was shivering on the couch, feeling like I'd been hit by a truck. Luckily for me, fever, nausea and severe joint ache/headache only describe about 75 percent of the serious illnesses I may have had. We took a blood smear for malaria testing, but 25 trips to the bathroom later we surmised I probably had dysentery. The hospital confirmed this the following morning, and 48 Ciprofloxacin-filled hours later, I felt fine.
Beyond the dysentery, it's been a great trip so far. I've had the opportunity to look at some local farms, watch more village activity and understand applications and needs for my project work. Jess and I have been able to talk about our projects at length, and it's been fun to see her work and mine collide. We both become rather animated at the discussion of farming/life in Africa.
There is enormous opportunity here.
Much like Ghana, a typical farmer will only own a hectare or two (half an acre to an acre, roughly) of land, usually split into four or five different pieces in different places. Here in the mountains, continuous, flat land is a rare commodity. Bicycles and hand cycles are used very widely here, by both genders and all age groups. After talking to Jess, it seems there is some good ,etalworking capability nearby. in Tokèmbere. While we were there, I saw several skilled braze welders and some extensive bike/moto repair. I'm excited to see what Maroua has to offer.
As the project is beginning to evolve into something real, I'm beginning to feel the same excitement I've felt in the past, but with the even greater happiness of being able to work alongside my future wife.