lundi 2 janvier 2012


            I am currently living in Menji, a small rural village in the Southwest region of Cameroon.  Most of my experiences here so far have been incredible, but some have been considerably less than that.  Because I am one of the only outsiders living here, I tend to be treated as more of a novelty than an actual person.  My time spent with the children makes me feel immediately at home though.  I love every single one of them, but my neighbor Christie is my kid in a way that no other child in Menji ever will be.  She explains Nigerian soap operas to me, kicks my butt in Old Maid, alerts me when there is egussi to be eaten, and claims to tell me secrets she hasn’t told anyone else in the world. She trusts and relies on me in a way that makes me want to live up to her expectations.  I am her “Auntie Kate”, and she is my favorite kid in the world. 
I routinely have around 15-20 other kids milling around my house each evening. They can never stay too long, however, because they have never-ending amounts of work to complete.  They carry much more responsibility than I had imagined was even possible for people their age.  It is very common for me to see 6-7 year olds farming, running shops, herding cattle, etc.  They are very anxious for me to start implementing projects throughout the community and are expecting me to have a very successful stay over the next two years.  The weight of my commitment has started to dawn on me for what feels like the first time.  It’s somewhat intimidating but it’s also pretty exhilarating.