So it’s now been about two weeks since I first left on my Peace Corps adventure, and it’s been an eventful two weeks. After two nights in Philadelphia for staging and a day and a half of travel the 55 of us in my training group arrived in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
My training group – or “stage” en français – is divided into three groups: those in the Environment Program, the Health Program, and the Youth Development Program. And guess what program I’m in? Youth Development! Surprise! Or perhaps it’s not so much of a surprise for those who didn’t know that I was expecting to be in the Health Program. I’m very excited about this, though. The Youth Development group is actually the smallest group with only 13 of us, as well as only the second YD training group to come to Cameroon. So far it’s an awesome group of people – but then so are the other groups as well.
In Yaoundé they kept us busy with all sorts of logistical and informational sessions, as well as a few more interesting things. One evening there was a cultural event, during which we got to see some traditional Cameroonian dancing, which apparently involves booty dancing like I had never seen before. We also went to dinner at the home of the Country Director, along with the US Ambassador to Cameroon and several representatives of different NGOs, governmental agencies, and Cameroonian media. I sat at a table with the wife of the Ambassador’s Deputy Chief, who is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, and got to hear about her service in Sierra Leon before the civil war.
On Wednesday we arrived in Bafia, Cameroon, where the bulk of our Pre-Service Training will be taking place. I now have a host mother, three younger host sisters, and a host father who works in a different city and only comes home on the weekends. My host mother is also the woman who cooks and sells lunch at the Peace Corps building every weekday. We just started language training on Friday, technical training on Monday, and had our first day completely free on Sunday. I’m just starting to settle in, so I’m sure that I’ll have a lot more to say about Bafia and about training over the next eight weeks until our Swearing in ceremony the day before Thanksgiving.