So I have now been in Bafia, Cameroon, for what, three or four weeks? It is currently the rainy season, and I keep remembering what someone told me about a week before I left the US: Cameroon in the rainy season is characterized by a lot of mud, and Cameroon in the dry season in characterized by a lot of dust. I’ve definitely gotten to experience some of that mud.
Bafia, I am told, is pretty modern and developed for Cameroon (especially compared to some of the places that a lot of us will be posted), but it probably shouldn’t surprise you to hear that I live on a dirt road that quickly turns to mud in the rain. I do, however, have a bathroom in my homestay house, complete with a sink, a toilette, and a shower head with a drain underneath it – and water doesn’t come out of any of them. Instead, I or others in my family have to go to the well in the yard across the street to carry water for use in the bathroom.
Luckily, the water that comes out of that well is clear, and I suspect treated, because a lot of other trainees and their families have to go all the way to the water pump to get water that clear, and man, is water heavy. Still even with the clear and probably treated water, I chlorinate it and put it through a Peace Corps issued filter before drinking it. A couple of trainees have had amoebas, and another found a round worm in the top (unfiltered) part of her water filter that definitely wasn’t a worm yet when she put the water in, and those are things I would like to avoid ingesting for as long as possible. Fresh fruits and veggies have to be soaked in water with bleach before being eaten raw, and other foods, especially involving water, have to be heated to a boil.
Laundry water does not need any special treatment, but it is a whole different experience to do that by hand and then worry about having enough sun to be able to dry it outside during the rainy season. Of course by the end of November I am told it will be the dry season again, and quite hot. By January Bafia’s wells will be running dry, and everyone will have to go to the water pump.
Of course by then I will be at my own post, and the whole water situation will probably be completely different.