Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Walking The Gauntlet

Every morning as the traffic increases with the light I wake up and begin my day writing something. We eat a light breakfast and descend the 4 flights to the lane and then out to the street.
The walk to the camp house takes us past a number of businesses; motorcycle repairs and parts dealers, building supplies, bars and the vendors spilling out of the market.  Mostly we need to walk in the street as the sidewalk, when there is one, is often blocked by parked cars, motorcycles being repaired and bags of cement along with vendors selling everything from doughnuts to avocados, cell time, boiled eggs and peanuts. Along with children and a few adults walking by, their wares displayed on trays and boxes carried hands free on their heads.
At the market there seems to be some kind of territorial agreement with the motorcyle taxis who wait parked on the sidewalk at one end, lined up , pushing off into the honking traffic when they have passengers.
We dodge around  a constant stream of staring people and when I'm not too intent on avoiding being hit by the traffic I'll say hello. Immediately the response is a smile and hello back. There are children everywhere, hanging about the skirts of the vendors shyly regarding us and thrilled or occasionally frightened when I say hello.
At the far end of the market where we turn to head down to the camp house are the taxis. The drivers accost us when we return for the trip out to Bafut and the Ndanifor Eco-Village site. Elke and I stand aside until a fare is determined and  then off we go.
As we leave Bamenda and the press of people and urbanity the road  slowly climbs past great gardens and plantations of banana and cassava. An occasional  church, bilingual school, building supplier and a hotel or two  We dip and then ascend through a cut into the hillside. Beside the road are piles of uniformly broken rock opposite excavations, collapsed  and newly started, piles of dirt and debris surrounding men sitting under shade cracking rock with hammers.
The temperature is pleasantly warm, cloudy with a threat of thunderstorm on the horizon when we arrive in Bafut. After driving the extremely bumpy, eroded and slippery red clay road it is welcome to walk along to the beginning of the gardens.

No comments:

Post a Comment