Monday, 25 November 2013

At home in Bamenda

We've been here in Cameroon for 4 months this week.

Housed in the Bamenda guest house of Better World Cameroon, an apartment on the 4th floor above a nightclub at one end and a Pentecostal congregation directly below us. Needless to say there have been some noise issues. Unfortunately, especially bad Sunday mornings when I've been tempted to monkey wrench the large speaker outside the hall below us. Suffice it to say voice lessons would be recommended. Our room turned out to be our host Joshua's. He was gone for a good part of the time, but when he returned we felt it was time to give him back his space.
A search around found some affordable "caves" or moldy walls or way out in the country... I was all for in the country, but practically speaking this time it's an urban(e) experience. Elke found us an airy, light filled apartment at the top of a hill, a 2 minute walk from the office overlooking the food market with a great view to the....? North-east across the town to the cliffs surrounding.
The sun rises over the mountains about 6:45 every morning. Works it's way overhead, shining all day on the south east wall of the building, making for radiant heat into the night. Luckily the bedroom is two rooms away. (Spare room for visitors!) The bathroom though shares that wall, so occasionally, if planned well, I can have a briefly warm shower. This apartment was meant to be an office. We had an extra tap installed next to the toilet to fill buckets, since there is no kitchen sink. Our friends in Better World loaned us some furniture and I ordered a custom made chair of cane with a shorter matching one for Elke. Mine feels like a throne.

A local carpenter came to drill holes in the concrete for hooks and installed a  2 legged table on  a window sill for a counter. He then made us two screens for the windows. We bought some cane "shelving units" for the kitchen and bedroom along with baskets for the miscellaneous.

We splurged on a raffia bed (actually it was cheaper than one of the heavy, overly embellished wooden ones displayed everywhere at the edge of the road) made to order by a local Bafut craftsman. Light, attractive, simple and possibly shippable (!)
The little touches of decoration make such a difference: raffia mats on the floor, fabric hung on the wall to diffuse the echo, locally produced lampshades from gourd and thin iron and (no surprise) more baskets.

We borrowed a "wardrobe" from Joshua (that was a picture, us carrying it up the road  with our backpacks full), but it's really just a frame. Works for hanging our shirts, suits and dresses with the suitcases on top to keep off the dust.
Downstairs an internet provider ran a wire for us and now we have a great connection (we take turns)...when they are closed.
And we have a balcony, now with basil, parsley, tomato, lettuce and the "peaceplant" Dracaena in pots.
We're home for the duration.

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