Thursday, 15 December 2016

General Strike an interlude

Dec 8
The 3 day strike is over, another called for January. Yesterday, traffic was flowing a little subdued but almost normal. The motorbikes did another honking drive by in a group, the water cannon and tear gas possibly taking place elsewhere but certainly not visible to us.
The market down below was busy almost all morning, well past the stated 9am “deadline” a few stores open along the main roads, although we heard nothing was open on Commercial ave. 
The night before we heard the ruling party CPDM was planning a rally in town at the grandstand, a feature of every Cameroonian town we’ve been in. An interesting proposition, provocative in the extreme since this area is represented in the parliament by the opposition party and the strike was challenging the government to address concerns. Which it hasn’t. Instead it continues to ignore, deny and repress any actual dialogue. See this
In conversations with numerous individuals, the under current of dissatisfaction and impatience soon comes to the surface. We heard stories of successful businesses driven into failure by the policies and attitudes of the rulers here. Opportunities for improving the lives and fortunes of citizens squandered or undermined by the powers that be, the regions resources providing for the rest of Cameroon. Or more likely the people in power, Teachers and military often wait months to get paid, the standard of living is in  the lower 3/4 of countries worldwide and yet the president is one of the richest men in Africa. What is wrong with this picture?
Early in the morning one of the volunteers went downtown to mail something for us and to attempt to get cash. He told us the area was crawling with machine gun toting military police. Made him extremely uncomfortable.
We had arranged to head out to the farm since we understood everything was supposedly back to normal. And it appeared to be. Our driver took us easily out of the city, we purchased bananas from a roadside vendor and arranged for pick-up later in the day.
 I spent the morning re-ordering/organizing the toolshed while Elke re-plastered the lounge hangout space. It’s a pleasant place to be, birds singing, a gentle breeze and plenty of greenery. And a great way to say goodbye, doing something useful and meaningful.

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