Anyway it was a nice change to have 30 degrees in Cameroun after snow and freezing temperature in Europe. The only inconvenience was that the closing I had on me was winter gear. Looking at the bright side I was even warmer.
As I said Yaoundé in Cameroun was like a different world. Although it is the Capital of the country it looks like an underdeveloped country town. It doesn’t look that there is any architecture planning for the city. The chaotic building system however fits very well with a similar traffic. Driving through the city is more thrilling then any amusement park. I would never dare driving there. That’s why I looked up to our Oblates who generously offered to show me around. They are my heroes no.
However there were many things that I thought were gone long time ago. Firstly I was astonished seeing little kids playing in the streets or walking far away from their homes without any adult supervision. When I mentioned it to some of our priests they were even more astonished then I. To them it was just normal. They couldn’t get why kids should have adult supervision.
Secondly simplicity of life. Very often it is said that Africa is poor. I don’t want to argue that but my impression was that it is more about simple life style. There is no doubt that the people I met didn’t have most of the things we use on regular basis in Australia or Europe but at the same time I can say that I never saw so many smiling and cheerful people in Australia or Europe. It was a good reminder that happiness doesn’t come from what we possess but from what we have in our hearts.
Thirdly social interactions. There every activity seems to be an opportunity to interact with others. Even buying is more that passing an object from one person to other, it is an encounter of two people and buying seems to be an excuse to have this encounter. I had a feeling that the thing that was being sold and bought wasn’t the center of attention but the people. Something similar I experienced at night. I believe that the last time I slept to lullabies was when my mum sung them when I was little. During my time in Yaoundé every night I was falling asleep listening to songs of neighbors who were congregating to spend time together. In our “civilized” countries we are mesmerized by the screens of our TVs and computers here it is a real person. When the sun sets it is dark in the city as they don’t have many street lamps but instead of the artificial lighting one can see lots of bonfires in front of homes with circles of locals eating their dinner, telling stories and chanting their songs. It was indeed stepping into a different world.