Saturday started in the wee small hours of the morning, when the crescendo of a rainstorm pulled me out of bed to close my windows, then to lie awake listening to the rising cacophony of thunder that sounded like it had wrapped itself around my apartment.
I got up early and spent more time on my Bible reading than usual, comparing two passages from Genesis and Romans. Next I showered, marveling at the excellent pressure and warm water that I quickly had as a result. For breakfast I got out a mango, a slice of wheat bread with cream cheese and raw honey, a glass of fresh pineapple juice, and a cup of hot coffee. A Cameroonian friend and her daughter stopped by before I had finished eating, and I visited with them for a few minutes before they left to pick up her daughter’s report card.
When I had finally finished eating and collecting everything I needed to go out and about, including my ID, phone, keys, a sunhat, and a length of fabric, I headed down the road to a nearby tailor. He sewed my favorite dress for me in December, but because my French wasn’t very good at the time, I paid more than I meant to and hadn’t been back since. The fabric that I have today is a burgundy with gold and pink embroidery and elaborate edging, and I like it too much to give to a tailor I don’t trust, so I’ve decided to try him again. This time his bilingual assistant was there and could help me communicate my concerns. After expressing my monetary limits and admiration for the quality of his work, I pulled out the fabric and we decided on a dress that he could sew within my price range. I am very hopeful that the dress he makes will be both beautiful and practical. If it does turn out well, I may have just found a consistent tailor to go to, a feat that is similar to finding a hairdresser in the States.
After the tailor, I headed up to the administrative center, stopping to say hello to a couple young women with roadside stands just before the entrance. One in particular has taken to greeting me very warmly and saving an avocado to give to me. After speaking briefly with them, I continued on my walk. I kept my eyes out for anyone else that I might want to greet, from Silvan, who sewed a skirt for me once, to a fruit vendor nearby that I call “Mama,” a title of respect for any older woman. Neither of these women are out, so I briefly greet the guards on my way into the center and begin my exercise, walking on the gravel path. On my second loop I check the guava trees for fruit, thinking that it would be nice to have a small gift to offer in exchange for the avocado. Last night’s rain has knocked down several, so I examine them for bugs and place the clean ones in my purse. On the other end of the loop, I stop to greet several Cameroonian friends who are playing volleyball at a weekly ministry targeted toward athletes.
Realizing that I have work to do, I head home shortly, handing out guavas to a couple of the women that I greet regularly. Once at the apartment, I take an hour to answer e-mails, then fry up some plantains to share at my Canadian neighbor’s typical Saturday lunch gathering of volleyball players. After a somewhat exhausting but enjoyable visit filled with French jokes that I don’t understand, I head back to my apartment for a quick nap. The next item that I must address is the final exam for my Spanish students, and I spend a couple hours immersed in all the grammar, culture, and vocabulary that I’ve covered this year, finally giving up without finishing so I can wash the dishes.
With the dishes done, I realize I’m almost late for dinner. A couple friends have invited me to meet a pastor from Equatorial Guinea, the only Spanish-speaking country in Africa, which also happens to border Cameroon. I came to Cameroon looking for possible other ministry positions, and have been very interested in the prospect of being able to apply my Spanish in Africa. We spent a rather bizarre linguistic evening, as Pastor Endje spoke several African languages, French, and Spanish, but no English, one couple spoke good Spanish and English, another spoke only English and French, and I speak good English and Spanish and somewhat workable French. Translating for each other as needed, we managed to discuss what God is doing in Equatorial Guinea. The pastor has recently begun preaching to his people in Bassek, their mothertongue, and has seen great responses. The language group has a bilingual school in the works, as well as a church and an alphabet. At the end of the evening, we prayed for these projects, that God would be praised through all of them. You can pray with us for more workers for all of these projects so that the Bassek can fully worship God in their own language by having the Scriptures in their mothertongue.
Arriving home from this inspiring gathering, I set to work making a birthday cake for a friend’s surprise party tomorrow. After getting the batter in the pan and lighting the oven, I realize that my gas is out, which leaves me here. I’m going to bed. Tomorrow I will bake the cake before I go to church.