We are here, in Buea, Cameroon!
Unlike our trip to Paris, the journey to Buea went very smoothly. We were able to check our luggage all the way to Douala, the weight of all the luggage was acceptable, everything was pretty much on time, and we were met by a representative of the US Embassy who whisked us through to the VIP lounge where customs officers stamped our papers and where we had a joyous reunion with Dorothy and Zachary Njeuma! For those of you who did not know, Dorothy was Janice's friend in undergraduate days at Brown University. She was a bridesmaid in our wedding and we have seen them several times over the years in the U.S. However, this was the first time in their home country! Dorothy is now the Vice-Chancellor (President) of the University of Buea where we will be teaching this year. Zachary is on the history faculty, is a prolific writer, and a frequent world traveler for speaking engagements. It is wonderful to see them both!
We spent a lovely evening in Douala (a large port city), had dinner in the hotel on an open veranda near the ocean, and slept like babies after our long trip. On Friday, September 28th, we drove to Buea after purchasing a mobile phone and opening a bank account in Douala. The trip takes about an hour over roads which have been very damaged by all the rain during the last 3 months. Both of us were surprised by the scenery - not quite what we expected. Buea is on the slopes of Mt Cameroon and fairly cool - we actually slept under a blanket last night. Dorothy arranged a lovely home for us - new stove and refrigerator, new kitchen utensils and dishes, everything lovely and clean. We think that we will be very content here. The people live very simply but have been very friendly to us. We toured the university and saw where we will be teaching. We heard that classes will start on October 15 (not October 29) so we must hustle to get ready. Next Thursday, Dorothy will help us to go to Younde (a five hour trip over the same roads) to visit the American Embassy and get the 7 boxes of books and equipment which were sent by diplomatic pouch. We will need to spend the night there and return on Friday, since driving on those roads is not advisable by night - too many potholes! There is a French Company renting the place next door to us which is working on the roads - now that the rainy season is drawing to a close, perhaps they will make some headway!
We will write more in a few days as we learn more about where we are living and what we will be doing!