Cameroon is full of contrasts.
This is a place about which it is very difficult to make general comments. When people describe China, they say that "it's a big place, very bureaucratic, where people work hard and are friendly", or they comment on the many bicycles! When people describe Americans, words like rich, arrogant, open and fun loving are often heard. Our impression of Cameroonians is that they are conservative, religious and polite. But, contrary to our impression, we have heard from the news or stories told, that they have another side which is permissive, superstitious, and violent. The contrast is not just between the very rich and the poor, the well educated and the very ignorant, or the religious and the non-religious. Such contrasts can be found everywhere in the world. In Cameroon, it seems that there is no majority of any kind, therefore it's impossible to make a general statement.
We have already shown you a lot of natural beauty in Cameroon, but unfortunately local folks in general do not notice it enough to appreciate what they have. There is no sensitivity about discarding any kind of garbage anywhere. People seem to be living with nature so automatically, that they do not realize the harmful effects of plastics and many other materials, which are not part of nature and will not go back to nature, on the environment. This is true for educated people as well. What they study in their environmental classes does not register in real life. This does not mean that they do not appreciate beauty. On the contrary, people here pay more attention to clothing than anywhere we have seen. Most people dress up more often at more places. Dresses and shirts are well pressed. Clearly they consider these are necessary and an important part of civilization. However, the cleanliness and neatness of public places do not matter to them as much.
Since our arrival, a French company named Razel has been constructing the main highway of Buea. You can see the use of modern heavy equipment digging and paving the road, next to men using shovels and hoes. We could not figure out what criterion they use to decide which part of the road deserves the use of one versus the other. As you know, we have been in many parts of this world, but we do not remember that we have been in a place where water and electricity could go out at any moment, without notice, so often and for so long a period. Even thirty years ago in Taiwan, which shares many similarities with Cameroon, there were not so many disruptions! These types of regular failures in the infrastructure do not seem to make any sense. It seems that there is no plan to resolve these kinds of problems permanently. People just try to solve the immediate problem on a case-by-case basis. It's not uncommon for us to work on our computers under a candle light or a flash light. You can imaging the uncomfortable situations we encounter when we have no water for 24 or 48 hours!