Our compound is relatively luxurious among the neighborhood households. Most of the "huts" around us, however, do have electricity and water. Some households may have to carry water from a common faucet nearby. In our neighborhood, there are quite a number of small shops selling many small items. For example, within one block, there is a ready-made-clothes shop, a miniature hardware store, several fresh vegetable and fruit stands, grocery stores, one hotel and a few roast fish stands, where Tom occasionally goes to get his roasted fish with hot sauce. Generally, Tom is the one who goes out for any kind of shopping, as it is customary that you must bargain for any purchase, which Janice refuses to do. There are also several schools nearby, as well as a hospital, and an army base.
Garbage disposal is not yet a problem in Cameroon. No one pays much attention to where garbage is thrown. So one can see garbage and trash everywhere. For example, there is a small mountain of garbage on the corner of our street. East Tennessee has a similar problem. The difference is that East Tennesseans hide their trash (such as old appliances, old tires, and beer cans) in out-of-the-way places, as they know they are not supposed to damage the environment. Cameroonians, on the other hand, never realize that throwing out garbage is bad, they seem to consider it natural. There is no infra structure to collect garbage. When necessary, someone will light a match and the garbage will be burned away in a day or two.
In comparison with the situation at home, it is true that people here do not have as much garbage as Americans. On the other hand, we are not sure how many people live in the City of Buea, as there is no official data. The University of Buea has over six thousand students and Tom estimates that Buea is bigger than Johnson City. In any case, it is big enough to require garbage disposal by U.S. standards.
Another scene very different from Tennessee is that there are always a lot of animals running around on the streets. Chickens, goats, and dogs are usually running freely everywhere you go. Large herds of cattle are moved by drivers at nights. You better have good eyes when you drive at night, as sometimes hundreds of cattle are traveling from one town to another on the pitch dark highway!