I’ve gotten my post! I was assigned to Lolodorf, a small village in the south of Cameroon. It is in the middle of the rain forest – I have never seen any place like it before. The village is absolutely beautiful, it is set by a river and is surrounded by breathtaking mountains. The jungle is amazing, deep green with tons of vegetation. It is hot and humid, and I hear the rainy season there is serious buisness. In Lolodorf I saw a pineapple plant for the first time; I always thought pineapples grew on trees (for those who don’t know they grow on types of bushes). Across the rivers there are 3 bridges, a modern bridge, a tiny one lane bridge, and an ancient bridge built during the German colonial era. The town was named by the Germans, as you may have guessed from the strange name. The view from the bridge is splendid, you can see the downtown, the “waterfall” (some rapids), and the surrounding hills.
Lolodorf is a pretty small village, with about 4000 inhabitants. There is electricity (which I hear is intermittent) but no running water in the town. The main strip has about 20 boutiques (stores): general stores, hardware stores, and a bunch of bars. The other sites of the town are a hospital, a christian mission (which also has an agriculture school and grade school), the lycee classique where I will teach, a small market, and a lycee technique too.
Most volunteers were placed in the Northwest (anglophone), Southwest (anglophone), West, or Extreme North provinces. I am the only volunteer from my stage (training group) to be placed in the south. I will be really far away from my stage mates, the closest one being hundreds of km away. Out of 140 volunteers in country there are only 5 others in the south. Luckily though I have a post mate, Amanda, who is a health volunteer. She is really awesome and was super helpful showing me around, introducing me to everyone, and getting me situated.
Lolodorf is really easy to get too – there is a paved road from Yaounde (the capital) which is in excellent condition (the EU built it). It takes about 3.5 hours by bus to get there. But the paved road ends at Lolodorf – from there there are only dirt roads to Kribi and Ebolowa (the biggest city and capital of the south, respectively). Kribi is the beach vacation spot of choice in Cameroon, by the way :). Because it is so easy to get to Yaounde, I will be doing my banking there, which means I get to travel to the big city once a month and stay at the case de passage (a sort of hostel for volunteers at the headquarters). When in Yaounde I can get some socializing in with other volunteers and take advantage of the big city amenities like hot showers, “American stores”, non-Cameroonian food, and a washing machine(!).
The school where I will be teaching seems great, there are about 800 students and 20 teachers. Students come from the surrounding villages to attend the lycee in Lolodorf. A lycee is like a middle school plus a high school in the US. I will be teaching informatique (IT) and possibly Anglais (English) too. I will be teaching about 10 hrs a week to start off. There is a computer lab at the school with about 15 computers, which should be great. I met with some of the staff – the Proviseur (principal), Censeur (vice principal), and a French teacher (M. Evenga) who accompanied me on my trip to Lolodorf. They were all very nice and helpful and I can’t wait to work with them!