What on earth was I thinking about when I wrote the last sentence of my previous post? That's really not the way I look at life at all! I much prefer to live in the present - the Daoist way, I think - so that a moment spent sitting on a wall with the sun on my arms and the breeze in my hair is enjoyed, rather than spoilt by regretting what I didn't do the day before, or worrying about what might happen the day after. So if in the future I cannot remember my African experiences, what does it matter, provided I have enjoyed them while I am here!
Here, by the way, is currently Cameroon. We are based in Yaounde, but I also had the opportunity to visit some of the communities we work with in the east of the country. This meant a long drive through the lush, green forest, spectacularly offset by the dark red soil. Most of the roads are unsurfaced so they are dark red, and the houses are made of a framework of sticks, with mud stuck onto them so they are red too. It really is a beautiful part of the country, particularly now during the rainy season when the colours are at their brightest. I did see lots of logging trucks too though, with tree trunks piled high on them, which was rather upsetting.
I had to visit some of the pygmy communities we work with, which I had been looking forward to for some time. However they were not what I expected. Many of the Africans I meet in the communities are short - often no taller than me - I assume because of poor childhood nutrition, and I was surprised to find that the pygmies I met were no smaller than this. I have to admit to being a little disappointed...
My other experiences here have been about food. I had been told that bushmeat is a big part of the cuisine here and so had hoped to get to try something a little different.
The picture shows a cooking pot full of chunks of boa constrictor. It was nice - nicer than the porcupine, but not as nice as the monitor lizard, the gazelle, the monkey or the pangolin. None of these are protected, by the way, except the pangolin, and in Cameroon that is farmed so as far as I know I was not helping with the destruction of the environment. & I don't (as yet) seem to have picked up any nasty disease from the monkey meat.