|Teke – A great village with a strong water committee|
Why do Americans not slow down and enjoy one another’s company? It is not uncommon to take a small part of the afternoon off to go get a sweet (soft drink) with an old friend and just talk. No rush. And when you go out for a round of drinks with friends, it’s never about how many bottles you take. It’s about who you take the bottles with. And don’t worry about being in a car when you see a familiar face: pull off to the side and talk with them. It has hit me how little we stop to say hello to one another on our way to different places. We’re always too busy, we’re always on the go in our cars, and we simply have too many things to do to slow down.
I have been shaped in countless ways as an engineer by this trip, but I’m more surprised at the ways I have been changed as a person by this experience. After this trip, I have made it a conscious effort for myself to slow down, both mentally and literally with the mindset to walk a Cameroonian pace. I am trying to give my friends and family quality time, to make them the focus of my day. It is not easy. There is no way to ignore 23 years of upbringing in America. But I know of a different way, a new perspective, and I have the Cameroon people to thank for that.
Nearing the end of the trip, numerous people asked me when or if I would return. While I can’t say for certain whether I’d come back to Cameroon in particular, I can say for certain that my trip to Cameroon has wetted my appetite for adventure. My time there has made me curious: how is life in Ghana, South Africa, and Togo similar or different? What about life in Europe? And why is life so different in western countries?
I have found a new home in Kumba, Cameroon. A home filled with people who will say “I do not have much in my house, but come and share a meal with me.” A place where time is to be spent with family and friends.
Cameroon welcomed us with open arms. And for that I thank them. Certainly, this is a trip I will never forget.
Geoff Holmes; Civil Engineer, FE; GHS grad; University of Dayton ’10 graduate
I would like to thank all of you, the readers, for following my postings for the past weeks! It has been wonderful to hear so much feedback from my family of all the friends who would comment on the postings. It has helped to make chronicling my experiences that much more worth it.
If you would like to view any past article on the darkejournal website, you can view them through the archive. The archive can be found on the left hand bar approximately two-thirds down the page. From here, you can view articles posted each month, including postings of 2009.
To aid in viewing some of my past postings, here the html addresses of my past writings. Thanks again for reading!
a. http://www.darkejournal.com/2010/07/photos-of-cameroon-from-geoff-holmes.html (pictures from #6)