A Glass of Juice…

I know. I don’t write blogs like Jeff. Eventually I will tell you more about the ministry and teaching stuff we are doing. But I like to write about everyday things that we experience, so you can get a sense of out life here,  so bear with me.

This Wednesday, we had a glass of juice. Now, it is possible to buy some fruit juices here, for fairly exorbitant prices. I bought 1 litre in Bamenda when we arrived, but haven’t run into the same kind here, and find that $3 US plus is a bit steep for a litre, if I could find it here in Ndu, anyhow.

Juice isn’t really that good for you- it’s much healthier to eat the fruit than to drink the juice. Juice is all the sugar and none of the fiber, etc. etc., but I digress.

Fruit I can get. Papaya is in season, if you care for them; guavas are on the trees (I have a few on a tree here, but I really don’t like those very much)  bananas are available year round,  regular oranges (but they’re green) can easily be had, and I’ve actually had little mandarins (but with seeds) since we got here. Those are gettting smaller and less sweet so I think the season is tapering off.  Watermelon is great here.  Mangoes I am going to have to wait a long time for- I think it’s a rainy season crop.

Pineapple is my favorite, but unfortunately it doesn’t grow well, or is out of season, up here.  But when a visitor was coming up this way, Cal texted and asked if I wanted any fruit picked up along the way from Douala. I requested 2 or 3 pineapples. And I got some HUMUNGOUS ones. So I have been cooking sweet and sour dishes, eating  it fresh, baking with it,  bringing it for staff coffee time,  and finding a little space in my tiny freezer for some of it.

And, while  doing all this cutting, slicing, crushing and dicing, I did get  the spinoff of some pineapple juice. Which is yummy, and very, very sweet. So, having about a cup of it in the fridge, I thought I would stretch it a bit with some orange juice as I really like the combination.  You know that Tropicana commercial about juice from 64 oranges in every carton of  OJ? Well, no kidding- that’s believeable!!  After 20 minutes, I had squeezed 8 oranges of various sizes and types, gotten all sticky, and finally had enough about 2 cups of pineapple-orange juice.  We rationed some out for that meal and some for the next breakfast.

It was delicious, but not something I’ll do on a regular basis.


Good morning Ndu

On November 6th, I went to bed at 9 pm.

Now that might not seem like anything newsworthy, but for those of you who know my normal nocturnal habits, if this becomes my new normal, it will be a lifestyle change of epic proportions.

But to any of you who have lived anywhere near the equator, where the sun sets around 6 pm, and rises around 6 am, and where electricity is not a guaranteed thing, you realize that using the early mornings just makes sense, and so, by extension, late nights generally do not. And while I have some light options for late into the evening (even when the power is off), realities here are forcing some changes in my behavior.

So where was I? Oh yes.  I went to bed at 9 pm. Because there is no power this evening, the local establishments are not blasting their music at immeasurable decibels, so I am asleep quickly. Besides, I AM tired. My Fitbit is regularly registering my daily step count at 10-14,000 steps per day, and my body is still adjusting to living at an elevation of around 7000 feet above sea level.   Around midnight I wake briefly to a roll of thunder, but the accompanying patter of steady rain soon lulls me back to sleep.

At 4:54 I wake to the plaintive call from the muezzin calling out the adhan, summoning the Moslems to prayer.  Two minutes later the neighbor’s rooster gives his first clarion call. I think some other roosters started earlier than him, but they are far enough away to not disturb me. At 4:59, the second call, or iqama, from the muezzin goes out. I glance at my watch a third time, and the idea of this blog strikes me.

As faint daylight through my skylight window tries to raise my level of consciousness, I drift in and out of sleep til the sonorous cadence of the Catholic church bells at 5:30 filters down our way. Like ecclesiastical snooze buttons, they ring again at 5:45.    Moments later, my brain registers the first motorbike horn beeps of the day- I suspect some are ferrying the faithful to early morning mass. I smile at my Baptist persuasions, and roll over under my covers.

Jeff, who loves early mornings (and grew up Catholic for some years), slips out quietly at 5:50, while I still successfully feign being asleep. But at 5:55, the neighboring poultry alarm, having already given me an hour to respond, crows insistently again, and I give up part of the battle, roll over and grab my phone. It seems prudent to jot this series of sounds down in the memo section before I forget.

My smart phone also serves as my low light bible, and so I scroll in my Bible app to Psalm 127, part of my reading for the day.  A host of prayer points rise as I read this Psalm- so I pray for my children, who are my heritage from the Lord, for peace and security in this still tumultuous crisis in English-speaking Cameroon, and a few other things. I then claim a bit of Bible promise (He grants sleep to those He loves- verse 2), until by 7:15 it is SO light in my room that sleeping any longer seems just a bit ridiculous.

Good morning, Ndu. I still have 2 hours and 15 minutes before I have to teach today.  Plenty of time to dress, cook breakfast (yes- COOK breakfast- cold cereals -those that are available- on cool mornings are rather unappetizing, especially with powdered milk), make a list for my househelp-in-training, get organized for the day and walk up the hill to the academic block. On Friday, Monday and Wednesday I do not have this luxury of a slow start, as I teach English at 7:30 am.

So, I may yet become a morning person.  (Although, ironically I am posting this late on a night that I can’t sleep) And since I finally have internet of sorts again, I am able to share this revelation with all of you.