Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ashia for well drilling and the very rainy season

The well drillers brought yet another piece from Douala to fix the rig. It didn't to work and they are sending someone back to Douala to find a new piece, but the earliest they will be able to begin again is Wednesday, which is code for Thursday. We are still at meter 35. So you have another blog devoid of engineering fun as there has been none, but believe me, I am just as disappointed as you. I learned a new word that sums up our entire Cameroonian well drilling experience and that is "Ashia." Nura says that, loosely translated, this word means "I'm sorry that your life sucks" or "I feel your pain." It can be said in conjunction with a number of things such as "ashia for stomach" if you hear someone has a stomach ache. So, "ashia for well drilling."

Nura returned and brought her wealth of knowledge of french and cooking foods that aren't rice. Did you know that you can make cheese cake without cheese? We made cheese cake the other night (and by we, I mean Nura...I'm pretty sure all I did was watch the small miracle) from a recipe found in the PVC survival cookbook "Chop Fayner" (pigeon for "Good Eating"). It was good eating. Amazing, actually.

We went to market in Baffoussam so that I could buy warm clothes. Riding four wide in the back of a bush taxi is less fun than it looks, but I am happily much warmer now and hopefully, a little less smelly. I learned that you can do pretty much all your food shopping by sitting outside at a restaurant and calling to the street vendors who walk past carrying their wares. Lemons, limes, carrots, onions all walked by and joined their place in Nura's shopping bag for dinner later.

I was caught in a downpour yesterday in Bakang with Nura and another visiting Peace Corps Volunteer. It occurs to me now that EWB has never been to Cameroon during the actual rainy season. For those of you who have been to Bakang, you know that there are two very steep slopes on the way to village. You know that they are roads simply because they lack vegetation, but their general incline, and rocky/rutted nature resists even a four-wheel drive vehicle's attempts to climb them. You know that once the rain starts the clay turns slick as ice and nearly as deadly. Well, now imagine these two slopes in a downpour, when they turn into venerable waterfalls. Imagine walking up and down them in flipflops. I can tell you, it just might be possible to get hypothermia in Cameroon.

The rain knocked down the power line to Nura's house. Perhaps it is less of a powerline and more of an extension cord running through the garden and propped up on a stick, out of the reach of the massive brussel sprout plants that are taking over. When this happens, of course you would ask your neighbor, Bernard the Metallurgist to fix it, because, as a welder, surely he would also know how to fix powerlines. Of course, he did. But as he twisted the connections together, sparks flying everywhere, and wrapped it with my spare roll of electrical tape (which apparently I carry everywhere for emergencies such as these), it struck me as perhaps not the best thing to do in the rain. Bernard is a hero.

The sun is out so I'm going to work in the garden, while avoiding the the powerline and the lurking brussel sprout plants which might eat me.




sam said...

you went to cameroon an engineer and have turned into a comedian... endless laughs sarey


Liz said...

Little sarey,

I love reading your posts. I laugh every time.

I can't wait to read about more of your adventures. i've decided that the Cameroonian concept of time and the Nova concept of time are polar opposites.

write again soon. we stalk this thing just so you know.

love, a small-ish lizard

Ramsey Hazbun said...

I'm really pulling for everything to work out, but then we might not get as many funny posts.

That phrase probably exists in most countries. We should work on assembling a list.

Jim said...

Your not the village idiot your just the illiterate Blue Hen-the word refers to reading and writing at a level adequate for French communication in Bakang. You can speak some German and Spanish, perhaps this Blue Hen should start speaking Germ-ish to the well drillers. That might motivate them to start working rather than listen to your Germ-ish.

Here is a quick Brussel Sprout recipe since you are deluged with them.
Chop up some garlic(optional in the 'roon), heat a little oil(not 5W-30) in a pan, and fry the garlic until slightly brown and tender, then toss the brussel sprouts(which you chopped in half with your machete) in and add pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté(oops thats a French word) them over medium-high heat(using your neighbor Bernard's welding torch), stirring occasionally, until the brussel sprouts start to caramelize. Then serve to your team and the Chief.

How do you manage to fit a roll of duct tape and a roll of electrical tape in your pocket? Its no wonder this freshly(perhaps somewhat smelly) minted-- Ah-MEEG-gah--has trouble walking up a 55 degree slippery incline in flip flops. AAHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Katie said...

Gypsy! We were all shocked to see you have a sense of humor, who knew! Maybe you write more soon!

Miss you!!!!!

Taylor said...

Sarah, Sarah, Sarah,

Thank you so much for the updates. Its sad (although not surprising) to hear that the part didn't fit, but your other comments were certainly a pick me up. Maybe you could get a job as a free lance writer this summer? Maybe start doing comedy? It might work...


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Mumbai City said...

Gr8 Work yaar, Lucking much more like dis from u in the future...!