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National Day

21 May 2007 - 11:25am -- Joseph

This Sunday was Cameroon National Day, which was an excuse for all manner of festivities. Among the less entertaining available activities was marching. To my mind, marching ceremonies embody all the worst aspects of Cameroonian life: pomp, ceremony and waiting around for hours until the 'big man' arrives.

So on Sunday morning, Heather set off to march with her HIV educators group and I opted to join SUFA (the football club) on a National Day trip to the beach. Unfortunately this also involved a lot of waiting around. We had arranged to meet at Figaros, our normal haunt at 9 o'clock sharp. I had no intention of turning up at nine, but when we were planning it on Thursday they had insisited that no, we really were going to leave at nine, etc. etc. So being good members, Didimus and I turned up at 9:15 sharp, to find about 5 others. We left for the beach at 12.15.

Once we actually got the beach, as I hoped the trip started to embody the best aspects of Cameroonian life: football, swimming beer, roasted meat (pork, or shwine, as they tend to say) singing and dancing. The only downside were the really quite vicious soldier ants, Didi had to pull one off my foot - it had sunk its teeth in, you could see the teeth marks and it drew blood - ouch.

Heather joined us later, and we went for our usual swim. Hev and I both enjoy floating on our backs, sprawled out like a starfish, staring up at the clouds and the mountain - it really doesn't get any better than that...

The Cameroonians (both SUFA members and other random punters) wanted in on the action. Not all the Cameroonians can swim, and most aren't that strong swimmers, but they were fascinated by us floating on our backs. It was a bit tricky trying to teach them, as we don't really do anything, we just lie back and, like, float... Clearly there's a bit of a knack to it though, as several people nearly drowned themselves trying...

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