Friday, September 19, 2014

Back To School Update



We are back to work! The long holiday is over. The students are in school, we are teaching classes. I am teaching Form I and II mathematics again, and Logan is teaching Form I English and is the Librarian. It's handy to have a year of experience, because we have been able to approach our work with less confusion. I have been able to start the year off on a good note, discipline-wise, and we're diving right into the curriculum... this year I actually have a copy of the curriculum! That helps.  The final timetable still has yet to be published, but we have a working copy and there will hopefully only be minor changes.

What is amazing to me is how much of what bothered me last year, I take in stride this year. No school calendar published? No problem. No staff meeting until the work day before students arrive? No problem. No timetable worked out until the second or third week of classes? No problem. Feeling like nobody addresses any problems proactively, but only reacts to the problem at hand? Well, that's just the way we do things here. In some ways, that's totally frustrating, but in others it is remarkably freeing.

Our children are schooling at the local Catholic primary school, and this time it's all four of the older kids. Sally stays home with Mom, Dad, and/or Ma Marcel. Ma Marcel has been a godsend during the start of the school year by keeping our household running smoothly, which has enabled us to focus on teaching, preparing lessons, that kind of thing.

We had a little birthday party for Helena and James, and it was a success. We had a local woman make us lots of little appetizer-like foods, Logan made a cake, and I organized some games and activities. We managed to find some nice presents for H and J, too, thanks to one of the local missionary families who are packing up and heading back to the States.
1 tennis bal + 2 sticks = African teeball
Let's eat cake!
The power has been off and on, the internet has been in and out, and consequently we've gotten more sleep. I'm feeling great! My radio show has been going well, at least on the Sundays where the station has power. Overall, we are happy to be transitioning into this next period of our missionary life. There is much work to be done, and a lot to look forward to in the coming months.



One last thing: We met Cardinal Tume's Mother! She lives in Kikaikelaki, the next village up the road. We went with the Newburn family, who are LMH missionaries in Bamenda. The Cardinal's Mother is by every account a very old woman (the Cardinal himself is in his 80's), and by some accounts she is the oldest person in the world. She is 117 years old, using the conservative calculations. It's tough to get an exact DOB, as they didn't really have things like birth certificates a hundred years ago. Her name is Catherine, and Logan's first name is Katherine, which only added to the very special moment as the oldest person on Earth asked for God's blessing on one of the youngest people.
Sadly, I missed capturing the moment when the Cardinal's Mother's hands were on Logan's belly during the blessing. But look how great that woman looks! She doesn't look a day older than 87
Hearing the eldest of the world praying in Lamnso' for my own family was a very touching and emotional moment, one of my favorite experiences in Cameroon. 

-Eric

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Attention Snapping



Today I was walking back from a trip to the Junction to get some 'small' things... a couple of trays of eggs, some avocados, and a few other things for the house. All this is heavy and burdensome, but it was such a nice day I decided to walk back instead of paying for a taxi.

As you walk back to our house on the Saint Augustine College campus, you get some great views of the local landscape. At least, as long as you lift up your eyes to see. I paused for a moment at one of these places to shift the bags I was carrying, and then it hit me: I am living in Africa, and I have the joy and privilege of living out my Christian life as an overseas missionary. I get to participate in this community, share its troubles and benefits, and teach part of the next generation of this beautiful country.

With the day-to-day grind here, and the entirely frustrating cross-cultural experiences we have, it is easy to lose our focus on why we are here and what we are doing. Then, someone says something or you see something and your attention is snapped back.

I like those moments, where you can pause on the road and remember that what we are blessed to be able to do what we are doing. It is a blessing to be helping the Church here in Cameroon, and it is a blessing to get to know the culture of the Nso' people and of Cameroon and Africa in general.

-Eric

Not the view from the road to Junction, but you get the idea...

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Pretty, Funny, Happy, Real (2)


Thursdays we are linking up with other bloggers at Like Mother Like Daughter:


So P,H,F,R is a weekly feature that I've long admired at LMLD. It's just such a cheerful way to give a glimpse into ones weekly life. I like the tagline they use "finding the context of contentment in everyday life." I thought maybe using this framework would help us share with people a little bit of what living as missionaries in Cameroon is like, so please come by and visit us on Thursdays for a peek at the Horne's home/work life. If you have a blog you should join in too! Feel free to comment, sometimes we can't reply to comments because of our spotty internet but we can almost always read them and we find them very encouraging!

So without further ado, here we go!

*Pretty!*

I thought last week’s haul of produce was strikingly beautiful. Look at those colors! We certainly don't lack at all in the tropical fruit department. *Every time* I eat a pineapple here I think "THIS  is the best pineapple I've ever had in my life!" Some interesting fruits you may not be familiar with are shown, like: the Chinese apple, and tree tomato.



Chinese apples are the big green things in the lower left corner of the big picture--they taste a little like cucumber, but without the seeds. The tree tomato also is called red/tree fruit here depending on the seller. We call it vampire fruit because you bite off the tip and then suck out the juicy red seeds. They taste weirdly like a cross between a tomato and a grape. I didn't like them the first time I had them but now I'm addicted and will eat ten at time when the kids aren't looking. We can buy like ten pounds of them for a dollar!

*Happy*

Saturday offered a beautiful respite from the rain and we celebrated by walking together to town for lunch. I realized that on this particularly nerve-wracking part of the road we have to walk, I was no longer hyper-nervous with all the kids and that made me (and Eric) really happy.
Our children had to bear with a lot of shrieking and yanking from me before they finally realized that I was serious that the cars and bikes would run them over without hesitation. Now without any prompting they walk like a neat little row of ducklings carefully down the road and are extremely mindful of their way. They look out for and protect each other too! I am so proud of their growth and new-found maturity. We are all happier and safer for it!

*Funny*

Bucket baths are hilarious to me. The truest quote I've heard from a Cameroonian is, "there is nothing like coming home at the end of a long day to your own bucket." Amen sir. Well, at least in spirit.  Sometimes I get hopeful that I can fit my entire 5'11" self into a small washtub and that it will be like a bath. Just so you know, I can't and it's not.
 *Real*

I spilled this brand new bag of rice all over the floor. Rice is a very expensive food item here, especially when I buy premo imported rice because it's just that much better! The really real part of this was the fact that there was no justifiable way I could pretend that it was Eric's fault and he should clean it up. *sigh.* The other sadly real factor is we still have to eat this now-made-disgusting food item that touched our notsospotless floors. Waste is not really an option.

Oh look. is that a severed chicken foot I see on the floor next to the rice? Cool!

I console myself with the fact the rice is boiled. We'll wash it too of course. And the chicken foot is the property of our cat.

-Logan

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Growing Up Catholic



Laudate Dominum omnes gentes
Laudate eum, omnes populi
Quoniam confirmata est
Super nos misericordia eius,
Et veritas Domini manet in aeternum.
Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto.
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper.
Et in saecula saeculorum.
Amen.

This hymn, based on Psalm 117, was sung at a wedding we recently attended. It was a good moment, because it is a song our children learned while attending Catholic school in Los Angeles during our training. Seeing and hearing the children singing so enthusiastically, it was a good moment to pause and reflect how far they have come, how much they have grown up, since we began our mission. Our children are gradually adopting Cameroonian turns of phrase, and even certain attitudes and behaviors.  And yet, they are sometimes utterly and hopelessly American. Hearing a Latin hymn we learned in Los Angeles at Mass in Cameroon really underlines the whole "universal" aspect of the Church.

Praise the Lord, all nations;
Praise Him, all people.
For He has bestowed
His mercy upon us,
And the truth of the Lord endures forever.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and forever,
and for generations of generations.
Amen.

-Eric

  
Los Angeles 2013