As a follow up to the post on Njama njama, here are some of the other Cameroonian lunches we’ve enoyed. The first is Ndolé. It is a bitter green cooked with a peanut sauce/paste and various meats or fish. This one is with beef. It comes from the Littoral (coastal) region near Douala. It’s considered the national dish of Cameroon. It’s traditionally served with boiled plantains. Here’s more information.
Another dish is Poulet DG (Chicken of the Director General). It’s chicken with sauce served with plaintains in the sauce. This is a pretty normal dish by western standards being like any braised chicken dish. Very tasty.
Eila is attending a combination middle school and high school (7-12). It’s a bit of a drive from where we live, but it has a beautiful campus with lots of space. She is really enjoying the school and her teachers and is finding it refreshing after being in a french collège (middle school). Here are some pictures.
Ready for School. First day of seventh grade.
Reading on the school bus.
Eila’s school buildings. This is taken from one building looking at another.
Another view of the school. (It’s upside down, but if you click on it, it’s the right way — I can’t figure out how to fix it)
There have been two holidays during our time here in Cameroon. The first, Assumption, was on a Tuesday. Since it’s a holiday on a Tuesday, there usually is a bridge day to make it a long weekend. However, a bridge day has to be called by the president and that didn’t happen officially until right before the day. Thus, no one knew if the day was going to be a working (or school) day or not.
The second holiday (which is upcoming) is fête du mouton, which is a muslim holiday. Thus, it could fall on a Friday or a Saturday. And again, no one is really sure if the day will be a holiday or not.
I suppose this is all normal here, but another cultural difference on how things are handled. Plans must be made for if the holiday is called and if the holiday is not.
As part of our orientation for newcomers to the Cameroon branch, we are provided lunch. We’re on our third week (of three) of the orientation. They started us out on familiar meals like pizza, tacos, and spaghetti. However, now that we’re in the third week they have been introducing lots of Cameroonian dishes (Note: I need to catch up on posting some others we’ve had already).
Today for lunch we had Njama njama with corn fufu and Kati kati (smoked chicken). Njama njama is the greens, and corn fufu is basically thick polenta or grits. It was delicious. A few people here have mentioned njama njama to us (plus it’s easy to remember with a name like that) as something particularly tasty in the local dishes here. Altough, it’s not really local to Yaoundé, it comes from the english-speaking Northwest region.
Also, they didn’t give us cutlery for this lunch, as you eat with you hands using the corn fufu as something to “dip” into the greens with, i.e. your spoon. Also, you must only eat with your right hand as your left is reserved for “dirtier” purposes. For me, as a lefty, it’s a bit awkward at first.
The boys have already had about 3 weeks of school and so far things are going well. They enjoy having their friends in their classes and they have been learning a lot. The school is small with one teacher for every 2 grades (1-2, 3-4, and 5-6) and a separate K class. It’s a short walk from where we live and the kids get walked there and back by a parent.
First day of 5th grade.
First day of third grade.
Thad walking into class on the first day.
Josiah going to his class on the first day.
The school library.
Josiah’s classroom during a parent event.
Thaddeus showing us how he sits everyday (“Just like this”).
The boys’ school put on a pinewood derby-style car race and the boys entered. Since some folks don’t have a lot of tools here, we were able to use the maintenance shop on the center and the tools there. This was a big help. Here’s some pictures of the work in process and the finished product.
One of the favorites of everyone here in Cameroon is Pili Pili. It’s like an empanada filled with beef and vegetables and comes with a hot sauce on the side. There’s a few people that make them and they are easily available to us. It’s easy for lunches and snacks and really good. Eila is a big fan.