In our family, we’ve always enjoyed dancing. Lately we have had a lot of opportunities to practice and learn some different dances. The junior class at RFIS (Eila’s school) recently hosted an International Food and Folk Festival. It was a really fun night and we learned dances from various areas of the world – Israel, Latin America, Korea, USA (Virginia), and of course, Cameroon.

CAMBO is the name given to the orientation classes we had upon arrival in Cameroon. One of my favorite sessions was on Cameroonian clothing. During that session, many of our colleagues were eager to show off their traditional clothing styles and in their enthusiasm also showed off their home dances. They showed us how Cameroonians from different regions celebrate through dance. Honestly, it all looked the same to me. I’m clearly not able to distinguish the details in their dancing. (You could look on youtube for dances from Bafia, Sawa, Assiko, Bamiléké, or Makosa to get a taste of the different Cameroonian regions.) Unfortunately, Eila has warned me not to attempt it in public at all, as I am even more incapable of moving in a way that resembles Cameroonian dancing.

As part of i-Delta, the students had some fun events on the weekend and we attempted to teach them some traditional American (country) line dancing as part of one of these afternoons. Line dancing was a completely foreign concept for these African adults. It was quite comical, but all had a great time.  I imagine this is the same in reverse when they watch me attempt their traditional African dance movements.  Thankfully, on both sides, there are no videos of these lessons.

At our new church, the first half an hour is devoted to worshipping God through music. It is sometimes quite lively with whooping and clapping in addition to singing and, of course, dancing. This is my favorite part of the service, and I join in, but no one is watching me, so it’s okay.  However, this week was the end of a month long celebration of thanksgiving for God’s provision and it was the men’s turn.  Now, I’m excited for you to see Brian and the men from our church dancing.

Soccer Saturdays

We are thankful for the community we have here in Yaoundé.  Throughout the fall, the kids have been able to enjoy playing soccer with the other kids that live around us.  It’s been nice to have parents that are willing to run the program, and lots of other kids around to play with.

One of the highlights of the season was a friendly game against a local kids team, Green City.  The game was highly anticipated by the kids, it took place at Eila’s school which has a very nice field to play on with lines, and they wore jerseys and everything.

They ended up tying Green City 1-1.

Here’s a few pictures from the game:

Are You Settling In?

This is a question that we get asked a lot, either by other missionaries that we work with or those who live nearby.   And my default response is always, “Yes, we are.  Things are good”.

In some ways it’s true.  I said to someone else recently that life here now is strangely normal.  The sights and sounds, the street vendors, the way traffic flows — it’s all starting to seem normal and expected.  The daily schedules: making breakfast, getting Eila to the bus on time, walking to work, getting dinner ready and the homework done.  It’s all normal and the same routines we had back in Michigan, just in a different setting.

But are we settling in?  I’m not sure how to answer that.  What does it mean to settle in?

Will I feel settled in when I can have a conversation in French more fluidly? Will I feel settled in when I have Cameroonian friends I can visit and who visit me?

I felt comfortable during the end of our time in France.  I wouldn’t feel aprehension having to walk into a store and ask for something in French, I knew my way around, and there was an ease to our daily life there.  But I wouldn’t say I felt “settled”, or at home.

And I’m definitely not there yet in Yaoundé.

But will I ever feel at home while I’m away from home?

We’ve adopted a family motto that states “Home is Where We Are”.  Our home is here, but our home also not.  Not yet.