Posts Tagged ‘musing or confusing’

I’m in Bamenda, a beautiful, cloudy and cool, mountainous area of Cameroon, to support some training this week. On the drive out, my colleagues revealed that they’d booked me into ‘a very nice hotel’, whereas they would be staying at the ‘Family Hotel’. I asked why we were staying at different places and it became clear that they’d be staying with relatives and friends or at hostels they didn’t think I could handle to save their per diem. The nice hotel is indeed nice – not fancy, but brand new with clean, quiet rooms, fluffy white comforters, decent pillows, a hot water shower and most importantly – there are no mosquitoes. I would have protested, but my luggage didn’t arrive and I don’t have my mosquito net for at least another couple of nights, so I let it go.

I went down to breakfast this morning and there were a couple of older guys, maybe in their 60s, waiting to be served. We greeted each other with typical pleasantries. They said they were in Bamenda to recruit students for a school they run in the UK. I waited for about 15 minutes for some acknowledgement from hotel staff that there was going to be some kind of breakfast, but nothing. Pretty soon a few obviously wealthy Cameroonians affiliated with the 2 UK guys came in. They were clearly not used to waiting and began berating the kitchen staff to hurry up and get us all some breakfast. I apologized and asked for just some hot water to take to my room to make coffee, as the driver was going to arrive shortly.

Tonight I went down to dinner. I am not a soccer fan but thought I’d watch the Brazil-Chile World Cup match since I didn’t have anything else to do, mobile internet was slow, and there was a TV on in the bar area. I ordered a Guinness and asked if there was any dinner. The hotel is pretty much food made to order based on what’s available in the kitchen since there are very few customers. The cook I had bonded with over the soccer match and my dinner selection last night suggested he stir fry up some eggplant and zucchini with garlic and ginger. Fabulous. I timed my order so that I could eat at half time. Then I realized that I was making him miss the whole first half of the game because he was cooking my meal. And I don’t even care about soccer.

My 2 UK hotel-mates from breakfast arrived back to the hotel just as I started eating, and set up at the bar. Friendly chatting ensued about my meal. The first UK guy said he’d bring his own food and spices next time and cook his native Indian food in the kitchen since hotel staff were so slow. There was a young Cameroonian woman with the second UK guy. He was tickling her in a suggestive way. The finely dressed Cameroonian guy with them said to the first UK guy “Don’t worry, your ‘drink’ will be here in 30 minutes. You know what I mean, your ‘drink’?” How obvious.

Brazil was dominating at 3-0, but I decided to wait around in the bar for the game to be over just to see how old this guy’s ‘drink’ happened to be. I was glad to see that at least she was clearly over 18. Makes me wonder what kind of ‘school’ these guy are involved with. I suppose if you were a poor family in Bamenda and some wealthy looking guy from the UK offered to take your son or daughter to study over in the UK, you’d be cool with it. Or maybe I’m reading into things.

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