Cameroun, 19 Octobre
Moi je m'appele Salihou Bouba et j'ai 19 ans. Je suis Camerounais d'origine. Je vie dans la région du Nord, département du Mayo-Louti plus précisément à Guider. Je suis à l'école de formation (ENIEG/GTTC). Je suis Guidar et la vie est belle chez moi. Tous le monde est respecter même le plus petits et les plus âgés. Le mai traditionnel de chez moi est le zazai. Voulez-vous en savoir plus sur mon pais? Dite mois comment est le votre.
My name is Saihou Bouba and I have 19 years. I am Cameroonian. I live in the North Region, Mayo-Louti Department, and more specifically Guider. I am at the education school. I am Guidar and my life here is beautiful. Everyone is respected, both the young and the old. The traditional recipe for us is zazai. Would you like to know more about my country? Tell me about yours.
|Salihou after basketball pratice|
ENIEG - These are training schools for soon-to-be teachers. For would-be teachers, the curriculum for ENIEG students is typically two years long after high school. Graduates can be primary or high school teachers and can be assigned to work wherever the Ministry of Education deems necessary (as is customary for all teachers) throughout their careers. 'Affectation,' as they call it in French, is the process by which government workers (or 'fonctionnaires') are moved throughout the country to work based on the demands of each community. This means that a person from the South can be 'affected' to the North (and vice-versa). Given the drastic differences in climates, cultures, and economies between these two parts of the country, it can be quite difficult for a person to adjust to living in a different area. Think of it as being forced to move from your home in New York City to a town with one stoplight in West Texas because that is your only opportunity for employment!
Guidar - This tribe is the namesake for the town where I am posted (Guider). Given how nomadic these tribes once were in the Sahel Region (the transition area between the Sahara Desert and the jungles to the south), there are many different tribes in this area. However, the area in the north of Cameroon was long ago conquered by the Fulbé tribe and as such, most of the population speaks Fulfulde (also called Fulbé) --- though most of the Guidar still speak their language in addition to Fulfulde.
Mai - I couldn't find this in my French or Fulfulde dictionaries, but I'm assuming it is the equivalent of 'repas,' or meal.
Zazai - This is a traditional dish for the local population. Served alongside what the locals call 'couscous,' a ball of starch about the size of your fist made from corn, rice, millet, or manioc, zazai is a leafy-green vegetable that is cut up and made into a sauce with peanut paste and ocra seeds. Saihou's family invited us over to have it for lunch and I can confidently say that the bitter taste could be improved with a little more salt!
About Salihou - The reason I wanted Salihou to write about himself is that his background is quite interesting for an average American, though not all that much different from many here in the north of Cameroon. Salihou and his family come from a nearby small village of less than a thousand residents where his great-grandfather was the Lamido, a traditional leader. Given the royalty in his lineage, Salihou's Father explained that it was necessary for him to have many children --- 17 in total! While more and more Cameroonians (and Africans, in general) are becoming more progressive about family planning to ensure their children are well fed and well educated, many men still use their ability to reproduce as a sign of strength. Fortunately for Salihou, he has had enough resources to finance his education and he will eventually be a teacher, just like many of the siblings that preceded him. As you can imagine, however, not all Cameroonians are as lucky and families such as this cannot afford to adequately feed or educate all of their children. While some would attribute having many children to his family being Muslim, both Christians and Animists are just as likely to have large families here in the Grand North of Cameroon.