Thursday, January 29, 2009

Conges de Noel: A bush-taxi Ride

We left Ngaoundéré on December 11, riding the train overnight to Yaoundé. I needed some forms signed and turned in, so I spent Friday running around the administration office. Many of my stage-mates were already congregating in Yaoundé, and that was the beginning of our week long reunion. Michelle, Sebastian, Austin, Allen and I headed to the beach in the morning. The bush taxi ride was incredibly smooth, because the road between Kribi and Yaoundé is paved.

The bush taxi is an adventure in itself. They use any number of van types for public transit: ranging from small “prison buses,” a term invented and used by volunteers, to huge thirty passenger vans. By thirty passengers, I mean the bus has 30 seats. As a rule Cameroonians cram at least five people into the four person rows, so it’s more likely to be a thirty passenger van with forty-five passengers. Children get discounted rates, so they have to sit on relative’s lap. This means a row might approach nine occupants. Of course the luggage isn’t expected to fit in the car with all those passengers sardined together. Our backpacks, suitcases, disassembled beds, live goats and chickens, armoires, and mattresses stack up on top of the car, wrapped in a tarp and strapped down. Usually volunteers hope for a window seat, but that can backfire when the goat up top relieves himself. In the same spirit of taking everything in one trip, I believe a resourceful Cameroonian could transport an entire living room’s furniture in one motorcycle ride.


  1. Great job and great idea Carol. I really like your writing style. It almost puts us right there with you. Both readable and enjoyable. I love how you share both good and not so good feelings and emotions.
    For naming your blog how about "Caroling" or Days Of Caroling" or Sounds Of Caroling" or "Caroling Through Life". Keep up the good work. We're all proud of you!!
    Uncle Tom Bridges

  2. Dear Carol,
    I like Toms' suggestions. I have some too; how about "Cameroon Commentaries" or "Carol's Cameroon Adventures"