Category Archives: Cameroon

It is a crazy world in Cameroon

Ten women have been arrested in Cameroon on suspicion of being lesbians. They have been detained in Ambam, some 190 miles south of the capital of Yaounde, until they go on trial, Cameroon Radio Television reported. Consensual same-gender sex is considered criminal in the West African nation and punishable by a jail sentence from six months to five years and a fine.

Read more here.

Accidents when people hurry

Today, when I went down to the office and opened the door of the taxi, I was hit by a motorcycle. I got a burn on my leg from the exhaust pipe. The motorcycle driver was in a hurry to go to University for the exams. Everyone is in a hurry, everyone is getting ready for the yearly graduation of more than 2.500 students. Seems like entire Cameroon has descended on Buea. They are even cleaning the streets since the minister of education is coming to town. He has the important role of shaking hands with each and everyone of the 2.500 that is graduating today. I bet his arm will be aching tomorrow.

People in a hurry to the graduations in Buea

People in a hurry to the graduations in Buea

With my burnt leg I skipped to the pharmacy. The guy behind the counter recognized me. It turns out he also runs every morning from Bakwery town to Buea town, just like I do.  He helped me fix my burn for free.  On my way back to Executive Hotel one of the neighborhood kids asked “white man, what happened?” and pointed to my leg. Everyone is so cute and nice here. Buea I love you!

Getting ready for graduation party in Buea

Getting ready for graduation party in Buea

Climbing Mount Cameroon

The city of Buea is situated just below Mount Cameroon making it an ideal starting place for your climb. There are only a handful of operations that take tourists up the mountain. Unfortunately I was scammed and payed too much for my 2 day tour. The price I paid was 55.000 CFA (83 Euro) but should have been around 40.000 CFA (61 Euro) . In other words – it pays to shop around. The price should include for one person: Guide, porter, food, water, cooking utensils, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, registration and a tent. Although I was unlucky with the price of the tour I was instead very lucky with my guide and porter. Peter and Paul did a great job taking me up and down the mountain.

If you want to climb Mount Cameroon I recommend Peter and Paul. You find them here.

Before you go up you must check that you have the following:
– Stamped paper that shows you are registered to climb. If you do not have this paper you will be hassled by other guides and porters. There is corruption on Mount Cameroon.
– Warm clothes. At night it will get cold. I brought T-shirt, jumper, jacket, Long Johns, trainers, extra socks and wore it all during the night in my sleeping bag.
– Flash light. There is no electricity on the mountain.
– Toilet paper.
– Matches. There seems to be a lack of fire starters on the mountain.
– Lots of water. Your guide will bring water, but you should bring at least 2 extra bottles. For a two day tour you will need at least 6 litres of water to drink. You will also need 2 bottles for cooking food.
– Extra snacks.
– Sturdy shoes with thick soles. The volcanic rocks are sharp and will penetrate thin runners.
– Tent. If there are many tourists on the mountain there will be no room for you in Hut 2, unless you are really fast up the mountain.

The first level of the climb is through a jungle. You will also pass Buea prison, which looks like a farm house. The prisoners will call out for you. It is forbidden to take photos of the prison as the authorities do not want the appaling conditions to be revealed. The jungle walk will take you to Hut 1. There you will rest and eat a snack. The first leg is very warm and humid so you need to drink a lot of water.
The second leg of the climb is called Savannah. It takes you straight up to Hut 2 where you will rest for the night. Savannah is very steep and rocky. On your way you will pass Lucky Tree and pose for photos. Before you settle in for the night at Hut 2 you will eat dinner. There will probably be other tourists on site to share your climbing experience.

You will set out very early in the morning from Hut 2 for the Summit. I started at 07:00 but there where other groups that started as early as 04:00. The walk to the Summit is very beautiful and peaceful. The Summit is a wonderful place if you are lucky with the weather. I had a wonderful time and stayed on 4090 meters for nearly an hour.

Mount Cameroon is one of Africa’s largest active volcanoes, rising to 4,040 metres (13,255 ft) above the coast of west Cameroon. Mount Cameroon is also known as Cameroon Mountain or Fako(the name of the higher of its two peaks) or by its native name Mongo ma Ndemi (“Mountain of Greatness”). The mountain is part of the area of volcanic activity known as the Cameroon Volcanic Line, which also includes Lake Nyos, the site of a disaster in 1986. The most recent eruptions occurred on March 28, 1999 and May 28, 2000.

End of school and presentations

Yesterday my class made their presentations and we said our goodbyes, for now. I am sure we will keep in contact. During the week my students have learned most of the aspects that involve Internet. However, it is hard to learn everything in just 5 days so I hope all of them (yes, everyone) keep practicing with  WordPress tutorials and HTML tutorials so that next time we can take it to the next level. I am very proud of them all!

Here is a picture of PC Village Web Design Class of 2011:
Class of 2011 in front of PC Village

After you finish a course it is tradition to go and relax together:
Hang out with class of 2011

Just this morning

A couple is having breakfast next to my table. The man leaves to go to the bathroom. The woman turns around and looks at me.

She: How long?
Me: Oh you see me running. I run to Buea town and back.
She:  How can we see?
Me: What?
She: Me have your child?
Me: Oh … ???? … I am already married.

The man comes back and the woman looks away from me. I continue my breakfast replaying the conversation in my head thinking “what happened?”.

Women at the market

Cheering and honking horns

Last night while eating chicken Kebab on a road side restaurant this group of football players came up and starting singing their winning song. It was really loud and I did not know what to do. Luckily my host Christopher figured that they wanted some money. The collected money would be used to later buy beer for the team.

Woke up again this morning at 05:30. Go figure everyone is already up and working at this time. To be sure that everyone was up and about a man walked around with a big horn making a loud ‘mooooo’ sound. Yes, dear fellow village local I am up, I am getting ready, please stop. It turned out that this man is a priest who was summoning everyone to go and pray. I ain’t praying at 05:30 to any God.

On Monday I am set to climb Mount Cameroon. I will descend on Tuesday so it will be a full two days of climbing up and down. The total cost for this was 55.000 Franc (80 euro). This included Registration, Guide, Porter, food, water, sleeping bag and sleeping mat. When I get back from this climb I will post some pictures.

Third day in Cameroon

Today I walked from Buea University to my hotel. The walk took apprx. 1 hour in my flip flops. Here are some pictures from my day and  on my way up the mountain.

My first day in Cameroon

Cameroon is a country in the south west of Africa. Arriving you fly close over villages and follow a dirt road track leading to the airport. Once you arrive at the airport eager passengers launch themselves towards the exit only to be halted by a Steward pointing to the ‘fasten seat belt’ sign. In the arrival hall chaos is a fact with three luggage belts working the same time to dispense luggage from one single flight. People in search for their luggage step on each other and yell out descriptions in case you might actually be standing on theirs just to see where your own bag has gone. It is all done with charm and the scent of battling women and men in a 40 degree, no aircon arrival hall – welcome to Africa.

Driving from Doula to Buea (pronounced boja) at night was a non-event. It is so dark that you cannot really see much. But the next morning when I woke up lush forests, Mount Cameroon and friendly smiles greeted my still sleepy eyes.

Time to pack my bag for Cameroon

I love to travel light so I always try to exclude as many items as possible from my initial wish list. My North Face Small (42 liters) Base Camp Duffel Bag will carry the following items:

North Face bag

1 p – Trousers (black) for going out to a fancy restaurant or something.
2 p –  White no sleeve T-shirts. It will be hot there.
2 p-  Regular T-shirts.
1 p – Runners shorts from Nike. Yes, I am going running everyday.
1 p – Houdini shorts.
1 p – Mosquito net from Sea To Summit. Malaria is common in Cameroon.
1 p – Houdini arm wrist wallet. This is the best invention ever!!
1 p – Extra backpack (mini size).
1 p – Flip Flops.
1 – Jumping rope. I need to stay in shape.
1 – Rubber band for gym exercises.
1 – Runners bag for carrying my iPod.

Of course I also have all the stuff you need like Toothbrush, face wash, malaria tablets, sunscreen and more.

Items for climbing Mount Cameroon:
1 p – Houdini cap.
1 p – Houdini scarf. I know its a Speed Chimney but I use it as a scarf.
1 p – Long underwear.
1 p – Light training pants from Nike.

P = Piece or pair.

I used to always travel with my Haglöfs Matrix 50 liter backpack but since I bought the NorthFace Duffel I am using that bag more and more. It is so easy to get things in and out, and you can half the size by just pulling the belts on the side of the bag.  It sits really nice on the back and I have carried it longer distances without getting aches, but then again my bag usually weighs no more than 6-7 kg.

Next stop Cameroon

On monday I depart for Cameroon. I have never been to the south of Africa and I really have no idea what to expect. My journey takes me to a village called Buea which is the capital of the Southwest Region of Cameroon. The town is located on the eastern slopes of Mount Cameroon and has a population of about 100.000. Some of these residence will enjoy my company for the next two weeks while I am teaching Internet and computer skills.  I am truly lucky that I get this opportunity to teach and  meet some wonderful people.

I will update Trailsurfers as per usual and hope you will enjoy, through my written word and photos, coming to Cameroon with me.

Travel warning: Political turbulence in Cameroon

Just read the following on Facebook: “Buea is under state of emergency. Paul Biya is playing on dangerous grounds in Buea where people are still frustrated over the killings of those UB Students . Our troopers from Southern Cameroon military armed wing are stargazing . They will show paul biya that, the power of the people of God is way better than the guns of tyrant”.

Response to this comment from a local ” Buea is calm and everyone is going on with his routine activities normally though lot of uncertainty surround the outcome of the presidential election next week“.

Let us hope that the coming elections will be calm and civil.

Cool Hexacopter film a stunning Cameroon

Even if you’ve been fortunate enough to visit Cameroon, you’ve probably never seen it like this before. William Thielicke, a Ph.D. student in biomimetics, built an MM6 Hexacopter (yes, that has six rotors) and attached a video camera to it, and the results are absolutely stunning.

Fly down Cameroon’s coast and up its rivers, above small villages, roads and farms and through bridges and forests.

If you want to build your very own Hexacopter then here is the instructions. 

Yours truly will visit Cameroon in November this year to help educate in Internet and IT. Articles will follow my visit.