black sesame ice cream

tadaaa! black sesame ice cream

tadaaa! black sesame ice cream

2 weeks ago i found black sesame seeds at our local supermarket. it is quite hard to find here in cameroon (the white variety that i use for cooking is more), so when i saw it i grabbed a pack and began hunting for ice cream recipes on the net.

i was inspired by food blogs i read and of course i really want to make something different — so, black sesame ice cream!

got the recipe from some random site but there was one rule i didn’t follow – i didn’t grind the seeds too much (to powder form, that is) because i wanted something that i can bite in my ice cream.

does not photograph well (it’s grey and looks more like pounded ash or vulcaseal – accdg to one friend haaha), but i assure you, this was delish!!! so yummehhh ❤

Pawpaw smoothie

made papaya smoothie this morning. perfect for breakfast :)

made papaya smoothie this morning. perfect for breakfast 🙂

we got 6 papayas from the market yesterday and one was already over-ripe. thought that it’d be better to blend it than to throw it away.

1 solo papaya

1 cup of fresh milk

2 tbsps honey

juice from 1 lime.

blend it all in and enjoy its goodness ❤

2010- New House! and a lot of other things :)

i have been remiss in posting on/in this blog – have not had good internet since October last year and frankly, i had been really really busy at work.

have loads to share like the Mt Cameroon trip back in January (we were on the summit – 4,095metres – on New Year’s Day!) where we saw an elephant in the wild after stalking him (it was a male-lephant teeehehehehe) and his poo for a few hours. we managed to play paparazzi on him too! kulang na lang mega-close up lens hahaha. we were quiet kasi they are apparently very aggressive (sabi ni guide Ferdinand). the craters of 1998 were amazing! kakaiba talaga ang landscape ng Cameroon – mountains, rainforest, savannah, lava stones, etc. it had been worth the fatique and stress and gastos! thanks to Bill who organized the whole trip – no one could have done it better ^_^

also i moved into a new house right beside the old one – my Mayor’s idea, not mine – and the first time i saw it i already wanted to move in. hahahahaha – it was lovely! kahit na the doors dont fit, okay pa din. i saw the shiny red floor and the master’s bedroom and i was sold! so right after my trip to Yaounde (went there twice!) during the first week of March, i moved in. the GIT boys helped me with the heavier stuff like the beds (yes i have two!) and the sofa set, while the landlord’s 5 kids and some other kids i am friends with, helped me with everything else.

work had been good – we have been receiving visitors since January and honestly, this “entertaining” is already taking its toll on us. masaya naman to entertain because we are the “role model” for institutional development here and we get to received study tourists from other regions, pero naman! kailangan din namin ng pahinga! can’t believe this thing would be so much work.

downside, laptop crashed two weeks ago. i need a new one, seriously. there goes my meager savings here 😦

also been ninang to two more kids this year and its only the firstquarter!!! one to a tall, lanky girl, Brenda (who is taller than me!!!) and my lovely Joy ^_^.

princewill can now walk – i am a proud mama ^_^

spent Easter weekend in Jakiri with Ate Fronie and Ryan – we had, tadaaaaaaa! lechon kawali! hahaha

Eating in Cameroon

There is yet a Cameroonian dish that I really hate. So far food has been really great and cheap to get. In Yaounde the French/European influence is very apparent in the food they serve – breakfasts are usually either baguettes or croissants with butter and jam, plus maybe some eggs on the side. Menus are in French – in one week I finally got to learn how to order chicken with my potatoes or plantain, or eggs boiled to perfection, and good coffee, in French!!! Hahaha. Small victories, I say.


For both Yaounde and here in Bamenda, the usual fare would be chicken or other meats with fries or fried plantains (which I love), njama-njama or greens (reminds me of kangkong only softer yung texture), usually paired with yam, rice or fufu corn. Masarap sya. There is also ndole, which is made from bitter herbs and some egusi (squash seeds). This I like too but in small portions only. It reminds me of dahon ng ampalaya pero kakaiba ang itsura nya. Parang nilagay sa blender. Hehe. Hmm, cocoyam is gabi, yam is something else pero parang kamag anak ng gabi – parang palaw’an ang lasa nya. Sweet potato is of course kamote and Irish potatoes are regular potatoes.


Snacks are usually “popo” or papaya and other fresh fruits, and boiled groundnuts (peanuts), which I love. Madami na ang limang piso. There is also grilled fish everywhere – sa mimbo houses this is very common. We go to this bar in Bamenda called Thermometre, which serves grilled fish (fresh lagi kaya masarap) and boiled porkmeat (walang lasa kung hindi isawsaw sa spicy sawsawan). Gamitin ang kamay siyempre. Haha.


One of the traditional dishes here is the achu, which is cocoyam paste ground to resemble a bowl, filled with meats (beef and cow skin) and yellow or black soup. It is eaten with one finger. I have actually tried achu with yellow soup. Once. I don’t like how it tastes but I might try it again sometime. Cameroonians love it, so I will not say what the soup ingredients are. I might change my mind after two years, who knows? Haha.


(photos to follow, di kaya ng broadband ko)

Where to Start?

Work

I have only been here in Santa since Monday but it seems that I have been here for 6 months now. Meetings have been going on and I have been in most of them – Eric, the volunteer I will be replacing, has been really nice and considerate to do a formal handover for me. I am luckier because he is still here to guide me for at least a week, introduce me to people I will be working with and to people he had gotten close to in the 1.5 years he’s been here. Good thing I got in touch with him before I arrived in Cameroon. J  we have gone through the ID process and the things he had accomplished with the TAP during his placement. I will be holding office at his small office which used to be a prison cell, how’s that for security? Hahahaha. I have a table and about 6 chairs. No cabinets or shelves for files I will be organizing. None yet anyway so I will ask the mayor for them.

Two workshops were held (I attended both) last week on the Action-Learning Project, which were facilitated by the Regional Learning Advisors from different country offices (Ghana, UK and Canada). They also had a meeting with the Santa Local Council on Tuesday (also the first contact meeting with the council for me), mainly because the National Volunteering Scheme is being piloted here.

Today Gideon, a short-term VSO volunteer (STV) who will be monitoring the ID process in all of the placements came by Santa to meet with me and Eric to start the process here. I don’t know how he will do that in 2 months but we’ll see.

Our Community

Philippa, the other volunteer (YfD) in Santa as OD advisor for the CEAC, who will also be my housemate, joined us in going around the town getting to know people. Philly has so far, met her Director and no other person in the CEAC, but the Local Council had welcomed us both knowing that we will be staying in town for a longer period. So far it has really been great and the Lord Mayor was very surprised to know that we already know our way around the town (the “sentro” at least) and have gone to the market, two mimbo houses (mimbo = drink) and the small restaurant (carinderia) that Mami Rose had just opened.

It’s been a blur remembering names but I think I will do fine – I will have to start with people I will be seeing everyday: Madam Mayor (that’s the mayor’s wife) who runs the small store about two houses away from where I’m staying now (Eric’s old place). Her name is Celine. And the small boy who is helping her at the store is Desmond.

Papa Victor is the old man living beside my small office who always greets me every morning when I pass him by. I would usually find him listening to his transistor radio and he would always, always greet me in Pidgin – which I love. He would always say “tomaro?” when I wave at him in the afternoon, meaning we would see each other again the next day. I like him.

I have met two Nicolenes – one being the Mayor’s private secretary (whom I would be closely working with since she is also a TAP member) and the lady who owns another mimbo house we visited today, and also the leader of the choir who adopted us.

People’s names reflect the community’s affinity with positive traits and religiosity: so far I have met Godwill, Godlove, 2 Gideons, Magdalene, Patrick (a very common name), Henry, Joy, Blessing, Modesty, Meekness, Sunday, Freedom…you get the drift. I have also met a number of Henrys, Erics and Samuels.

Handshaking

One thing that is very notable with Cameroonians is how formal everyone is, shaking hands with everyone ALL the time. I don’t know how it is in the Far North but here at the Northwest, hand-shaking is as common as cocoyams. Children as young as 1yr old would seriously shake hands with people they meet everywhere, usually kids of mimbo house owners would shake hands with every customer in their mimbo houses (actually their homes). Greeting each other on the streets with a handshake, a “good morning/afternoon/evening” and “how are you” is the way of life. I have yet to get used to it since I find it too tedious. That, and smiling at everyone I see/meet on the streets or anywhere else for that matter, is something that takes time to getting used to. I love it though, in fact I get so into it that I always offer my hand to shake everyone else’s, even with fellow volunteers. Hahaha.

Picture this. You come out of your house and meet someone, you say good morning and shake their hand. You say something nice, shake again. Say goodbye, another shake. Do that to about 15 people you meet on your way to the office – about 3 minutes away. Masaya? Haha.

Santa is much, much friendlier than Yaounde and Bamenda. There is some kind of familiarity that transcends age and status and it is definitely refreshing in so many ways. The mayor walks about like everyone else – no bodyguards or assistants. He escorts us to see our house that is still being constructed just to assure us that it will be ready for us to move in soon. I like him too!

i think i will love it here 🙂

(PS, wrote this last week pa)