Thursday, October 20, 2011 6:00pm-Noon CST
Whew!!!!!!!!!!! What a day thus far. Got up at 6:30 and Jean Claude came around 7:45. Actually, Linda came first and then we left around 8 or so for the bus station. I am still amazed (even though I have been to this bus station many, many times) at how small this place is with great big buses moving in and out. Little room for error. The bus was scheduled to leave at 9:30 and we promptly left at 10:15. Nice bus and the ride was enjoyable. Linda had boiled some eggs so I had an egg sandwich and some chocolate for breakfast. They have a bottled type of orange juice (taste is similar to Tang) and I had it frozen solid overnight. By the time I got on the bus it was just right. Simon Parfait (one of the Yaoundé preachers) picked us up and took us to his house. A carton containing our seminar material got all wet but fortunately none of the material was damaged. Jean Claude and Simon went to get a box so Linda, Gisele and I climbed machines and went to a grocery store. Didn’t buy much but did get a few things for Simon and his family. We got to the train station at 5 or so and I was able to meet one of my WBS students. He is currently worshipping with the Biyem-assi Church of Christ. Got on the train and I have a picture of our room. Jean Claude and I shared a room with him on the top bunk and then Linda and Gisele have theirs. You can probably tell that there is not a lot of room but it will be fine. Gisele has never ridden a train so when it started she was somewhat startled.
Let me share some isolated thoughts with you:
- Language is interesting and Linda was talking to her sister who is having a problem and Linda said: ‘there is nothing that can be above God’.
- If you fly you realize that all of the airlines have some type of order to get everyone on board. Not here: when it was time to board everyone runs to the door of the bus and you simply go in as if you were beef on the hoof.
- The luggage racks on the bus were interesting regarding their size. They are about 6 inches high and 8 inches deep so you can’t get much up there.
- Jean Claude and Louis both told me that if you tried to hop a bus or train without a ticket and they caught you; they would make you clean the bus or buses or train all day.
- Coming from the bus station to Simon’s house the traffic was murder so he went the wrong way on a one-way street. He was not the only smart guy and we were able to get to our destination much more quickly.
- When Linda, Gisele and I left the grocery store we had a small box that was not heavy. Gisele insisted that she carry it because her sister Lucy had told her to take care of me.
- The car that Simon was driving was his aunt’s and it actually had functioning seat belts!
- You will not believe this but my room actually has electricity. Now, it doesn’t work but there is a nice outlet. Actually it has some power but not enough to run my computer.
- A worker just brought us in our own toilet paper (it ain’t Charmin) and soap!
I should be able to send this via modem because I don’t need power. I will close before we get out of range.
Friday, October 21, 2011 9:50pm-3:50pm CST
Double Whew!!!!!!!!!!!! You know that 14 hour train trip? Well, it was 17 hours and we got started on time! I didn’t send last night because we were out of range by the time I tried to send it. We all went down to the restaurant on the train and got a coke. They have some real food and Jean Claude said it was safe but I decided to pass. We went back to our room and he and I spoke for a couple of hours before hitting the sack. That train is like riding a ship on the ocean. I finally went to sleep and think I slept for 6 or so hours. Train did not arrive into Ngondere until about 11 and the bus station is right next door. We had purchased our bus tickets on the train and you should have seen the guys who were carrying our luggage. We had one box that had 30 heavy manuals plus about 115 books for the seminar and with the help of another guy, he got it on his head plus another piece of luggage on top of the box and another heavy piece that he carried! My neck would have sunk in around my ankles! The bus ride was about 4 ½ hours and Andre met us. We took a small car and two machines to get us and the stuff to the hotel. Got settled in and finally got to eat supper which was very nice. I have been working and unpacking for some time and will not send anymore pictures tonight. I have a bunch but I am very tired and we go to work in the morning. I am going to share some more thoughts with you:
- There was a man on the train who is a native of Chad but has worked in Cameroon for many years. He also lived in Florida for 10 years and got his doctorate there. He asked me if I was from Texas and when I said yes he said he could hear it in my voice.
- Buses do not run on a schedule but rather leave when every seat is full. If there is any empty seat, the whole congregation gets to sit.
- The sink and toilet on the train both worked!
- The train actually had reading lights but they did not work.
- It had a fan but it did not work.
- This train had 18 cars and carried over 1,000 passengers. You see, most of the cars are 2nd class and that means you stand for the duration with a bunch of other people.
Some highlights of my hotel room:
- Toilet seat
- Flushing toilet
- Actual sink
- Two outlets for my computer and printer.
Well, I am fixin to discover if I have hot water as it has been a couple of days since I had a shower. Fortunately, I wear well.
Oh, since that last sentence I tried to send and there is no network but I have marvelous news, wonderful news, fantastic news: The shower has hot water! It has hot water!!
It has hot water!!!
Oh, it is a typical African bathroom with the commode, sink and shower all within close proximity and the water from the shower just running down onto the floor versus a curtain or anything like that. However, I AM NOT COMPLAINING. Well, will try to send again and if it doesn’t work, will try tomorrow.
I have a bunch of pictures to download and I will send some with tomorrow’s blog. Thanks for your constant prayers.