Hi, I’m Eva and I’ve been working for LiveBuild for a year now. I monitor and evaluated the Kasema project that consists of 5 villages: Kake II, Small Ekombe, Diffa, en Marumba I and II. Three of those villages already have clean (drinking) water. Only both Marumba’s don’t have it.
At the moment I’m staying in Cameroon for 2,5 months. I went to Cameroon in 2014 and fell in love in and with the country. I have a son with my Cameroonian boyfriend. My boyfriend still live here but he has visited me two times. This is the third time I went to Cameroon with my son. This coming period I will write short blog posts about our experiences in Cameroon and about my activities for LiveBuild. I’ll start with a sneak peek into our ‘normal’ live here.
Monday, January 22
It’s 7.30 am and my son is awake. My day often starts when he wakes up, although i have to say sometimes that can be really early. He wakes up from the crowing roosters, one of the many bikes speeding past or sometimes from the garbage truck which rides around lound honking the horn to pick up the garbage. a great initiative ofcours but is it really necessary to do it so loundly this early in the morning? Apparently that’s normal here, since most people are already awake anyway. They start their day when the sun is that hot yet. This way they can, for example, work the land they use to grow food.
The day starts early for us as well. I get up and make breakfast for us: most of the time that’s baguette with an egg and yoghurt with oatmeal for my son. When we’re done it’s time for a bath but that is a challenge today. We don’t have any running water since last week. I live in an apartment where 8 other families live. We live on the third floor and the building is connected to a private borehole.
Normally you just open the tap and water runs out. At first glance this is clean water but appearances can be deceiving. This water comes directly from the ground so is not filtered or treated. If you let the water sit for a while you can see all kinds of particles sinking to the bottom of the glass. This is mostly sand but god knows what else is in there. The water is full of bacteria so you really can’t drink it. I was even warned to not brush my teeth with it. Anyways, as mentioned before, since last week we don’t have running water anymore. Because it is dry season, the water source is empty. The whole neighbourhood suffers from this and it also means we have to get our water from a water tap a little further out. We set off in our pyjamas with around 10 bottles which can carry a 100 litres together. I carry my son on my bag and take back two full bottles. After all this work we can finally wash ourselves.
Meanwhile it’s already 10 am and my boyfriend leaves for work. Together with my son I visit a street with all kinds of little shops that sell food. This is our supermarket. I buy eggs, milk powder, since real milk is scarce here, flour and sugar. You might have guessed it alrady: I’m baking pancakes for lunch. Yum! Most of the time we have some fruit as a snack. That’s so much nicer here. My son loves the little, sweet bananas and shouts ‘Banananaaa’ all day long. Just like a minion. It’s too bad i don’t have an oven here otherwise i certainly would have baked banana bread.
After an early lunch I take my son to bed. He is almost two so luckily he still takes a nap in the afternoon. I mostly use this time to do something for myself, like writing the beginning of this blog post, checking my email if the internet works or sometimes just watching some television. I can watch the newest films and shows here. I watch the new movie; the mountain between us and when my son wakes up I prepare us to go outside. We visit my boyfriend at work around 3 pm and I also run into some friends there with whom I catch up. Everyone here loves children and so keeps an eye out for my outgoing child.
The end of the day
Around 5 pm I go to a little restaurant where I order jollof rice with chicken for us Most of the time I eat extremely early for Cameroonian standards. My son often gets hungry around that time and is already asleep by the time the people eat hear, around 8 or 9 pm. Today I buy our food, that’s around 2,30 for one meal. That is enough for both of us. It saves me a lot of time in the kitchen even though I cook quite often and make spaghetti with homemade sauce, peanut soup with rice, hotpot, that means cooked potatoes in tomato sauce, kip dg, fried chicken and fried bananas in tomato sauce and vegetables (my favourite!). I can’t really make the more traditional dishes like kati kati, okobong, ndole, eru or ekwang yet. I’ll leave that to the experts while I watch.
We’re home at 7.30 pm and we watch some TV and play a bit. After that it’s time for a bath, or maybe better put; it’s time for a bucket. I wash my son in a bucket. He can still sit in it and loves it. I heat the water a little so it isn’t too cold for him. I think I’ve used about 30 litres of water all day. Believe me, if running water isn’t readily available you’ll be much more efficient in using it. You don’t take it for granted anymore. That is one of the reasons I love working for LiveBuild; contributing to the access to clean (drinking) water.
After my son’s bath it’s time for a bedtime story and bed. He mostly goes to sleep around 8 pm. That is the same time my boyfriend comes back from work. Therefore I sometimes wait for him to come back before putting my son to bed so he at least still sees him awake. When the little one is asleep we go and sit on the bench on our balcony and speak about our days with a beer. Yes, that is possible here on a monday. There are no rules for that! Such a good way to end our day.