⌗AtoZ Challenge, 3rd April 2020, C is for Cameroon


Welcome to my blog Life in Poetry.

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Welcome to the 2020 APRIL A to Z Challenge

if you would like to know more about the A to Z Challenge, founded 11 years ago by Arlee Bird at Tossing Out,  read here

for my theme revealed , go here on Blogger

On WordPress, read here 

This Third extract from my novel in progress follows on shortly after the second extract and will appear at the beginning of the novel most likely.

Brief synopsis of plot and characters :

Mathilda, my first main character, is American and lives in New York City. She is a student at NYU where she is preparing a thesis on the origins and developments of African American Music. She is a first person narrator. Her timeframe is 2005.

Bartolomé, my second main character, is Cameroonian and lives in Yaoundé. He is a professor of Mathematics at the University there. I will be using a third-person omniscient narrator for this character but from his Point of View. His timeframe is the early ’90’s.

C is for Cameroon

Bartolomé loved to visit his cousins in the Southern Cameroon forest, Bantu country. The outside world would qualify it as a Jungle but for him it was a haven of tall trees, thick trunks and bush.  for him they represented a traditional lifestyle that he could dip into whenever he needed peace and quiet to confer with himself, far from the bustle of Yaoundé. Not that life in the village was particularly restful but it was an unobtrusive activity, one that you fell into and went with the flow like you let breaking waves carry to shore. If a sound system was playing loud music, most often than not, it would be an opportunity to leave your chores and join in the dancing, numbers swelling to the beat, a welcome respite.

He liked to sit with his close and distant family in the case à palabres, a natte covering the red earth, six poles and a dried banana-leaf roofing, and listen to the stories of the Abbá.

Sometimes they would hunt among the tropical trees, mahogany, sapele, umbrella tree, obeche, ebony and come back with bush antelope, monkeys, sometimes small cayman  that they managed to catch unawares. the forest lions and leopards they rarely caught a glimpse of, let alone wound.

One day, they were making their way on the dirt track through the woodpeckers’ racket, the parrots’ chatter and the weavers’ cries. Beside Bartolomé walked Joseph hacking away with his machete at the vegetation obscuring the path. Mango, Pierre and Antoine were lagging behind laughing at a well-worn joke or other. Joseph didn’t speak, his eyes trained on the objective, his ears pricked to every whisper in the green canopy ; they would reach the river and stop by Ewongo’s hut for some grilled fish and bark wine before 10 am, then set off in earnest for the hunt.

Bartolomé breathed in the musky air and enjoyed the effort of putting one knee in front of the other while his boot stuck each time in the ochre mud and sweat dampened his shirt and seat. The cover of dripping leaves was alive with the screech of far-off monkeys and closer calls  of dull-coloured calao.

Suddenly Joseph halted in his tracks and threw a warning eye at Bartolomé. Mango and Pierre nearly trod on his heels, fell silent and looked up. Ahead there was a distinct rustle in the bush. Joseph swung his rifle from his shoulder and aimed it in front of him towards he gloom. A branch snapped and he fired. They heard a squeal and a thump. Joseph rushed forward, the three others in tow. he brushed aside the ferns and stepped over a rotting log. A large porcupine lay wheezing in the bramble mud. Joseph crushed its skull with the butt of his rifle, picked the animal up by its hind paw and humphed.

” That won’t feed the family, barely a stew for two.”

” And not a very tasty one at that, ” said Mango.

” Marie will add spices, it will do for the girls,” added Pierre.

Joseph stuffed the corpse in his pouch and said,

” On we go, we’ll stop at Ewongo’s. We can do better later.”

Bartolomé eyed the sharp needles of the porcupine protruding from the bag, his mouth not watering, and followed Joseph’s lead deeper into the trees.

©susanbauryrouchard

Kanda Bongo Man (Zaïre in the 1980-90’s), Monie,  here

KBM, Kwassa, kwassa, 1987,  here

Prince Eyango, Cameroon, You must Calculer, 1980’s,  here

MAELE, Equatorial Guinea, Madin ma Wok, 80’s,  here

    ”         , P.D.G.E.  , here

                 Chica ane mbeng,  trip to Cameroon,  here

MY PHOTOS, taken 1988/89.

MAP West Africa, 1988.

The island , top left is MALABO, the capital of Rio Muni (continental part of country), Equatorial Guinea . On the Island, opposite DOUALA (Cameroon) is the mountain El Pico.

YAOUNDE and a postcard from a local artist,  September 1988.

MALABO, June 1988

The Bush, Looking for gold, Bache a cinco mil 5000CFA (if you fall in, that’s how much you’ll have to pay the villagers to get you out)

life in the village, health . October 1988

The children waiting their turn
the medical team and me
case à palabres or Abbá

Fishing and Concert, August 1988

The Hunt

Bush antelope, Deer and Feathered Calao

Thank you for reading. Hope you enjoy the music and the photographs. Please feel free to comment, like, dislike and I will be sure to reply.

Clear skies today in Toulouse. My yellow roses in full bloom. All my tulips out. Now waiting on the white Irises.

2 thoughts on “⌗AtoZ Challenge, 3rd April 2020, C is for Cameroon

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