Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Alternative Christmas celebrations!

After spending some time in Maroua filling up on grilled fish and having a break from the corn fufu, Emma and I spent the Christmas period back in the village and I'm so glad we did. It was really interesting to see how Christmas was celebrated in a small village in Cameroon! The fact that it was baking hot and there wasn't a Christmas decoration in sight made it feel a bit less like the Christmas I am used to at home but having said that, it was such a refreshing change. It puts into perpective all that curfuffel that is Christmas in the UK; the pressure of remembering everyone on you xmas card list, the mad frantic rush to make sure you have bought everyone presents and the return from Tescoes with the trolley laden down with so much more food than you can possibly think of stuffing down you face during Christmas day. Here in Moutourwa there was not a present in sight, instead the kids being so excited by the possibility of being given a sweet to eat or having rice for dinner instead of fufu corn.

Celebrations for Christmas here start on the 24th like in France and all you could hear when you walked around the village were children singing and dancing in the Church (they had been having nightly practices for the previous four weeks!) Emma and I went over to my Prinicpal's where we had dinner and drinks before going back to the house to get some sleep. Not that sleep was really an option thanks to the Church's all night vigil which not only consisted of the singing, but also sermons in French and Guiziga (the local language). Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your take on it, the Church had hired a loud speaker so the singing and sermons could be projected far and wide throughout the night!
After a slightly restless night therefore, Em and I were up bright and early having decided to go and experience Christmas Mass in Cameroon at the Catholic Mission. After a special Christmas brekkie of scrambled egg and tomoato ketchup (yes, that's real Heinz ketchup!), we donned our Christmas outfits that we'd had made and even topped them off with headscarves that matched our skirts which is the typical dress of the women here. It must have been a special occasion!
Mass was actually really interesting to see....nothing like anything I've been to at home before. It was really lively with singing and dancing at every opportune moment. I think it was quite fortunate that this was the case as the three hours that was the Mass seemed to go by that little bit quicker! Apparently we made a good choice of Church as the Protestant mass didn't finish until 1pm having started at 7am!

The tradition here is that after mass you 'fait le tour'. This basically means that you go visiting all your friends at their houses and eat and drink at every stop! On our way out to Fodjo's, we bumped into our Prinicpal and his son who came along with us and having eaten and drunk there we picked Fodjo up and went off to the next venue. By the end of the day there were at least 10 of us all going around from place to place together with very full stomachs! Em and I brought sweets out with us and there was a permanent gaggle of kids behind us as we moved from around, all desperatly hoping that there'd be enough sweets for them to have their second of the day. It was such a nice way to spend Chrsitmas Day as we got to share it with all of our close friends. The only misfortunate thing about the whole day was when I accidently chose chicken testicles to eat, having fished out the smallest piece of meat in the bowl in the hope that it would have as little bones as possible. Well, for that there wasn't a problem as the testicles were well and truly boneless!
Evening activities consisted of a quick shower followed by another 'soiree' where we danced the night away until 5am. All in all a really unfortgettable Christmas.


Blogger Briteesh said...

Hey, Im a Cameroonian living in England and did a random google search to see how others viewed Christmas in Cameroon. Glad to see you enjoyed your year.
If you still use this blog, did the second year go as well?

3:05 PM  

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