Life Filled With Living

The last few weeks have been filled with schedules, to do lists, and spending quality time with people here that I really care about. This is much like what our Peace Corps horoscope (a prediction of feelings and how to cope with throughout our service) said we would be doing when Tim and I looked over that same piece of paper again. I am in my last four months, as Education volunteers leave in early summer, just after school is out. But I am hardly worried about finishing classes at the high school where I work. What consumes me more is the excitement of the next chapter, the fear of leaving this life behind, and simply trying to take it all in and enjoy every moment. Between teaching lessons, preparing radio shows, funeral celebrations, writing in my post book to help prepare the next volunteer who replaces me, meetings about future projects (The School Development project was fully funded- the bureau AND the latrines, thanks to generous contributors and Friends of Cameroon!!!), and spending time with my family and friends, including wanting to be a part of every step in my good friend’s pregnancy, it hardly leaves me any time to sit and reflect on this life. I am so busy living it.

I did partake in my host family’s huge Baptism celebration last weekend. My little sisters, the oldest and the youngest, were both baptized. When I arrived, the backyard was full of about twenty women, preparing for the party, and a few men were burning the hair off of a pig they had just killed. When it felt like it was about to pour down raining, I looked next to the fire where there was a glass bottle containing water boiling with a piment pepper inside. When I asked about it, they told me that it was to stop the rain. All I could do was chuckle, half-convinced that it worked in some way, because it never did rain, no matter how dark the clouds became. So I peeled garlic until my finger nails were sore, and cut enough tomatoes to fill up a bucket- I did what any good Bamilike (a Cameroonian from the West province) girl would do! And in the end, we all shared the joy of eating all of these great dishes alongside the neighbors, friends and other family members who united with us to share the happiness of that day.

About Author

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Tara Menendez
Tara has always had a passion for discovering new cultures, from convincing her mother to host a French exchange student in High School, to studying abroad twice, coordinating exchange programs at her university Study Abroad Center, to spending a month backpacking through Europe. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in French with a minor in Communications. A Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who lived in Cameroon, West Africa for two years, she looks forward to guiding you on some exciting adventures that will make the world a bit brighter! She’s also a travel writer/blogger at Eat.Love.Volunteer, business owner, property manager, wifey, mother, and humanitarian. Tara lives in Dallas Texas, where she’s happily married to the tech genius who built and maintains this beautiful website!

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