Cameroonian birthdays


My cousin Chimene tells me that birthdays in Cameroon are celebrated with a few friends in your house and a cake with one candle. Also, on special occasions, they enjoy eating chicken, eggs, and drinking Coca-Cola.

This kid’s first Cameroonian birthday was celebrated comme ça:


My morning was Sixteen Candles-esque, as Cameroonians do not acknowledge birthdays the way that Americans do. I was greeted with the usual “Bonjour” and departed for school early, with my brother Junior. When I arrived at school, I asked Gillian why she was there so early and she replied with: “It was either sit and eat my sardine sandwich, with bones, at my house, or bring it here and not eat it.”

People started trickling in and Kathleen arrived with a small cake for me – how kind! Training started with language class. I switched into a lower French class so that I could return to the basics and maybe learn more tenses?

After class, we presented “mini-lessons” to the other trainees. One group taught us this popular song:

Ma grandmère est malade au dos

C’est ce que le docteur a dit

Youpee youpee youpee ah-oh

Youpee youpee youpee ah-oh

Le matin a six heures et demi

Nous prennons un petit-dejeuner

Youpee youpee youpee ah-oh

Youpee youpee youpee ah-oh

(I discovered later that my entire family knows this song as well)

Later, the two visiting PCVs Katie and Alissa presented me with a marvelous gift: a Snickers bar. It was the most delicious Snickers bar I’ve ever had.

After lunch, we were supposed to meet with our community groups. The health trainees are split into five groups: malaria, nutrition, maternal and child health, HIV, and hand washing. I am a part of the HIV group, so our job was to develop questions for a needs assessment of our community group of women. We were interested in getting a better idea of what women in Bokito already know about HIV. Unfortunately, it down poured that afternoon, and no one showed up. We were warned of this, and told that especially during the rainy season, we must have the foresight when it comes to planning community events. Most people in Cameroon use walking as their main form of transportation. If it rains, and there is little incentive to attend an event, they will not go out in the rain.

So instead, we played in the rain.

Santé stagiaires, October 23, 2012

Santé stagiaires, October 23, 2012

Later, we went to the bar to celebrate my birthday, and my cousin Chimene came with a paper she had decorated as a card.

My birthday card from my cousin, Chimene

My birthday card from my cousin, Chimene


One thought on “Cameroonian birthdays

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