Thursday, February 19, 2009

My Unceremonious Initiation

Brought to you by a Cameroonian Cheesecake

I’ve been pretty proud of the fact that I’d been in this country eight months and was still among the slim minority of folks that had not once been sick to my stomach. That’s something to write home about, really…! Until about a week ago. Well, folks, I’ve joined the club, in style. I was on my way down to the capital for Peace Corps meetings, and stopped in another regional capital, Ngaoundéré. I’d been feeling funny all day, but still attempted to eat out for lunch with a few other PCVs. I got served about the biggest omelet I’ve ever seen. It was beautiful. And for whatever reason I was so nauseated, I couldn’t eat a single bite of it! I sat shakily sipping my Sprite until, bam, I tell my friends I’ll pay them back, grab the Sprite, and run out of the restaurant, to promptly lose it all on the sidewalk. Now that’s embarrassing. Of course, it was broad daylight and the sidewalk was packed with people: street vendors, curb-side bean and beignet mamas, pedestrians. I think I almost hit an orange vendor’s stand. I haven’t had such a public display of …my semi-digested breakfast since I was sick out of a moving car window in the capital of Mali. As if the white girl didn’t get stared at enough already…

Well, promptly after barfing all over the sidewalk of Ngaoundéré, I felt immediately better… except for my pride, that is. To that effect, I power-walked out of that neighborhood with my head down. I even ran into another volunteer I hadn’t seen in a while when I was on my way back from the restaurant. When she asked how I was doing, I said, “Great thanks, how are you… except, that is, I just ralphed on the sidewalk and uh… don’t look at my feet!”

So that lasted a couple days. I’m glad to say it is happily behind me. I think the culprit was a cheesecake that made 3 out of the 4 of us sick who partook in it. My one brilliant friend, Sebastian, who did NOT get sick from Cheesecake Part I, even had the gall to ask the next night, “Hey guys, y’all wanna make a cheesecake again??!” And he did, and I think he got to eat it all by himself, that turd.

So, consider me initiated au Cameroun, and my profuse apologies to the sidewalk vendors of Ngaoundéré!

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