Friday, May 16, 2008

Cameroon - The Heart of Africa

Last night, T picked up a man from Yaounde who is visiting and brought him to meet our Cameroon team. This man was no stranger to T, because he'd met him on his trip to Cameroon two years ago. For our kids and most of this year's team, he was instantly a new friend. Kt had the chance to experience a Cameroonian family dinner as she went with T to Peter's relative's home. She tried some food and they ever sent her home with a fish! That child is head over heels in love with the idea of going to Africa even more now.

As I listened to P share with the team his vision, his heart and his love for Cameroon, it brought me back to T's return. The overwhelming feeling was one of amazement at how accepting, hospitable and community oriented Cameroonians are. P had some wonderful advice for the team, each piece of it illustrating how different their culture is from ours. Our team will be taking care of the children of their country team members - about 30 couples. Many families have multiple children and he could not even give them an idea about how many children they would have. This will be the realization of a dream he has had as a leader - the first time wives are able to stand side-by-side with their husbands in this ministry and not stay home with the children. I'm so excited to bless this team in this way, but I realize it will be a huge challenge for this team.

Here are some of the cultural things that stood out to me in his presentation:

~ Our children will love anything you bring them because they are taught to be grateful for everything that is given to them - we are all grateful.

~ You will have to be extra careful to get all the details right on those Bible stories as my daughters often correct me on them.

~ When you greet an elder, you always bow your head as a sign of respect for them.

~ You will be embarrassed by wearing revealing clothing...

~ If you tell someone you have a boyfriend, it's scandalous. Dating means you are having sex... so you only have "friends".

~ No pictures of public buildings. Since 9/11, that is their "security" against terrorists.

~ Women spend hours preparing a meal, and he's quite sure you will never want to leave if you try his wife's cooking. He only had the highest praise for his wife.

There was a lot more, but I think it was an amazing opportunity for this team to really connect with one their hosts. The team will be divided between his house and our church missionary family in Yaounde. The kids program will be at his house! while the couples travel 30 minutes away for their conference. T wanted the team to ask him the questions they wanted to ask... and it was SO difficult for me to keep my mouth shut. I had so many more!

No comments: