Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Closing up and Going out
When we first came to Cameroon in 1981, security wasn’t much of an issue. Over the years, however, violent crime became more pervasive. Eventually our mission took the difficult and controversial (among the missionaries; it was quite acceptable within the culture) decision to put up walls and hire guards. Foreigners tend to be targets, because of the logical assumption that all foreigners have jobs and the observation that foreigners tend to have more stuff. For our previous 23 years, Paul and I lived in a Cameroonian neighborhood. Our yard had a wall around it, but we never had a guard. We felt safe because we were part of a neighborhood that watched out for itself. This is our first experience living on a somewhat high-security center. Here is what I do when I go out: unplug the computers (in case of a power surge), turn off the fans and radio (electricity is expensive); close the windows (This is dry season, so I can skip that step for the next month or so); put on my sunscreen; put on my insect repellant; bolt the backdoor with its seven, hard-to-work bolts (I’ve put that on the “Honey-do list”); go out the front and lock that door. You can see why I was annoyed when the guard insisted that I come out right away.