Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Paul has discovered that walking helps his stomach pain, so after dinner (He’s only eating about a third as much as normal), we went for a walk. We headed down the hill, past the brewery that is Cameroon’s largest industry. (When the wind’s are right, the smell of hops fills our offices.) We passed a bus stop that was full of people, sitting on the bench and on the ground, laughing and chatting boisterously. We were surprised, wondering if buses run in the evenings. On the return, we realized that someone was selling palm wine there – a sort of informal bar. We once read that Cameroon has the highest per capita alcohol consumption in the world. We don’t doubt it, but we wonder how they can calculate such a thing. Although beer sales are very high, most drinking occurs in the villages, where many men have their own palm trees. They climb the tree, tap the liquid and let it ferment. A tree gives a good-sized bottle daily.