Saturday, January 31, 2009

This morning our friend Joseph stopped by to greet us. Joseph was the first friend that we made in Yaoundé, and he has been a great source of cultural enlightenment. He had only been here for a few minutes when he picked up where we had left off a few years ago on a recurring discussion. He said, “Madame (There is no way on earth that I could ever get him to call me Nanci), your own children, who you raised just like you did, when they have their own children, would you not like to take those children so that you could raise them again?” I explained to him for maybe the fourth time that it doesn’t work that way in our culture; that parents are expected to raise their own children. They would give them to the grandparents only if they were unable to raise them well themselves. He can’t get his mind around it. “But Madame! You raised them fine. Don’t you want to just look and see a child there again?” I tell him that I hope that I raised my children well enough that they will also raise their children well, and that I will enjoy visiting any grandchildren that I might have one day. Finally he exclaims, “But then you and Uncle Paul will be just two, all alone like that?” Before he leaves, he turns one more time and says, “But Madame…if Alexi or Kari gave you their child for just two, three years…You would care for him, send him to school, would you not like that?” Paul ends the discussion by saying with a smile, “Yes, we would like that.”


  1. I love the fact that the Cameroonians adore children enjoy having them around.

  2. You might not want to remind Lexi and Karen of this idea if their babies turn out to be colicky!

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