Monday, February 2, 2009


Churches in Cameroon often receive used supplies – hymnals, choir robes, communion sets – from churches in the West. Etoug Ebe Baptist here in Yaoundé is no different. I suppose that the choir robes that they have now came from a church with a high school, and that the gowns were sent after graduation. We had been used to seeing the mortar boards and tassels, but seeing them again yesterday made us both smile.
After church we visited our former neighborhood, where we were greeted with great excitement and many questions about Alexis and Karen. We are glad that Cameroonians don’t use names in the same way that we do. It is quite acceptable to spend an entire evening with someone without using his or her name. The down side of that is that we don’t hear names very often, so it is hard to learn them. We spent about an hour and a half with the wife of the neighborhood’s chief, whose name I have long ago forgotten. She asked us if we have AIDS in the US. I said that we do, but not as much as here. I said that I don’t know of any friends or family members in the US with AIDS, but that I have known of many here. She told us that AIDS is different here. In other places, you know how you get it and you can take pills that help you. That kind exists here, but there is also the kind that people can “throw at you” [through sorcery]. This kind can only be treated through traditional means [sorcery again]. She said that it’s obvious that there are two kinds, because some people take pills and get better, and others don’t. She is a Catholic, so we talked for awhile about sorcery and faith in Christ. Like many people here, she believes that Christ and Satan are locked in a struggle. When good things happen, Christ has won. When bad things happen, he has lost. It is a difficult worldview to contradict, because everything that she sees around her feeds it.

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