IST (In Service Training) is a week-long event designed to further enhance our Peace Corps service. We do this through analysis of a needs assessment of our posts and subsequently deciding on which kinds of projects would best address those needs. Further, we delved a bit into how to apply for small grants and lastly there was some medical sessions which were more or less reiterations from PST (Pre Service Training), nothing like some cringe-inducing photos to reinforce the importance of medical safety. All the while these training sessions were happening in the touristic resort town of Kribi, which made it all the more difficult to stay focused! The waves crashing upon the beautiful white sand beaches were calling our names as we doodled on papers in conference rooms.
Here’s a bit on what little I know about Kribi: Located in the southern region about a two hour drive from the capital, Douala. Kribi probably has the highest volume of tourists in Cameroon and despite this it didn’t seem too crowded, one can find a secluded area on the beach without much trouble.
I probably encountered more white people in Kribi than in any other town in Cameroon. I was reminded of how different Cameroonian French is from regular French upon an encounter with Frenchman on the beach when he asked me a simple question. I understood some of it but most was lost in translation due to the speed in which the words left his throat while his lips barely moved (French people speak with their throats, they would make good ventriloquists), everything sort of slurred together like different kinds of cheeses all melted together into one long string. You probably have an image of a French guy vomiting cheese, I’m probably taking this analogy too far. Kribi is also the end of the Chad-Cameroon pipeline built to provide a more efficient means to transport oil from landlocked Chad’s southern oil fields.
Lastly, I visited Les Chutes de la Lobe aka Lobe falls, a magnificent scene of the Lobe river emptying its fresh water directly into the ocean through a series of waterfalls up to 30 meters high.
I ascended towards the top of one of the waterfalls by way of a trail off to the side. There, the water was calm and the rocky walls created a natural wading pool. There were guys diving from a small waterfall into an area they assured us was deep enough to sustain such a fall. I declined to partake not because I don’t believe them, but because I don’t trust myself to hit a small invisible target surrounded by rushing white water.