Following from Cameroon Part 1 – Day 3 of our trip to Cameroon saw us visit another hospital. This was the most ‘interesting’ session we had. The meeting mainly consisted of the finance team and administrative staff. I think some things may have been lost in translation, probably for the better.
That afternoon we had no scheduled meetings, so making the most of where we were, we took off to Mount Cameroon, the second largest mountain in Africa. By the way, a 45 minute drive really means 2 hours!!!!
After visiting René’s university, we stopped along the road at a tea plantation to take some photos. Word spread so fast that we were there, that within 5 minutes a car tore along the road, pulled up and out jumped one very angry plantation manager. Apparently I looked like a spy from a rival plantation or tea company. Good to know I’ve a back-up career option.
In stepped Alain to the rescue with some pens and USB keys for our “new friend”. We were out of trouble and getting a tour of the factory within another few minutes. Happy days :-). We saw every step in the tea making process and got to taste the tea as part of their quality control. I’d say that’s a dream job, tasting tea all day long. It was delicious and we were sent home with a very large bag of loose tea leaves. This was an amazing unplanned experience and one of the highlights of the trip.
Following on from our close encounter and near arrest, the next stop was a safer choice, The Lime Wildlife Centre.
The centre does fantastic work to secure the survival of endangered species. They’ve rescued over 4500 animals in their 20 years of existence. Funny how they charge more for foreigners than locals. Alain did try and convince them I was his wife, but hadn’t given me a warning and I couldn’t have been standing less like his wife if I had tried.
A drive along the coast brought us back into Douala. Having loved eating by the river on our first night out, we returned to meet with Alain’s wife and Fredrick, a very handy guy to know with connections everywhere, and eat more delicious fish. We ended our day with some dancing to Cameroon’s equivalent of Christy Moore, or attempt at dancing, to some local music.
Day 4, our final day, had us meeting with a potential local partner company. A tour of their offices and some chats to get to know them. After that, we wrapped up our visit with some last-minute present shopping and some beers back at the barracks. Legging it out the door of the hotel to catch our flight home, we met Roger Mila (soccer fans will understand), wasted on me.
Douala was an amazing experience, one which I will be talking about for years. We’d have been lost without Alain and Rene, not only did they make us most welcome but spent time teaching us about the local culture, hospitality, governance, lifestyle, business ethos, healthcare system, etc. Everyone was so friendly and so giving, we had to get extra bags going home just for all of the gifts. If anyone is given the chance to travel there, take the opportunity with both hands. Bring your camera, your appetite and mosquito repellent.