Life in Poetry reading, writing, reflecting

Life in Poetry reading, writing, reflecting
April showers bring May flowers

Monday, 20 April 2020

⌗AtoZ Challenge, 18th April 2020, P is for My People.

Welcome to my blog Life in Poetry.
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Welcome to the 2020 APRIL A to Z Challenge

Half-Way there, Hang On.

Quote of the Day :  
For a child to grow up, he needs a whole village.
African Proverb.

if you would like to know more about the A to Z Challenge, founded 11 years ago by Arlee Bird at Tossing Out,  read here

for my theme revealed , go here on Blogger
On Wordpress, read here 

Q will be a day to answer all your questions on my novel in progress, so feel free to write them down in your comment, on any day till then. On the 20th April, I will compile all the questions and answer each one on my Q post.

My Fouteenth extract from my novel in progress will appear towards the middle of the novel. Bartolomé is visiting his Grand-mother Charlotte in Bamiléké country.

Brief synopsis of plot and characters :

Mathilda, my first main character, is American and lives in New York City. She is a student at NYU where she is preparing a thesis on the origins and developments of African American Music. She is a first person narrator. Her timeframe is 2005. In my previous extracts, Mathilda has travelled to New Orleans, Jekyll Island and Hattiesburg.

Bartolomé, my second main character, is Cameroonian and lives in Yaoundé. He is a professor of Mathematics at the University there. I will be using a third-person narrator for this character from his Point of View. His timeframe is the early '90's. In my previous extracts, Bartolomé has made a trip up North for his grand-father's funeral and decided to leave Yaoundé behind for good.

P is for My People

" Our People come from a tiny village near Kékem on the fringe of the jungle and Ekom falls, you remember we walked there together one summer when you were little. Your mother left the West when she was fifteen to follow a secretarial course in Douala, as you know. When she was a child, she used to enjoy building toys for her brothers and sisters and I think you got your head for figures from her although your father was never clumsy when it came to adding up the accounts; it got him his job at the hotel, after all."

Grandma Charlotte and Bartolomé are seated at the terrace of a café in Kumba drinking tea and eating cakes with pineapple slices. The evening light glows on the mosaïcs adorning the brick Station building opposite them. In half an hour, night will fall suddenly after the bats circle the trees in their usual uproar. The bustle and chatter from shoppers and the honks from scooters rise from the nearby market which offers everything from batteries to tires , bananas to coffee beans, spices to hogfish, fresh peanuts to bush meat. The low houses, adobe walls under corrugated iron roofs, squeeze together along broken pavements planted with straggly palm bushes. here and there a garden overflows with tall leathery grass, mango and goyave trees.

" So what do you think of my decision ? " Bartolomé asks.
" Wéké, I think it's a shame. You a Doctor in Mathematics wanting to go back to a dusty village in the North to teach snotty children."
" You only see the material aspect. yes, you're right, I'm leaving behind a comfortable apartment in the Capital and a certain standard of living for a latte in the village of my backward ancestors."
" I didn't mean to sound callous. But you must admit ... I don't quite see the attraction."
" Think of what I can bring these children. Their education is paramount to the Future of Cameroon. I hope to be able to broaden their minds and encourage them to see new opportunities beyond what they always known, even if they never leave the North. But for that they need to learn to read and write at least in French and maybe even in English too. And the government is cruelly stingy when it comes to funding Public Schooling. The Kirdi village I'll be working in hasn't replaced the Instituteur in two whole years since he left."
"I see, that's a problem, I understand. But you'll be giving up so much. What does your father think ?"
" He is very proud of me in fact. I was pleasantly surprised. I thought he would see it as a regression. I know he worked so hard to put me through university and give me the chances he never had. And that's exactly what I want to offer these youngsters : give back in other words."
"very noble, my son, very noble. Well, all I can wish you is the best of luck. In the meantime, let's enjoy these few days together in Bamoun country, and maybe someday you'll come and settle here to teach the young."
"Ha, ha, yes maybe I will. Thank you Grandma Charlotte. Happy Kantang."

ZAO, Adam et Eve, here
          Soulard, here
          Wele, here

Manu Dibango, Soul Makossa, here

          Bamoun and Bamiléké Country, Western Cameroon.

Artist Bathélémy Toguo in front of one of his creations

Thank you for reading. Hope you enjoyed this extract. See you tomorrow for a Q & A session. I will be interviewed by a budding journalist.

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