The Story of My Life so Far - Part 45: August 1973, Vacations in Cameroon

in story •  2 years ago  (edited)

This is the story of my life so far: 67 years and counting.
Prequel: A Brief History of my Family in France

The story starts here
Previous episode: Part 44

Summer 1973

Finding my life in Lorient a little boring, I had decided to visit Michel Djeng Bitjong, a Cameroonian Navy officer that was in the same post as myself at the École Navale.

At this time, to be able to visit Cameroon you needed a visa, and to get a visa as an individual traveler, you needed a letter from somebody living in Cameroon inviting you to visit them.
So, naturally, I wrote to Michel, at the headquarter of the Cameroonian Navy, but he never replied to me.
I told my parents, and they replied that they knew a family living in Cameroon, the Leimgrubers.

The Leimgrubers were German speaking Swisses that had spent some time in my parents' house in Saint-Ouen to learn French before going to live in the North Cameroon, in the city of Ngaoundéré.
So, I wrote to the Leimgrubers and received the invitation letter sufficiently in time to get a visa.

I flew to Douala at the end of July 1973, probaly the 31st.

Douala, Cameroon

Douala is the largest city in Cameroon, it main port and airport. The capital of Cameroon is Yaoundé.
I believe that Cameroon and Canada are the only two countries with the two official languages English and French.

Douala Harbor

When I arrived in Douala it was late evening, so I checked in an hotel.

The next day, I took a taxi to go to the Navy base. At the gate, I asked to see Michel Djeng Bitjong. Fortunately, he was there and he came to greet me and we had a long discussion in his office and at lunch.

He invited me to stay in the house he was renting with another Navy Officer, René Bikok.

Both Michel and René were from the Bassa ethnic group.

The Bassa speak the Basaa language as a mother tongue, which belongs to the Bantu branch of the Niger–Congo language family. [Wikipedia]

So, I moved to their house and visited Douala alone during the day and with Michel at night.

Meeting Geneviève

One night, we went to a night club. We were not there for five minutes when two girls, Geneviève and Catherine, came to see René. Geneviève was also a Bassa and a distant cousin of René. They were in the night club with two other guys that they were finding boring.

I was fascinated by Geneviève and René noticed that. So, he invited Geneviève to dance, spoke to her and then told me to dance with her.

And that is how I met Geneviève who was to become my wife six years later.

Continue to Part 46

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Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7 - Part 8
Part 9 - Part 10 - Part 11 - Part 12 - Part 13 - Part 14 - Part 15 - Part 16
Part 17 - Part 18 - Part 19 - Part 20 - Part 21 - Part 22 - Part 23 - Part 24
Part 25 - Part 26 - Part 27 - Part 28 - Part 29 - Part 30 - Part 31 - Part 32
Part 33 - Part 34 - Part 35 - Part 36 - Part 37 - Part 38 - Part 39 - Part 40
Part 41 - Part 42 - Part 43 - Part 44

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Your story seems impressive.

Yes as also I think....

They use French as an official language there? Why is that? Weren't they German colony?

Yes, they were a German colony a century ago. But the Germans have been replaced by The British and the French a hundred years ago.

The German Empire claimed the territory as the colony of Kamerun in 1884.
With the defeat of Germany in World War I, Kamerun became a League of Nations mandate territory and was split into French Cameroons and British Cameroons in 1919. [Wikipedia]

In the 1970s, you could still find very old people that could speak German in Cameroon, because they had learn the language at the beginning of the XXth century.

I see. So funny that this fact slipped my mind. thank you!

Wow! I checked out your picture source and found more Cameroon pictures. The country has a huge diversity in landscapes. It's a place I'd like to see too!

Great post =)

interesting story, you finally meet Geneviève, who became your wife. I wait for the next story

That's fantastic to hear how you met your wife!

Dear sr. The vacations sounds great, it is time to meet with yourself, we hope you did enjoy this amazing time in your life, but tell me what kind of food people eat in cameron what do you eat, did you tasted national food or tradicional food.
Thank you.
Best regard @galberto.

Hi. Cameroon is not known in Korea. So I was able to learn about Cameroon miraculously. I think the world is really wide. This post has really good information. Thank you

Well. . This is an interesting story. . And good writing. . I like to read it. Thanks for sharing @vcelier

This is how everything is connected!
I met my boyfriend in my last year of art school, after I said to myself "Finally, I'm alone and nothing can't disturb me , and no one will be in the way of my creative work " because I was making a movie for 9 months after that. And of corse, after these words, a one week later I met my boyfriend, we been toghether for a year now.
Thank you for your post!

Oh that sounds like the best trip of your life, which in the end even made you find your true love :) That´s just so awesome :)

Wow. Now we get to learn about how you met your wife. You have really lived my steemit friend. Looking forward to the next part. My life has been pretty fantastic too, not for everyone but I've been traveling the world and living out of a backpack for over 10 year and I love it. I'm currently writing from Chiang Mai Thailand, got here yesterday and plan on staying a week, before heading to Pai and then Krabi town! Have you ever been here? How do you like Thailand in general? Thanks for sharing! -Dan

Nope, never been to Thailand.

In Asia, I have only been to China.

I apologize. I think i asked you this about a week ago. For some reason I can't believe you never been to Thailand. Maybe because it's one of my favorite countries in the world. So rich in culture with great food, nd very accommodating for travelers, and not to mention very affordable. I have never been to China, unless you count Hong Kong. Do you have any travel plans in the near future? I'm heading to South America in about two months.

very nice story. your travel is impressive