Saturday, March 01, 2008

Boys with guns

Well, I finally got off my butt and back into running this week. I only ran once last week in Yaoundé and not at all over the weekend. But I'm back in the routine a bit again. Also doing yoga. I feel much better in my body. I was feeling really fat and lazy and out of touch with myself physically.

Emmanuel (luckily) went out to his village early Tuesday morning. Since Benedicta won some money at the Mt. Cameroon race, he went to take his father to the hospital for a very long overdue hernia operation. I say luckily because. . .

Well, there's been some serious unrest here in Cameroon this week. It started with a taxi drivers strike to protest a huge hike in the price of petrol but then it grew into much more. You can read more about it on my Cameroon blog:

Wednesday, the first day I went out running, I saw the remnants of road blocks around and very few children going to school. On my return, no shops were open (unusual at 7 in the morning), no taxis or okada boys (motorcycle taxis) were on the road and there was a gathering of about 20 or so young men at the roadblock nearest my house. But otherwise it was an uneventful run. Later in the day, I walked out to the main road and realized that I had been wise to go run out on the back roads.

Thursday I again headed out the backroads and decided to go down the hill at Foncha Street into the Mulang quarter, along Longlak street to the dump and Mezam River. At Foncha Street, what had been mere remnants of a roadblock yesterday were now constructed into and actual block and the downhill road had some stuff blocking it as well (blocking vehicles, not pedestrians like myself). I was delighted and surprised to see that the rickety old bridge was gone and they were about halfway through building an actual, proper, vehicle-worthy bridge over the river. They'd done enough work that the river was now rerouted under the road (at least in the dry season as it is currently). On Longlak near one of the trading centers, I saw a group of gendarmes -- quite young men with quite big guns. I thought I'd just wave at them in greeting, but one got up and stood in the middle of the road. I ran past him and another stood and actually blocked me. I pulled an earphone out and put my hands up and said, "Hey, I'm just doing sport. I'm going down to the road, I'll be back in a few minutes." I had a huge adrenaline rush -- fear. Luckily one of the guys sitting said something to the one blocking me and he let me go. About 1/2 km later I saw another group of gendarmes and felt some anxiety but they didn’t pay any attention to me either going or coming. When I got to the road (where the dump and Mezam River are), there were NO cars, no vehicles of any sort, but about 10-15 people trekking to their farms (hoes over their shoulders, buckets in hand). On my return the group of gendarmes that hassled me was down to just 3 guys and they didn't pay any attention to me. There must have been a shift change. . .

Running for the first time in a week and a half and doing 1 1/2  hours of Anusara yoga left me a bit sore so I did my Sivananda yoga routine last night and again this morning and didn't run today.My right butt muscle is a bit irritated and I don't want it to start gving me sciatica again. Also, I heard a gunshot in my quarter at about 5am this morning and well, it made me a bit nervous. I walked out to the main road later this morning and things overall seem much more calm than yesterday (when 6 people were killed). I'll run tomorrow and then hopefully it will be calm enough Sunday to actually do a road run.


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