(This was written on the study abroad team’s first day at the University of Buea.)
It’s Monday, and finally time to begin the work we’ve all traveled so far to do. Bright and early, the students were up and dressed in their Goldfarb uniforms for a continental breakfast of croissants, fruit and delicious coffee. I took mine with steamed whole milk, which was a huge treat for me, as in the States, I only drink skim milk.
Our driver safely transported us the University of Buea campus, and we reconnected with the faculty that Dr. Neal Rosenburg and I had met with in September. Everyone was glad to see familiar faces and to meet the students. I was a bit nervous that cultural differences might result in a slow start between the two groups of students, but my worries were unfounded. In just a few minutes, the American and Cameroonian nursing students were sharing stories, personal information, perceptions and plans for the following days. At lunch, we all shared a traditional meal consisting of rice, roast chicken, greens, spicy tomato sauce, yams and plantains. Some students had their very first Coke or Fanta made with cane sugar. I know that seems unbelievable, but evidently, all Coke products in the USA are made with high fructose corn syrup, which lends a completely different taste than cane sugar.
We also had a very funny experience with Coke and toothpaste, which when mixed together has incredible results. If you don’t believe me, just ask Christy Cooper. She may even provide a re-enactment if you ask.