22 Oct 2006
On October 15th I set out from Douala to visit a sick cousin in Nyasoso in Tombel Subdivision of South West Province. I was set to take off at 7 am, only to discover that one of my car tyres had a smaller diameter than the others. I had to quarrel with the tyre technicians for supplying me a wrong tyre and lost 30 minutes replacing it. The easiest way to go to Nyasoso from Douala is via Loum. I covered the 90 kms to Loum on a relatively good road. There was lush greenery from plantations and wild flora all along the way, not to mention the hills and other geographical features.
At Loum I had to park my car because the road from Loum through Tombel to Nyasoso is very very unfriendly to any car due to its terrible state of disrepair. I was reliably informed that only motorcycles and four-wheel dive cars (if you see any) are used for transport and each bike carries two passengers on that treacherous road. Luckily for me there was no rain on that day. I negotiated to pay for the two passenger seats so that I could sit with relative comfort. We galloped to Tombel where I negotiated for another bike for Nyasoso. The Tombel-Nyasoso road was longer and more rugged. We managed to reach Nyasoso successfully after stopping twice for minor repairs. This road mirrors the state of roads in most of South West province. Traveling in certain parts of this country has become an entertaining adventure.
Nyasoso used to be the bastion of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon (formerly Basel Mission) and has hosted a Presbyterian Theological Seminary and a Teachers’ training college in the past. One of the earliest Basel mission churches in this country was built here. The remnants of that church have been rehabilitated and reconstructed with financial assistance from one Rev Herzog (a German missionary that had served in Nyasoso). Today, the rehabilitated church is used as a Sunday-school house. In 1996 the people of the Bakossi area, celebrated the centenary of the implantation of missionary work in the area. You can easily guess how old the first church in Nyasoso can be. Given this length of missionary presence in the Bakossi area, I found it a little bit intriguing why superstition and witchcraft scare are still deeply rooted in this area.
Footprints of the Presbyterian Mission in Nyasoso (photo: Njei M.T)
1. Current PC Nyasoso, 2.Centenary pillar, 3.First church, 4.Hospital signboard
I spent a few hours with my ailing cousin and was impressed by the way he was always smiling regardless of the fact that his health was failing. In Africa, we are constantly being bombarded by myriad of problems that we are now learning to smile some of them away. I was bemused when a stranded young man with his female passenger said “Me I dey me so, I no like for suffer”. His bike had developed serious problems and they were in the forest at an uninhabited area. I smiled at him and asked “Na who like suffer?” I told him that to survive in this country of ours, you must learn to suffer with a smile.
Jessica & husband Johnson Mbabid: smiling away his health problems
On my way back, I had to trek for the last two kilometers into Tombel as the bike that was carrying me broke down. I boarded another bike to my parked car in Loum and drove off for Douala. I arrived the house around 7pm to continue attending to domestic issues and treating myself for the next one week of the cold I caught during exposure on the bike.
Njei Moses Timah