In the spirit of adventure, as well as inclusiveness and hospitality, today I’m breaking with tradition and welcoming the first man ever to post on Girls Trek Too. Andrew Rooney is a fellow Denver author who loves to travel, and when he told me he had lived in Africa, how could I resist inviting him to join us here?
Spring Break in Cameroon
by A. Rooney
When we got back from our college recruiting trip to the south, it was spring break at the American University of Nigeria, where I’d been teaching since 2006. For my break, I decided to go to Cameroon, the country next door and just across from Yola, where the university was located. I borrowed someone’s car and talked two other teachers into coming along: Ward and Jean-Marcel. We took off with passports but no visas. “Who needs visas?” I said. “If they send us back, they send us back.”
For my spring break from the University of Nigeria, I decided to go to Cameroon, the country next door.
The idea was to rendezvous at the border with staff from the small wildlife college in Garoua, Cameroon. One of our crew was supposed to drop me and another teacher off when we saw them, but no wildlife college folks were there when we arrived, so we took the car on to Garoua.
“Take no liberties with game animals.” We giggle when we read the sign at the entrance to Tanzania’s Lake Manyara National Park.
When I tell people I’m an avid traveler, I say so with both pride and shame. Pride: because world travelers tend to be among the most environmentally conscious, culturally sensitive, socially progressive people you’ll ever meet. Shame: because, as a traveler, I cause more damage to the environment, and more disruption in the lives others, than people who stay home.
“It’s not contagious,” I repeated, as friends backed away from me in horror.
I couldn’t resist telling a travel tale involving skin-tunneling parasites. In turn, my friends couldn’t resist shifting back just a hair, although they insisted they understood there was no chance of worms leaping from my body to theirs. It didn’t help to explain that I wasn’t even sure I had schistosomiasis.
Africa’s tallest mountain was a temptress, her flat volcanic cone dripping snow, her flanks spread broadly, as if she were opening her arms in supplication. But we passed up the mighty Kilimanjaro to hike Tanzania’s second highest peak, Mount Meru.
You can’t get there in a car.
It’s too far to Zanzibar…