Lynn & David travelling in West Africa travel blog

King's Meeting House, Bandjoun

One of many carved posts on outside of meeting house

Inside the main meeting room

View of the roof outside meeting house

Wives' quarters

Sunday 3rd March 2013

Bandjoun to Foumban

Up at 6.30am today, packed our bags but we didn’t have to leave straight away as we were heading out to the village of Bandjoun and the chief’s house. We then went down to breakfast in the hotel dining room – bread, croissant, coffee and pineapple – and after breakfast left by taxi for the palace. While we were there we visited the museum in which were displayed all the details of the tribe and relics, tools, fabrics, musical instruments and other items. The large traditional meeting house (nine elders meet there when necessary) has been rebuilt because it was burnt down by a criminal act in 2001. It was made on the inside of very long bamboo poles held together by bamboo rope with a ornate ceiling of bamboo twine. Outside there were intricate carved poles. It was approximately 5-6 metres high and about 15 metres square – a very impressive building. Although we weren’t able to meet the chief, we learnt a lot about the Cameroon culture and the tribal ways. The village was in a very quiet area – people obviously are very respectful of the chief who, we were told, listened to all issues raised at meetings that are held in each village of the tribe approximately every third Sunday. The chief has many wives and the number 1 official wife is his father’s widow. After we had finished at the palace of Bandjoun, we went via the hotel to collect our luggage and then to the bus station by taxi (we use taxis a lot in this country and they are pretty much all totally clapped out Toyotas or Nissans) and much to our distress we were the first people to buy a ticket on the bus. Only 17 more to go! However we were amazed when the bus departed with only 7 passengers as we toured the town for a short time attempting to entice more passengers on board. But shortly after, we set off for the town of Foumban, about 1½ hours away. When we arrived there, we caught yet another taxi who drove backwards and forwards across town trying to find our guest house, even after telephone instructions we still took several wrong turns one of which was up a steep hill which almost caused our taxi to die….we finally reached the guest house – our room is very basic, two single beds and a basic cold water bathroom, containing a 44 gal drum of water which is a bit ominous to say the least. No toilets appear to have seats here – we are hoping for a cool night as there is no air conditioning or fans – but no rest for the wicked – we immediately went back out again to the town and had some lunch…all we could get was a dry baguette, a soft drink and a yoghurt which was pretty hard to eat as we only had our fingers….we then spent an interesting hour or so walking through the market with our guide Everistus, tasting some unusual food items and memorising the odd vegetables and how you cook them for when we are on the truck and have to cook dinner. The same taxi brought us back to the guest house where we spent some time relaxing before eating dinner at the guest house. Not very appetising, nice salad to start with, then tough chicken, beans, rice, chips plus watermelon for dessert (David doesn’t eat). Then after dinner David was asleep by 9pm…..

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