Thursday, April 29, 2010

Weighing in

BUEA Cameroon - So, over the years I have been ever so gradually putting on extra weight. Some of it started when I put on some muscle mass riding my bike a lot. Still I wish I could say it was all muscle - but far from it!!

During the pre-embarkation month, where we went from coast to coast visiting family and friends, I must have put on another 10 lbs. I could barely get to the first hole in my belt!! Arriving in Cameroon I weighed myself (with shoes) tipping the scales at 100 kgs! For my USA friends thats essentially 220 lbs. My BMI had also tipped over the healthy "25".

Food here is much less refined. You can of course purchase refined foods but they are generally much more expensive. Dinning out in Buea isn't at all like South Bend where we could fill every meal in a week with a favorite place and not repeat. In Buea there are few that welcome you in the same manner as we are accustomed. While prices are probably about the same, we earn much less. Thus in relative terms we are looking at almost five times the price (another way in the USA we might spend 1 out of every $275 earned, here we spend 1 out of $57 earned or $4.82 for every $275). So we go out much less.

Cheese, my major food addiction is SO expensive that, rather than cheese at every meal, I try to make a .25 kg (8.8 oz for about $6.81) block last a month or more. For breakfast I make my own hash browns from - gasp - real potatoes. I do have some spices, but generally find that onion, garlic, and a bit of green pepper goes a long way for taste.

I snack on frozen bananas. Seriously they are almost as good as ice cream and a LOT fewer calories. Tropical bananas are really tasty. I don't know that I'll be able to eat bananas in the States. Anyhow, Trixy has taken to grinding up roasted peanuts and rolling the fresh bananas in the mix before placing them in the freezer. Wow! In all other ways we have experimented with cooking and found some things we like. Friends send us spices which are incredibly helpful for more complex dishes and for variety.

I know other missionary friends who hire a cook - in some places it is expected. Not here. In Buea we do our own cooking. Honestly, I think I like it this way - though I do look forward to the day we open a cafeteria (at least for lunch).

Buea is also NOT like South Bend in that no matter where you walk you will go up AND down a hill. So walking Jordan is much more energy consuming.

I can now fasten my belt to the fourth hole, but very comfortably the third. So, on arrival I was 100 kgs. The first of January I weighed myself again: 90 kgs. A 22 lb loss in a month!! I had mild panic. But decided to see how things would go. The first of February I was right around 87 and at the first of March 85. As we close in on the first of May, I weighed in at 84. I am glad I have slowed down. I will be happy if my African lifestyle will get me to 80 kgs. I am patient. No need to rush. Instead, I am trying to find foods I fully enjoy, that are easy to make, and relish going out for a good meal at OIC, Capitol or Arne in Limbe. In fact there are a few other places in Limbe I need to try - Bird Watcher's I hear is great and Arne's unit in the Wildlife Centre is due to offer pizza.