Jun 12, 2013

The Joy of driving in Cameroon

I did it people! I drove into downtown Yaoundé Saturday morning to go shopping! My friend Jan usually drives since she's more experienced driving here. But she's going back to the UK for a few weeks, so it was up to me to drive our fellow shopping buddy to town for our bi-weekly shopping excursion.

What's the big deal, you ask? Well, let's start with this picture:
This is a picture of the main roundabout (or traffic circle) that we must traverse to get to our regular stores. Traffic circles would typically help traffic flow, but in this one, there are five traffic signals that you must also pay attention to!

Then there's the fact that one lane of traffic is often filled with 3 lanes of vehicles, each one vying for a spot to get further ahead (even though at times we're all only going 5mph).

Then there's the ever present pedestrian (or 50), to watch out for, sometimes pushing a cart of his wares. Or the street vendors, who are literally selling their goods in the streets, in between cars.
We also encounter street boys who beg, Sometimes they're aggressive and hang on to the vehicle while you're trying to drive away after a green light.
I'm encouraged that I've taken the first steps and that is, I've STARTED driving, at least a little. With Rodney's future travel schedule, driving is a necessary 'evil' that I can't avoid.
Ultimately, my two biggest fears about driving here are, that I'll get lost (I'm still trying to figure out where everything is), and then, that I'll have to interact with the police or someone else and not be able to understand what's being said to me.
But, in the end, Psalm 4:8 speaks of  where our security truly lies: "...You alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety." Our physical safety is always a concern here, but really, that's not the ultimate goal. Even if bad things were to happen, we still have HOPE! Our God is able to give us what we need to go through the 'bad things', and come out victorious.


  1. Bon courage! I remember 're-learning' to drive in Cotonou. Then here in Burkina there's donkey carts, more bikes, and motorbikes that aren't even as good drivers as zemijans.

  2. Wow! The photos really make it easy to see what you are describing! I once drove our old VW from San Diego to Ensenada, Mexico, and was praying the whole way. I now know something else specifically to pray about for you!