Day 11 (June 26, 2010)
Today was mostly a day of work. Robert and I worked about from 8:00-8:00 today but it is somewhat necessary considering the work we must get done. When we came home, Genesis’ wife Marseline made fufu and eru!! I had told her that I wanted to try it and she actually made it—pretty cool. I liked it too. It’s essentially this combination of waterleaves and beef (the eru) and this mushy stuff that basically tastes like a more firm, solidified version of grits. I think the eru started to taste worse the more that I ate though, which was weird, but mixing it with the fufu fixed that up.
A young guy named Jerry, about our age, was here as well. He seemed pleased that I was eating the fufu and eru the way Marseline had suggested (with my hands) and asked me how I liked it. In turn, I inquired about what his thoughts were on the traditional Cameroonian dish.
”How do you like it?” I asked with a wad of fufu hovering before my mouth.
“Ah yes, I like it very much” he replied happily. Seeing him this happy was odd because before we started talking to him about the fufu, he had that blank, serious look on his face that gave off the impression that he didn’t want me to bother him—a look Cameroonians have perfected.
“Yeah? Me too. So what’s your favorite Cameroonian dish?”
“Definitely fufu and eru!”
“What?! Everyone says that every time I ask them” I exclaimed. He laughed a little too.
“Yes, if you show up to a party and there is no fufu and eru…” his face suddenly became serious, grave even, and started wagging his fingers back and forth. I looked down at my bowl.
This fufu thing is serious stuff!
This was the second time I had heard this exact phrase! Does every Cameroonian inevitably attend an emotionally scarring party devoid of fufu at some point? I thought it was pretty amazing that some item could become an expectation at any party. Do we (Americans) have something every party must have? Ditzy, drunken girls perhaps? Maybe they “spike” their fufu but they don’t tell me.
While I was thinking this, Jerry started to inquire about what I was “reading” at University (which means what I’m studying) and whether I was doing electrical engineering of some sort. It was pretty surprising when he told me that whenever he passed by and saw me and Robert working that he admired us and our mental ability to just sit there and focus on stuff. I guess I was surprised that anyone could find us admirable for that kind of stuff, but he told me that he wants to go into electrical engineering so I can see why he would value that skill. He seems like a friendly guy and I wish I had been more inclined to speak to him sooner despite his stony exterior.