Posted by: macahajo | June 19, 2014

Summer life in Africa… with kids!

There are so many things to do in the States with our kids during the summer months!  Some of the favorite things that we enjoyed doing included swimming at the community pool, playing at local parks, splash parks included (which is wonderful water-fun on a hot, sunny day!), and going for bike rides!

It is summer break in Yaounde, Cameroon, but it’s a very different summer for me (and our whole family!), compared to what I’ve experienced in the past, as an American stay-at-home mom who would regularly plan fun places to go with our kids!  I have learned that there are not many places to go in Yaounde, Cameroon specifically with kids in mind.   Kid-friendly is a popular word in America, but not here.

Many of the moms in the missionary community have thought about what we can do with our kids during the summer.  There is a pool at the American School of Yaounde (where a lot of Embassy workers send their kids). Admission for our whole family is about $20 for each visit which is a little pricey to go often, but we thought we would at least visit there several times over the summer to give our kids time to swim and have fun family time. But we just found out that it will be closed for the summer! 😦  There is a pool at the French Club in the city, but we’ve heard that they don’t clean the pool very well there, so we don’t plan to go.

The librarian at the Greenhouse Elementary School for missionary kids (where Josh will go in the fall) told us that she would open the library a few times over the summer for check-out and drop off.  The Greenhouse Library has a wonderful selection of books and games, as well as some videos, for families to check out.

In addition to going to the library this summer when it’s open, Josh can go to the park on the SIL property called Newland, which is very close to where we live. He enjoys going there and playing with new friends. The park at Newland, along with the play-ground at the Greenhouse and at the American School of Yaounde, are a few of the only parks in this country that I’m aware of. I’m not surprised by this. Niger, West Africa was like this too when we were there 12 years ago. The only park in that country, in addition to the one at the school for missionary kids, was the one at the American Embassy.

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Josh on the monkey bars at Newland.  June, 2014

Though we may not have splash parks and children’s museums, missionary kids find creative ways to have fun, and so do their parents!  In the last few weeks, one mom hosted a readers’ theater hour, organized an afternoon of outdoor games, and is planning a building party where the kids compete and build something out of random objects they are given!  Josh really enjoyed spending time with the kids and participating in these events!

In addition to being invited to other people’s homes for meals, our family has very much enjoyed having people over to our home too.  We have shared meals with new friends around our borrowed dining room table and plastic chairs (until our permanent furniture comes!!)… adults chatting, kids playing, and everyone enjoying time together!

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Hannah, with her friend Katie, at our home.  June, 2014

 Our life in Africa… with kids! 

More to come…

Blessings, Cathy Lynn


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