Mr N just returned home with bags of Njama Njama from the farmers market. Then we started chatting about how it is easy to spot a Cameroonian at the farmer’s market based on how their eyes scan the plan in search of our beloved Njama Njama, which is known in English as garden huckleberry. You can almost ascertain a person’s “Cameroonianess” when you see how the person hunts for these green leaves as though they have the power of life and death.
After the chat, I started thinking of the various things that make Cameronians, Cameroonian. They range from food to language, to childhood memories and experiences. You know you are Cameroonian when…
1. Party time means eat, drink, repeat. Food! Food!! More Food!!!
2. Good food to you is Eru
and Burning Fish
. You have a love-love relationship with these meals and the moments you devour them are moments of pure joy.
3. You call beer “one man”, “shack” or “mimbo”.
4. You have eaten puff puff and beans
at least once in your life.
5. You have cursed Mami Puff Puff for not selling at her food joint on a day she was sick and you really wanted puff puff. Wicked woman!
6. Some form of rice must be cooked on Christmas day
7. You look forward to long road trips because of all the food you will buy at stops. Burning planti and plum, burning fish, Pamplemousse, soya.
8. Your father was always first in school. How can you fail?
9. Your mother called you at some point in your childhood to run from where ever you were playing and give her something that was literally inches away from her.
“Azahhh!!! Gimme that coco for front dey make ah peel am”
10. Your home was never made up of just father, mother and kids. I grew up with uncles, cousins and aunts, relatives, you name it. Pa and Ma Nchifor, I hail oo!
11. Football is your life or the life of those around you. I never liked football but my dad and brothers LOVE football.
12. You ask for “dash” when you are done shopping.
13. You speak English and some form of French (whether broken or fixed). Or you speak French and some form of English.
14. You played tabala, cizo, dodging and ehn ehn while growing up.
15. You sang songs like:
Mr Cocoji e bikin di falla goat
E nack e food… (Please complete for me)
16. You fought pretend war in uncompleted buildings.
17. You made cars out of flip-flops and wood.
18. You cooked mud as food in tomato and sardine cans.
19. You call flip-flops, “two-rope sleppas”
20. You have been late for everything in your life but you arrived early for your American visa interview.
21. You call your mother, “reme” and your father, “repe”
22. Your father had almost nothing to do with the kitchen while you were growing up. Shout out to Mr N who cooked something looking like Irish Potato Hotpot
and called it, Poulet DG
23. You call your friends, “boh”, “massa” or “o boy”
24. Everyone may call you ” Precious” but your family members will call you, “Meshi’ or “Ma Meshi” or “Mamire” because that’s the name that matters to them. Precious is “waiman” name and Meshi is “contri” name and that’s the one they identify with.
25. A visit to someone’s home is not complete without you being served food and/or drink. Once upon a time, young boy put his hands on his head in disbelief because my younger brother refused a drink offer from a neighbour he was visiting. He was literally like this:
How you go deny mimbo??? Did I cover everything? Wona add wona own oo.
What are the characteristics of the people in your country? Please share below.