Kribi is a beach community in the southwest region of Cameroon. By “western standards,” it’s a pretty unimpressive beach resort town – a waterfall, a lighthouse, a couple of decent resorts – but to me it was paradise. I was a Peace Corps volunteer living about six hours away. My life was defined by having “given up” many things I had previously considered luxuries in my life. In my home, I barely had running water, I barely had electricity, there was no water anywhere nearby that wasn’t infected with schisto, and my sources of entertainment were scarce.
Spending a daylong journey to Kribi was my escape – and I escaped often. I probably spent every eighth weekend at Kribi, for my entire two and a half years of service. Sometimes I’d stay at the fancy resort with a pool and a restaurant and air-conditioned rooms. Sometimes I’d stay at a hut a short motorcycle ride away with no amenities, but comfortable beds and fans in the rooms.
But every time I would post myself up at the seafood market where mommies would set up grill stations and grill seafood to order. I would sit and gorge myself on prawns, lobster, fish, octopus, all freshly caught, beers, prunes and plaintains and mysterious microgreens. When I’d get the bill at the end of the day – for about $15 – I’d make my way back to where I was staying to swim and nap.
It was truly the best escape. I’m so lucky to have had it!