May 26, 2003 - University of Texas: Notes from Cameroon by Peace Corps Volunteer Joanie Tebbe

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Cameroon: Peace Corps Cameroon: The Peace Corps in Cameroon: May 26, 2003 - University of Texas: Notes from Cameroon by Peace Corps Volunteer Joanie Tebbe

By Admin1 (admin) on Monday, May 26, 2003 - 8:41 pm: Edit Post

Notes from Cameroon by Peace Corps Volunteer Joanie Tebbe

Notes from Cameroon by Peace Corps Volunteer Joanie Tebbe

Notes from Cameroon
Joanie Tebbe, UT Graduate

This is an excerpt of a letter from Joanie Tebbe, a former UT Austin student who graduated in 1996 with a chemical engineering/pre-med. degree. Tebbe now lives in Cameroon in West Africa where she is on her first Peace Corps assignment through 1998. Tebbe plans to attend medical school after her work in the Peace Corps.

I have been teaching math and chemistry at the Government High School in my village of Fundong since September. I absolutely love teaching! Presently I am only teaching math to Form 3 students (about 9th grade age) and, well, you know how exciting math was in 9th grade! Of course, in addition to teaching and learning a completely different culture, I am glad I can be an example for many young females as a woman pursuing a career in math and science.

The stereotypes/roles of men and women are so distinct and separated here; no one considers being careful about offending the other sex or stereotyping, because that is no consideration. Women cook. Men do not. Men drink in bars all day. Women do not. Men have multiple affairs. Women do not (or at least not to the same extent as men). Men and women do not socialize together. There are men groups and women groups. My students do not believe me when I tell them that I do not know how to cook or wash my clothes by hand.

I remember visiting a small village during July in the Muslim region. Men and women have separate quarters and never mix. Men are never even allowed in the kitchen. I was so astonished by the division. One strange thing to me -- or perhaps I am lucky -- is that I have a female principal at my school. I have never heard of another female principal here in Cameroon. It is perhaps because my village is a rather large one with a really good high school that is more progressive than most. Unfortunately, though, many of the staff are against her or openly express views of not wishing to work with her. Another odd and rather disturbing thing for me are the numerous outright propositions for sex most males inquire about from females--including me. It would be considered harassment in the United States, but here it is more a way of life-perhaps even flattery. And women are just upfront and rude and don?t blink an eye about it if they are not interested. And nothing can really hurt the feelings of a Cameroonian so no one is afraid of being blunt. Another example of all the separation I speak about: yesterday we had a staff meeting -- about 1/4 are women, 3/4 men. All the women sat on one side of the room and men on another -- like a middle school dance!

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: University of Texas

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Cameroon



By Francine Mercielle Makak ( on Sunday, March 16, 2008 - 4:38 am: Edit Post

Good morning to every one, i was reading through this page, i have discovered the name Joanie Tebbe, she was a volunteer in Cameroon in 1998, i am one member of the family (host family) which has welcomed here in cameroon in 1998 (in the town named Ngaoundéré), the family MAKAK, is our family name, my lastname is Francine mercielle, i am the first daughter and the child to this family, at that time there was no internet in Cameroon or mobile phone
anybody could help me to find her address, or her phone number or her email? or help me to be in contact with her...i have one picture with her when she was in Ngaoundéré

my phone number is (00237)96641643 and my email is please give her my contact.

Thanks you for giving informations

Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.