One observes both laziness and great entrepreneurial spirit in Cameroon – and everything in between, as well – but I think those first two extremes are more apparent here than in North America.

Sometimes the entrepreneurial spirit lacks common sense. Then again, maybe it’s just my warped North American mind that’s the problem, and their methods work fabulously for Cameroon; I don’t know. However, I do wonder at the practicality of attempting to sell an iron (for pressing clothing) off one’s head from the sidewalk of a major street, just past an intersection. If you’re making your way from one end of town to another, or from the airport to your accommodation, or downtown for a big event or business meeting, are you really going to stop the car on this busy stretch to get out to buy a wall clock or an iron?

“Wait, taxi, stop! Back up to that guy there; I want to buy an iron. Yes! Just what I’ve been looking for!” Somehow, I just can’t picture it.

The things they sell off their backs, their heads or their hands. Foodstuffs of many sorts at any toll gate or gendarme stop; folded lengths of colourful African cloth piled high on the head; shoes, advertised by one lone shoe atop the head; individual packets of soap powder looped over the shoulder; the list goes on. One man I saw in Yaoundé was so loaded down with his wares you could barely make out the man underneath, from front or behind. Shopping will never be the same again!


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