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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Douala-Yaounde, The Highway of All Fears

In Cameroon the two most publicized road safety campaigns are done in September and in December. This year, the 2010 back to school road safety campaign ran through the month of September with embarrassing statistics for transport officials. By mid-September three accidents had killed close to 20 persons on our highways.

Two of the most deadly crashes occurred on this 231 km stretch that links the political capital Yaounde to the economic first city Douala. The causes of these road accidents vary, from intoxication, to human error to the poor state of the roads.
This week I was in one of the six thousand vehicles that ply the Douala- Yaounde stretch every day, terrified by the statistics that clearly make this highway one of the most feared in the country.
Watch my 5 minute video, that gives you a unique insight on this highway

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cameroon Police Pay and Go

In my beloved Cameroon, this is the real face of public administration. When the police pull you over, especially taxis, everyone in the cab is expecting the cab driver to 'settle' the officer.
That is give the traditional 500 CFAF coin or bill, and carry on, because thats the only way you'll save time.

They won't fine you. They'll keep you there for as long as it takes you to understand.
Last Saturday I was taking my 9 month old daughter to hospital, and this group of police officers with 4 female officers pulled us over for parking out of a taxi parking space.

The cab driver had to perform the ritual...with our no-nonsense police 'girls'