After having spent some weekends in Nkongsamba, it was a nice change to be able to see a little more of the region. Dschang is about two hours north and easy to reach by bus. The last passage that was mainly uphill exposed the busses engine to some restrictions but made it possible to enjoy the mountain’s view in length.
Starting out with a nice dinner and breakfast – food will always be one essential key to my happiness – we then had time to explore the city’s center. Regularly they are structured by market places, a ‘Place des Fêtes’ where official holidays and parades are held as well as several roundabouts, often combined with monuments of main local characters.
This wood store was one of my favorites findings. With three additional stands, the shop’s owner fabricated all the objects by himself. Afterwards we visited one of Cameroon’s most known museums, the Museum of Civilizations.
Rooms are designed in different colors and structures, to represent the traditional societies of Cameroon: the people of the forest, the sea, the grassfields and the Sahel (north). Each one is presented with its own symbols, objects, traditions and festivities. Additionally, the ‘Chefferies’ of Cameroon are exhibited, which exist until today as additional, important administrative unities.
Dschang, as part of the Grassfields region, is characterized by its red colored soil, juxtaposed by the green nature. Besides housing the museum, it is also known for its university, which takes up a large area of the city.
Funnily, it is also a partner city of Nantes, where I stayed some 10 years ago. The museum has also been established in cooperation. The lasting influence of France can still be noticed, as much as all former colonial structures. The anglophone crisis that is occurring and just escalated (with federal or separatist tendencies) on October 1st, the Unification Day of Cameroon – just two days before Germany’s –, can notably be retraced to the acquisition by Britain and France of the once German colony. Many administrative buildings still represent the German architectural heritage up until today, that is sometimes even weirdly appreciated.
All in all, I very much cherished our opportunity and possibility to experience Dschang, as it was very different from Nkongsamba and to once more enjoy the view on return. When having a slightly stuffy ride with 11 people in a 6-seater, you have to appreciate the upsides.