Fr. Pedro Peñaranda CICM

Koza: Thank you and Goodbye

By: Pedro Morelos Peñaranda, CICM

Concluding Pedro Peñaranda’s reflections on his trial period as a CICM seminarian in Cameroon

Disciples of the Man from Nazareth
There are only three Filipinos in North Cameroon- all of them CICM missionaries. The people call us Nasara meaning white, a term applied to all non blacks. At first I found it impolite of them to call names till I discovered Nasara originally meant disciple of the man from Nazareth. In Maroua, however, the seat of the diocese and a commercial district with rather large Moslem population, we were tagged Chinois.

Koza: Thank You and Goodbye!

Fr. Pedro Peñaranda, CICM

Continuing Pedro Peñaranda’s reflection on his trial period as a seminarian in Cameroon.

Double Irony
In Koza, among the Mafas people, it is the traditional chiefs and soothsayers at their side who make all the decisions be it on the social level (sowing, harvest, disputes of all kinds) or on the personal level such as marriage and sickness. The State is virtually non-existence for the Mafas except for the annual burden of taxes they have to remit with much difficulty even if these taxes never return to them in terms of social services. To pay t heir taxes, the men usually leave their mountains and villages during the dry season to get menial job in the cities of Maroua and Garuao, or, ironically, for those who have no identity cards, in Nigeria.

Koza, Thank You and Goodbye!

By: Fr. Pedro Marcelos Peñaranda

(An open letter from a Seminarian in the Mission in Cameroon)

Completely Lost
I arrived in Cameroon November 6, 1988. After nine months of struggling with the French language in Belgium, I set a foot in Yaonde from where, after barely five days, I went north to Koza. That was in the dry, hot season. I felt I was completely lost in a very different world. For the first time in my life I saw black every which way I turned, as if I was dreaming. But it was a happy dream, I realized, after a few days of adjusting my eyes.