I took my first malaria prophylaxis today and am posting my first blog entry…I must be getting close to take-off!  Welcome friends, family and anyone else fortunate enough to stumble upon this travel blog.  Glad you came to live my trip vicariously through these pages.

On the verge of my 26th year I’m packing up my happy lil DC life (well, except for Andrew and Stanley who won’t fit in my backpack) and heading to the town of Bamenda in Northwest Cameroon–or Southern Cameroon, depending on whose geography we’re talking about.  I’ll be doing volunteer legal aid for a human rights NGO.  I’ll fill you all in on details about this later.  This first post is essentially just to get this thing started.  I also wanted to give some credit where due and recognize those who are very deserving of major thanks in light of my trip and my lil blog:

  • The African Justice Initiative at Washington College of Law for helping me put the wheels in motion to pursue my African adventure and feed my African obsession.
  • The National Association of District Attorney‘s generous donation of amazing materials for CHRAPA’s library
  • Dieter and the blue nug for risking life and limb to drive me around to pick up said materials.  Even bigger thanks for hanging with me at the Cameroonian embassy for an hour and a half so I could pick up my passport.  The Pug couldn’t even scare us away.  AND for providing oral re-hydration salts, more deet lotion and other public health necessities.  On a similar note…
  • Lauren H. for making sure I got sufficient quinine at my going away get-together.
  • Anna K. for creative brilliance in blog naming.  Thank god you googled what the people of Cameroon are called:)
  • Bloom, thanks in advance for loaning your camera for photo documentation of this experience.
  • Marimon, thank you for taking over dog walking duties.  Stanley loves Uncle Dave…just don’t let him put your other ankle out of commission.
  • My Cameroonian buddies who are connecting me with friends and family still in Bamenda.  We’ve never met but their generosity and assistance is priceless.
  • Professor Saine, from Miami, for helping inspire my passion for working in sub-Saharan Africa and planting the seed that grew into my pursuit of a career in international law and human rights.
  • Grandma, for helping my mom get me ready to go…
  • Mom, for providing major financial assistance in general, and particularly before I got the money I pay the government to loan me.  And for, ya know, being the helpful mom and running me around DC to get things checked off my preparatory list.  OH, and–this is a biggie–for donating the 145,000 frequent flier miles to pay for my plane ticket.
  • Dad, for the perfect gift in the perfect card.  Hopefully I’ll be able to replace that photo of a giraffe with a real one.
  • Andrew, for being supportive of this whole thing.  And for being Stan-dog’s dude for the summer.  I hope that by the time I return, you and the doggy trailer (hehehe) have enjoyed carting Stanley to and from bocce all summer.  And for taking care of the apartment and all aspects of the daily grind so that I’ll be able to take a hot shower in August.  I love you.

OK, so that was a really disjointed list but I think I hit most of the folks to whom I am very grateful.  A general thanks to all of my wonderful friends for your support and enthusiasm.  You are also the ones who inspired the idea to do a blog because as much as I love all of you and g-chatting and what not I like this idea of one-stop shopping a bit better.  And you all will thank me for not bombarding your inbox when something crazy happens… like Cameroon wins the World Cup!

Enough of electronic distraction on this lovely Memorial Sunday.  My social agenda is overly booked for the last 36 hours I’m spending stateside and I need to get to it!  I hope you are all outside enjoying the gorgeous weather in the company of good food and friends.  Tune in next time for my first “real” post as far as the “travel” part of travel blogging is concerned.