Election day started on a comical note at the office. Two Cameroonian men came into our cyber cafe asking how they could vote for Obama over the internet. After a good laugh we gently explained to them that it doesn't exactly work that way.
Tuesday night turned out to be a big night here in Cameroon as well as America. I ended up staying up all night with some other Americans and Cameroonian friends to watch the election returns. We hung in there until the result (which came at about 5 AM here), then watched the candidates speeches and turned in for a nap around 7 AM. Rather, I would have liked to take a nap, but tons of Cameroonian friends immediately started calling and texting me with congratulations. Turns out none of them slept either. I was at Bill's house most of the night, but I heard lots of the bars around Cameroon stayed open all night and turned off the usual music videos and soccer matches in favor of CNN or the BBC.
Friends back home have emailed me about the spontaneous celebrations they saw in the streets of their towns. I wish I'd been able to see them. No parties in the street here as far as I know, but it was definitely an event.
Other Peace Corps volunteers have told me since Tuesday they have been approached on the street by strangers who ask if they're Americans. When they say yes, they are then congratulated and told how Obama's election is proof that America is the greatest country in the world. As I speculated in my last post - I think we just got a do-over with the rest of the world.
On a side note, Nigerian t-shirt makers are thrilled - they are going to turn a huge business selling Obama t-shirts all over west Africa. I've already seen a few around Buea. Bill told me he saw one in rhinestones. Ugh.
Congratulations to President-elect Obama. I just hope and pray that with all the tremendous problems we are facing he can meet the high expectations everyone has of him. America needs a great President right now and I hope he makes us all proud.
No one knows where the future will take us, but for now, it feels like America's back. Hallelujah!