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Next up in the African series is Cameroon. It’s a former French colony that became independent in 1960 and has had a relatively stable government since then. It’s not perfect, hardly. Per-Capital GDP is $2,400 – better than many of its neighbors in West Africa, but hardly great.

This is a book of short stories published in 1999 by the Center for International Studies at Ohio University. The author, Makuchi, (also known as Dr. Juliana Makuchi Nfah-Abbenyi) teaches English and Comparative Literature at North Carolina State University. She’s a native of Cameroon, so she knows the people in these stories.

The fiction tells of a middle-class life, such as it may be. People deal with markets, with family relationships, with political situations, with AIDS. Being middle class in Cameroon is hardly a lush life, but these are not people destitute. They are people looking for a better life, of course. Two of the stories involve immigration, including the dreams and the very real hassles that go with it.

The Cameroon in this book is stuck – the people are not desperate, but they are poor. The country is stable, but it’s not growing. That’s a situation ripe for change, and, it is hoped, change for the good.

Next up: Central African Republic. Where the per-capita GDP is $700.