Jessica Slocum's Web Page


Hello! My name is Jessie Slocum and I was one of the five students to have the priveledge of being a part of Dickinson College's Cameroonian Summer Field School Program. Currently I call Vienna Virginia my home. I attended the Potomac School in McLean Virginia for five years, and will be graduating from Dickinson in the spring of 2000 with a BA in Anthropology and a minor in Sociology.

I have traveled all of the United States as well as internationally. My father was in the Military which allowed my family and I many travel opportunities, however, never to such an exocticplace as Cameroon! I chose this program because it would provide experience I wouldn't be able to find in any other program. I knew it would open my eyes to a part of the world many never have the opportunity to see and enjoy-it has truly changed my perspective on what developed countries have and need, as well as don't have and need. It was a phenominal experience that I would do all over again in a heartbeat...

-Jessie Slocum
The More Things Change...The More Things Stay the Same.
Le Plus Ca Change...Le Plus Ca Reste Pareil.

The program is designed so that research topics do not need to be choseduntil you arrive in Cameroon and have time to settle into their culture. For me, my topic landed in my lap within the first twenty minutes of arrival. My hiking pack, which carried all of my stuff for the six weeks, was stolen. I was witness to the legal processes (especially regarding theft) in Cameroon-what the police stations look like, how they function (or don't), what legally is supposed to be done, and then what really happens socially. I was amazed at the amount of of bribing that goes on, and the failure to 'follow the rules'.

Below is my paper which gives a personal account of my theft and another's loss of her passport, as well as information received from interviews about the legal system (or the lack thereof). I discuss the 'dashes' (or bribes) which occur, as well as the term 'corruption' and debate what it really means. I conclude with a story which not only serves as an example of the corruption in Cameroon, but also as an exampleof the culture clash which exists between them and the 'outsiders'. If you are an outsider, then they don't expect you to know the 'system' (as defined in this paper), and therefore getting things done is a lot more difficult...