TCK Voices: English and French in Cameroon, Africa

Today we have Kate with us! Welcome, Kate!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and the different cultures you are part of?

My name is Kate, and I have lived in Cameroon, Africa for the past 16 years of my life. My parents moved here when I was barely two years old, and every two and a half years we go back to the States for a six-month furlough. Cameroon is very diverse. The country has two different sections or “states” – the English region and the French region. For 13 of those 16 years, I lived in the English region of Cameroon, so I was able to talk to people easily and get to know them. Conflict between the French and English regions broke out in 2016 and 2018, and due to some traumatic events, my family had to evacuate our home and fly back to the States. We stayed in the US for a year, then studied French in Quebec, Canada in 2020 before coming back to Cameroon, only to live in the French region which is a different and much harder culture for me to live in than the English region.

Kate Sinclair

What is an advantage of being a TCK?

I think one of the best advantages to being a TCK is that you get to learn more from life in an 18-year span than you might have otherwise in a 40- 50-year span. You get to see how other people live and learn from them and apply it to your own life. You may also get to go to a lot of crazy countries and see a lot of crazy things!

What is the hardest thing about being a TCK?

The hardest thing about being a TCK for me is the lack of true friendships. When you don’t live in your passport country, you can’t always relate to the people you are working with. And time zones make communication with friends overseas really, really hard. And even when you do have a friend overseas who isn’t a TCK, they won’t totally understand some of the things that you go through, and that is hard as well.

Unless your parents were TCKs as well (mine weren’t), there may be this wall between you and your parents that can never be broken because they don’t understand what it’s like to live the way that you are living.

What is one thing you learned from being a TCK?

I’ve learned a lot of things from being a TCK. I think the thing that I am most happy with is that I can make really good food. 

How has being a TCK influenced your faith?

Because my parents are missionaries, I heard the gospel almost every single day. I became a Christian when I was nine years old and while on the field in Cameroon!

What is one thing you would like to tell your fellow TCKs?

You. Are. Not. Alone! Whatever you’re going through. Whatever you are struggling with. Whatever is going on in your life. We understand. We get it. We probably have had the exact same problem you’re going through right now. But it will pass. It will. You’ll get through it and it’s going to be awesome.

Thank you so much for sharing with us, Kate!

Have some thoughts?

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