The Cameroon Story

So I recently assigned an important supporting character, Emiliane (Mili), the nationality of Cameroonian. She needed to be applying for political asylum in the U.S. (not arriving as a refugee), and she needed to be French-speaking, Christian, and clearly non-Mexican looking. After looking at a chart of who applies most for asylum, I switched from my first idea of Congo to Cameroon. But I didn’t know anything about the politics of Cameroon. And I had to construct her story of persecution, as my main character meets her translating for her at the community organization representing her, and her asylum interview and hearing would figure in the story.

Two Fridays ago, I got a very last-minute opportunity to go to the Boston DOJ Immigration Court for a training on appearing before the court and a mock asylum hearing. The night before the training, the HLS contact emailed us the mock affidavit of the client, stating his entire story of persecution, and mock direct and cross-examination questions for him.

Are you ready? The pretend client was from Cameroon. Of all things. I was literally handed the life story, family and geographic details, and tale of political persecution of a person from this small and unknown country. City names, names of opposition groups. Hard to believe.
I couldn’t think anything but that, I better keep writing this book. Mili is very pleased that she’ll get a strong and accurate story.

1 Comment to The Cameroon Story

  1. LM says:

    ooh, haven’t checked this site in a while, so sorry for the belated comment. i just wanted to say that i love how connected you are with your characters. this statement, in particular, makes that connection clear: “Mili is very pleased that she’ll get a strong and accurate story.”

    love it. 😀