Hey everyone. This is my blog from Benin, Africa. I'll try to write as much about my experience as I can. Hope you all enjoy and feel free to write me as well.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

April and May

So once again I realize I haven't written in a long time, but I have had a crazy last month. First of all my best friend Steffi ended up having to leave Benin. She had a security threat on her here and so they transfered her to Botswana. I was super upset about it but I am really happy that she gets to go to another awesome country. I am going to go and visit her once I am finished with my service here in Benin. I am really going to miss her but I am lucky that I have a great group of friends over here besides her so I should be ok. Other than that I have had a like 10 birthdays to celebrate this month including mine and my boyfriends. So I have been visiting friends and celebrating a lot. Also I had two trainings last month, one to learn how to teach the new volunteers when they come in, and the other to learn more about malaria and nutritional recuperation. It has been crazy busy and now I don't even have much time to spend in my village before I head home for a week. I am super excited. Oh and I guess I should mention before all this I had the GAD dinner which is what most of my pictures are from. GAD stands for gender and development and it is an NGO started my peacecorps volunteers to help the women of developing countries. We had a big weekend long fundrasier to raise money for volunteers like me to use. We can do many things with the grants from this fundraiser such as teach formations about domestic voilence to painting eduacational murals around our villages. I am actaully going to apply for some money to do a mural at my health center regarding maternal and child health practices.
I also in the last month applied for a new job over here. I is called Peace Corps Volunteer Leader. The job entails running the workstations that we have over here in Benin. If I haven't already explaned a workstation, it is like a house where volunteers can stay and work on projects or just get a break. The PCVL wouled also be there to support the volunteers in their areas. I have my interview for in next Monday and then they will tell us who gets the jobs. I would really enjoy doing it because not only do I get to help my fellow volunteers but I would also get to move to a new city, experience new things, and work with new people on new projects. So it could be really exciting.
Well that is all I really know right now, my mind is pretty much on heading home at the moment so ill right more after my visit. Au Revoir

Monday, March 16, 2009

A tough week

Hey everyone. I am sure many of you have already heard the tragedy that has happend in the Benin this past week but I wanted to tell you the facts and how I am doing. A volunteer was found murdered outside of her house early Thursday morning. She was a great person and will be missed by her friends and family. I my self had only met her a couple of times but my impression of her was that was a very positive and caring person. It has been a bit scary over here for us other volunteers because hearing something like that just makes you think about too many things. Like well am I really safe where I am, and would anyone in my village ever do that to me. I will admit I am a bit scared to go back to my post but I do realize that I live in a very good town and I have 8 families that live surrounding me and I know that they would never let anything happen to me. So I do feel better knowing that I have a great group of people looking out for me. I am not sure what the repercutions of this are going to be but I know that Peace Corps is doing all that they can to make sure we are all as safe as possible and prevent this from ever happening again. That is all I really know for now, I am staying in the main city for the rest of the week and then we will see how it goes. Thanks to everyone who has sent me nice messages of support and love. I love all of you and I don't want anyone to worry about me because there has never been a death in Benin in all of the 40 years Peace Corps has been here and I am very safe over here, and I can kick some butt if anyone tries anything with me.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Well how to start off this blog. First I guess I can start by saying that I really didn't do much in January which is why I didn't write about anything. My homologue (boss) has not been back to work for over a month now and still isn't coming back for another month so I really haven't had anything to do. However her being gone has made me explore my community more trying to finds some other things to work on and I think I have, which is great. First of all one of my friends in my town does talks and workshops on HIV/AIDS so we are going to work together on some things. Also I have been to the highschool in my town and I am going to start a English club for the students where I will help them with their homework and discuss interesting topics with them in English.

Lastly, is that I am going to start working with the health center in my town. It is like a small clinic, with one doctor, three to four nurses, a small lab and a small pharmacy. I have spoken to the manager, nurses, and the docotor all several times and they are all very excited to start working with me. I am not sure exactly what I am going to be doing yet but I do know I will be going with them on their satelite vaccination trips, which is when they go out into the smaller villages that are hard to get to and give out vaccinations and do baby weighings. I also think I will be working with trying to start a better nutritional recuparetaion program with them as well because the doctor was telling me how many of the children in the smaller, more rural villages are malnourished.

Other than that let's see, oh I have had my first sickness over here, I had Giardia, I was sick with stomach pains and similar problems for about two months but I just though it was normal, well it wasn't and now I am pain free and parasite free, even though I am sure I will probably pick up something else very soon lol.

Also I have been having a good time with my boyfriend. We just celebrated Valentines Day together. First we went shopping during the day and I bought and really pretty dress, I going to to try and put a picture of it on here, and nice shoes so that I could feel pretty that night and then we went to dinner at a very nice beachside restaurant. I had steak and so did he it was very good. Later we went with another couple to a nice lounge bar and had some wine. It was a very nice evening, and probably the first like real valentines day I have ever had with dressing up and a nice dinner and everything.

Other than that I think everything is going a little better over here. I am really hoping that I am going to start some work soon because that is why I am here and it kind of makes me feel very unsuccesful not havein done much of anything yet.

Oh at the beginning of March I am heading up to Burkina Faso to the West African Film Festival for a week so that should be very fun. I will be sure to write all about it on here.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

December and January

Well I guess I should start off by apologizing for not writing in so long. I apologize for dropping of the face of the earth for the last month but I was very very busy, thank goodness. So I guess to start off I can talk about my trip to the north of Benin for Christmas. My best friends Steffi lives in the northern part of Benin called the Alabori and she invited me to her house to spend the Christmas Holiday. We left a couple days after we were finished with our training session and I spent three days up north with her. Her village is much smaller than mine but it was very comfortable and welcoming. Another volunteer also lives in village with her so she is very lucky because she always has a friend to hang out with. Now this would have been a problem however if they didn’t get along but they do so it all worked out perfectly. Three of our guys friends also came up to Steffi’s house to celebrate Christmas, so it was a small gathering but we had a really good time. For Christmas Eve, my mom had sent me pancake mix and syrup from the states so, we made breakfast for dinner along with eggs and some friend cheese that was suppose to be like bacon, but really it just tasted like fried cheese lol. We tried to find Christmas music to listen to on our shortwave radios so for about half the time we listened to Christmas music. Shortwave is really unreliable however because they stations are always turning on and off and they are always switching frequencies. For Christmas day we first went over to Steffi’s homologues house for lunch. She feed us rice and turkey and it was really good. However after we had finished eating that, other people kept coming over to the house to give us food so we ended up having to eat like 4 times, and let me tell you I though I was going to throw up trying to stuff more food in my mouth because it is impolite not to eat it. So, for our dinner we decided to eat really late, at about 11:00 p.m. because none of use were hungry. We cooked chickens and made mashed sweet potatoes. We made a couple of other things but the best part was the cake we made. I think no matter how full all of us were there was no stopping us from that cake, we ravished it. There was nothing left.
After spending several days in the dusty, dry north of Benin, Steffi and I left to spend a fews days at my post before New Years. We didn’t do much at my post but relax and get ready for our upcoming trip. For New Years were had been invited to go to Togo by Steffi’s boyfriend. He is Lebanese and lives in Cotonou working for a construction company. We were very excited because he has a car so that meant we wouldn’t have to take public transportation. Our friend Satin also joined us on our trip. We left on New Years Eve day and went to Lome, Togo which is about a 3 hour drive from Cotonou. Lome is much more developed then Cotonou so we were very excited to see and new city. We stayed at a hotel on the beach, and it had air conditioning and television. I personally could have just stayed at the hotel the hole time watching television and laying by the pool, but we had plans so we went out. We met up with a bunch of Steffi’s boyfriends and went to out. First we went to a Chinese food restaurant, it was pretty good but nothing like Chinese at home. After that we had VIP in a club in Lome. It was really fun and we danced all night until the sun came up, and then we went swimming in the hotel pool. Oh I don’t think that I mentioned that here in Benin and as well as in Togo, no one goes out to the clubs until like 2:00 a.m. This is why we were up so late because nothing gets started until I would normally have been in bed. So anyways, the next day we hung out by the pool and swam at the beach. We couldn’t really lay out at the beach though because there were sand fleas, so we just swam a bit and then went back to the pool. Later that day we left and came back to Cotonou. I ended up spending a couple of days with my boyfriend before going back to my post.
Speaking of my boyfriend I guess I should let you all no that it is getting a bit more serious than I had originally thought. He is a great guy and he treats me like a princess and I am very happy with him at the moment. So we shall see what happens but right now and I am just having fun and am happy being with him.
Oh I also must mention that they day we got back my friend Satin got engaged. She has been seeing an Beninese man here pretty much since the beginning and he asked her to marry him. I am super happy for her because I know she loves him a lot and think she is going to be really happy. Don’t get any ideas for me though I have lots of things I want to do in my life before I even think about getting married haha.
So I am now back at my post after having lots of fun during the month of December and I must say that I am bored lol. But I will be going back to Cotonou more frequently now that I have a boyfriend that lives there. Oh and have I mentioned that I have found many fabulous places in Cotonou. First of all I think I have already mentioned but we have found some really nice places to go out to at night with good music and great atmosphere. We have also found some great places to eat with things like pizza and hamburgers, who would of thought. And my favorite is that we found out that the hotels in Cotonou, which are 4 start and very nice, let you pay a small fee to hang out at there pools. So I have been getting some luxury in my life over hear, which I must say was much needed.
So life at post has also been rather interesting since I have been back. First of all I have found some new things that I am going to work on. I recently found out that the baby weighings I have been helping out with aren’t for everyone in the community. They are only for the people who are paid to get help from the NGO Borne Fonden. So the men I work we and I have decided that we are going to start some new baby weighings so that everyone in the community can come. To be able to do the baby weighings however you have to have somewhere to do them. Usually they have them in these things called piots, which kind of look like pavilions. So since we don’t have one I am going to try and get a grant to build one at my CPS, the office where I work, so that we have a place to do this. If we build this it will also be a great place to do educational sessions and many other things. So I am very excited to get this started. Once we start the baby weighings I am also hoping I can start to do some of the nutritional recuperation stuff that I learned about during training.
So on a different not I had a very scary thing happen to me the other day. I had just gotten out of the shower and was in my room brushing my hair when I look over to the door of my room and there was a million RED ANTS. They had come from somewhere and started swarming into my house. I of course screamed and had to jump through them to get out of my house. They were crawling all over me and biting me. My neighbors all ran into my house and started pouring poison on the floor and trying to stomp on them and kill them. They were all screaming too because they were getting bitten. I probably had 15 people in my house trying to help me. Needless to say after about 2 hours we got all of the ants out. It was horrible. I wouldn’t have minded black ants because they don’t bite, but red ants do and when a bunch of them are all over you biting you, and does start to hurt. So for a couple of days after that I was pretty scared to go to sleep because I feared that the swarm would come back and get me in my sleep.
Oh life in Africa, all I have to say is something new happens everyday, good and bad, but I am proud to say that I am getting through it all. If that would have happened to me in the states I would have moved out of my house lol. Well that’s pretty much all I have for now. Miss everyone and I will really try to write on here more.

December and January

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hey everyone. Before I start writing I want to wish everyone a happy holiday season. I will miss you all but I will be celebrating over here, Africa is not that far away lol. Things have been super busy here recently. I have had several meetings to go to for peace corps and I also visited some friends for thansgiving. First right now I am in Porto Novo again for a two week workshop. We are learning about HIV/AIDS education and how to start malnutrition programs in our community. The guy I am working with from my village and I are very excited to go back and start working because we found many things that we can do in my village. This is going to take me off topic but I must discuss something before I tell you all of my work plans for my village.

Over here in Africa many of the charties dont work very well. I am talking about charties such as Christian Childrens Fund (which actually is a decent one), and many religious organizations. First one of the reasons that many of these charities dont work is that they are corrupt. The people that run them over here keep the money they get for themselves and only help people of there choosing. Also many of them dont help the poorest people who actually need the help. Let me give you an example. In my town there is an ONG much like CCF, that opperates from France. People adopt a family and send money to help them. Well first of all for the families to be chosen they cant be polygamist, which is highly prevelent over here and is a stupid reason not to help poor children; and they also have to have some money because they have to go to the health center and get examinations and shots. I think this is absolutley rediculous. The people who need the help are the ones that cant go to the health center for shots and can barely feed themselves; Now I am not saying the ones that can pay for this dont need the help to, but the ones that really need it are turned down. These are the people I am going to to try and help though because no one is telling them the things they need to know to stay healthy and feed there children well. There are a lot of them though and it is going to be hard but I hope I can make some sort of difference. When I am older maybe I can start a charity that doesnt discriminate due to religious prefrenences and helps the people who cant afford things instead of the ones that can. That is just my opinion
Oh and also many of the World organizations are corrupt as well. For example the World Health Organization donates food to people all over the world. Well how they do this is to have a person in a community that they communicate with and they give all of the food for one community to that person. Well as you can imagine many of these people dont give the food out for free like they are suppose to but keep it for themselves and then sell it at the same price as everything else. It really floors me that the WOLRD HEALTH ORGANIZATION cant get their shit together and have a better system of checks and balances. Also a lot of times the world health organzatin has to pull food out of countries and stop helping them. Then the people that had come to rely on the food, because they just gave it to them instead of trying to start a stustainable food project, starve to death. Ugh it is just so damn frusterating because so many things over here dont work like everybody believes.
Sorry I just ranted on for ever but being over here has changed many of my views on things and really opened my eyes to the corrupt and ignorant giants of the world.
On a lighter note as I stated above I have found lots of work that I think I can do in my community that I am very excited about. So hopefully I can at least help one person while I am over here.
I have been hanging out with my friend for about a week now. We have had lots of fun going out and just takling english together lol. Oh and I kind of have a boyfriend over here. He is Nigerian and very sweet to me so far but it is not going to be serious anytime soon because I am over here to work and not to play. Well that is all I know for now I should be able to write again soon because I have internet for the next week. KODO BADA

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sorry for not writing

Hey everyone sorry I havent written in a while. I have shockingly actually been quite busy. Lately at work I have been doing baby weighings in smaller villages and visiting hanidcapped children. I have really enjoyed the baby weighings because I have gotten meet a lot of women and there children and we havent had any really underwieght kids so that is a blessing. It has been difficult however visiting the handicapped children because many of them have cerebral paulsy, sorry about the bad spelling, and there is hardly anything you can do for children with that even in America.
Other than that I have also been traveling a lot. I went up to a northern village for a meeting and got to hang out with many of my friends for an entrie weekend. In this village there is a peace corps house for us to stay in with many bedrooms, a kitchen and lots of lounging space. It was very relaxing and very fun. The first night we went to a beer fest and after words played beer pong and slip n slide, just as if we were at a frat it America haha. The next two nights we took it pretty easy.
I also recently got to go to Cotonou for a meeting. My two friends and I stayed in a hotel a we ended up going to a real club and danced all night. I also got like a million packages from my mother while I was there and I barely made it back to my village.
Lets see what else, I think I am going to get a dog, I found dog food and I really think it would be nice to have somone to come home to. I am really starting to like my village though and I am beginning to feel very comfortable there. Oh yesterday I had an ant and mouse invasion in my house, my neighbors had to come over and pour petrol all over my house to get ride of the ants, and they caught the mouse and let him go outside. Apparently when it doesnt rain here and around this time of year the ants are everywhere and get into everything. Did I mention how much I love my mesquito net because if for anything I can at least hide undert there forever. In two weeks I will be done with my first three months at post which means I can travel and do what I want. I will also be heading back to porto novo for two weeks for another training session. Well thats all I know now. KWABO