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.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

My Post Visit and The Beach

Hey everyone, hope all is well. Sorry I havent written in a couple of weeks, I havent been able to get to a cyber to do that. I do have lots to talk about though. So two weeks ago I got to visit my post in Djidja. It is a small village about 30 minutes away from the tourist town of Abomey. To get their I had to ride in a taxi for 3 hours and then on a mototaxi for 45 minutes. It was quite interesting. First of all the taxis here look like cars from the 80's and every bump you hit makes the car shake and moan and most of the time you think the car will fall apart right under your feet. And that is not ther worst part because this is all happenin will you are barrelling down the goudron and god knows what speed praying you dont wreck or hit something.
Eventually though I made it to my village safe and sound. I stayed in my village for two nights and three days. I was fed so much food that I though at any minute I would burst. They would give me giant plates of food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I swear I dont know how people eat this much. I stayed at one of the chiefs of the villages house. My bed was in a room that looked like it was a workshop, and the roof was tin so when it rained, which it did every night, I felt like I was going deaf. I had better get used to that though I suspect because my house only has a tin roof also. How lucky I am.
At my villag I went around and met all the important people, such as the mayor, the police chief, and all the chiefs of the village. I was pretty busy the whole time. My town is fairly small with only one main road that goes through it. On that road are few little bars and restaurants. There is a small market in my town every 5 days where I will be able to get most of what I need, and it I cant I can go to a market in Togo, another country, which is 15 km away or I can run in two Abomey or Bohicon the two large towns about 45 minutes from me. All in all I think I am going to like my town. It is going to be a big change but I think I can do it, hopefully.
On an even better note I passed my french exam so that I can swear in and officially become a peacecoprs volunteer. That was a giant weight off my shoulders because if you dont p√Ęss you either have to take the test again or you dont get to swear in for a while.
Also this passed Saturday we all got to go to a really nice beach that was like 3 hours away from us. It was very fun and relaxing. I had a few drinks which was nice and also got to go in the water. The water here in Africa is very dangerous though. Something about the way are area is positioned makes the waves insanely huge and the undertow extremely powerful. So basically you can only go in up to your knees. Which really isnt far because you could be standing in what you think is just the sand close to the ocean, and boom you are suddenly in water up to you waist that is pulling you towards the ocean If you only do that though you are pretty safe becaue the water wont pull you that far. You should watch out however for people around you because if you fall you get swept backwards and an take people out and them bring them back down with you into the ocean. It was actually really fun it you were safe about it and I thought it was hilarious when I actually took some people down with me.
So next week is going to be pretty easy going. We pretty much just have wrap up stuff to do. We also have two days to go shopping for stuff for our houses. Then on Friday we have our swear in, a big dinner/party with the President of Benin, and then we get to stay at a hotel in Cotonou. It is going to be very fun and I am know I am very excited. Also each sector; health, Environment, Business, and Teaching; all got the same fabric for swear in and we all got to take it to a tailor to get what ever we want made to wear. I took a photo from a jcrew catalogue and am getting a very cute dress made.
Well once again I wish every th e best and I will write again soon. Oh and I almost forgot, next Sunday I am moving to my post officially how exciting. Oh and daddy I love you too, sorry I didnt put a pic up of you because i dont have any on my camera, but if I did there we would be several of you on here too. Love you and Mom

Sunday, August 17, 2008


So I have been here for seven weeksk now and i cant believe it. I never thought i would acuatlly make it. And I do really love it. So I found out the other day that there is a type of slavery here in Benin. What happens is families from small viallges send their children two families in big cities to do housework. This is horrible because first of all it is children, second they are not treated well at all, and third is that the little money they make is sent back to their families. What is even more appalling is how common it is here. Many of my friends are living with families who have domestiques, that is what they are called, and not one thinks anything bad about it.
Ok so enough of the tough stuff, I had a really fun weekend here. Yesterday we had a cooking session at the a current volunteers house and we made PIZZA. It was soooooo amazing. We ended up going dancing for a while after that at a bar down the street and that was a nice stress reliever. Today my family made Yam pilet [also known as Yam FuFu] it is a very long process involving yams; really long mallets, and stong arms to thrust the mallets in a large bowl that they poung the yams out it. It ends ups looking like a dough in the end and is super yummy. Lets see what else, I get to see my village next week so I will have a lot more to write about then. I hope you all enjoyed my pictures and feel free to comment on here if you want to know something or want me to write about something. A tout a lhuere

Monday, August 4, 2008

Bohicon and the Voodoun

So this last week I went to Bohicon to visit another volunteer you lives there, I went with one other person, and we had a blast. The first day we went to the marche and we bought tons of avocados, tomatoes, beans, and a couple of other things and we went home and made some amazing guacamole and beans to eat. I was so excited to make my own food, who would have thought I would say that ha. The next day we went to an Africa Zoo. It was probably one of the hardest things I have had to see here in Benin so far. The monkeys were all chained up and the lions were locked in small cages. A lot of the animals were also in poor healthm especially the lions. All of them had sores on there bodies. The biggest lioness there, who was one of the most gorgeous animals I have ever seen, had severe soars all over her ears. It was very heart breaking. I took some vidoe so maybe I can post it on here, I am also hoping to send the footage to some animal rescue organization so that maybe i can help these animals in some way. There are so many places like that in Africa though so I don't know how much I could help. The next day, Friday, was independence day here in Benin. On our way to a party we ended up riding through a bunch of voodoo men, view picture to the right, they were marching down the street. It is actually a dangerous thing to be aroud these voodoun men because they will wipe you with there sticks, which is suppose to mean that they have cursed you. It was quite funny because my friend was on a moto in front of me and my moto driver was screaming at hers to go the other way because he new it wasn't very safe for us to be driving by them. It was cool to get to see them in person though. That night some African artistsm who's work is gorgeous by the way, invited us over for dinner. It was very nice and they played blues the whole time, which I thought was a great change from the Africa music I hear all the time lol. On Saturday we also got to meet some Amazon women and a king so over all it was a very interesting adventure. My mama here was very happy to have me home though, i think she missed me. I think my brother missed me as well because yesterday he turned on MTV for me so that i could here this song i introduced to him by Chris Brown. I though it was very nice of him. Other than that I don't know too much more. The next two weeks arn't going to be that exciting because we just have classes. In two weeks though I get to go visit my post so I an very much looking forward to that. I hope everyone else is going ok, until next time, A Bientot!!!!