Sunday, July 20, 2008

i need privacy!!

okay so my sense of privacy is totally different here. even right now if you get my drift... it is okay to show your breasts here but you should NEVER show your lower back.......yah i dont get it either. people dont walk around like that in public by they do in their houses sometimes like it isnt a problem at all. when my host auntie talks to me, i get a little side tracked lol!! also i miss just getting in a bed without having to re fix my mosquito net. there are goats and chickens walking around everywhere. yet they have owners. sometimes they just sit right on your steps and just chill. i just wanted to be random. i also hear the muslim calls every morning at 4:30 am....things here are sooo different but soooo awesome....until next time!!!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

My host family and other things!!

Wow do I have an awesome family. Everyone takes extra care of me. They feed me all day, I sing and play hand games with my host sisters and neighbors which they absolutely LOVE, I dance all day, and pretty much just entertain people with my jokes in french. At least with the little french I know. My family greeted me with open arms and it is surely the best experience I have had thus far. They want me to get fat. I don't mind. The food is great!! I had crabs for lunch the other day. I have fish almost everyday which is one of my favorite foods so things are working out. People here use a lot of hot peppers which isn't bad either. The music is great!! Also, they have black eyed peas!! That's big in southern African American diet along with many other things here such as a similar green sorta like the collard green. They have okra too!! Things are coming together in terms of how African Americans and the people of the Caribbean connect through the slave trade. Even the instruments are the same like in the Caribbean!!

Earlier in my posts I was worried about how I would be viewed by the locals being black. has its good and bad. When I'm with the other volunteers I am not greeted. If I'm greeted, it's second. So in that sense, I don't feel included. Some people even look at me like "Why is she speaking when I was talking to the Yovo (white person, stranger)??"" Also people wonder why I don't know the culture and think I'm Beninese. On the other hand, when I wear the local clothes, I blend in with everyone!....until I ride my bike with my book bag and helmet and then I look like a complete idiot instead of an American. They stare at me like I'm a fish out of the water. It's cool though. I just greet everyone who stares and whomever I pass. I also can talk to them about the similarities that I share with them at home and they love to hear about it!!! In that sense it's nice to be able to show them that all Amerians are not white. My experience is definitely unique and I'm loving every minute of it. I feel at home. I'm so happy to be in the motherland!!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Just a few pics to get an idea of where I am at the moment....

This is Cotonou. The city where the Peace Corps Office is located. See the Zemijans! They are EVERYWHERE. Plus I love the sign with the African flags. Those are just a few by the way. Busy place!! My post won't be this populated though.

Go speedracer go!!!! Pray for me!! Zemijan training. How do you negotiate prices, called them over, get on and off with a dress and what not? Very cool experience.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Bonjour!!! Je suis en Benin!!

So It was great to have so many volunteers greet us off the plane. I felt so included. The first thing I noticed once we loaded all of our luggage and rode the taxi to our hostel was how many Zemejans (get me there fast) motorbikes are around. Just think of New York City and the cars.....replace them with Zemejans. And they drives like nuts. But they are soooo awesome. I rode my first one today. The other day I had my first bucket bath and believe it or not, It wasn't bad at all!! In fact, since it's hot, the cold water actually feels pretty good. Glad I have black soap. It's sooooo cleansing. It's an African soap which for some reason I can't find ANYWHERE. I have five bars so far and in about 3 or 4 months I may need some more. That's what someone told me. I didn't realize how much French I knew! I'm so proud of myself. I've been having nice conversations already with the local people. I can't wait to get better at it. Training is intense but well worth it I'm sure. The other volunteers are soooooo kind. One even gave me a digital camera memory card since I left mine home. People REALLY look out for each other hear and I am ever so thankful for being in Benin and being with such an awesome group!! I love the Beninese people!! They are soooo kind and really try to make an effort to get to know you. At least that's what I'm getting. Then again, I approach everyone. Just wanted to say again that my time in Benin is awesome and I'm even MORE happy that I joined Peace Corps now that I'm here. It's totally me!!!! Yay!!!!!