Tuesday, August 26, 2008

More pics and my village!!!

My house is on the right. There isnt a powerline in the sky for miles yet I have electricity and cellphone coverage. SolarPower baby!! Nice to be friendly to the environment. My village is gorgeous! So I am very happy with my boss placing me here.
This is the baby I helped to deliver...well not exactly deliver but I got to pass some stuff to the nurses and help out momma at 5: 54 am so you can say I kinda did something lol. He is about three hours old here. You can see that he isn't very happy with me lol. He was a first born too and the mother took it like a champ!
This is the health center I will be working at as well as a monestary about six km away. They are building this pavillion so I can give health education sessions. They are so kind. I didn't even ask for this.
This is the first outfit I had made. How do I look?? I did the headwrap myself!
This was on the way to my village. I was so nervous to find out where my spot was. As you can see the road is really eroded and I am REALLY in the bush!! But I love it!! Cars cant even get through this.
Chez moi!! Weh che bea dieh (my house is here)! I have a living room and a really large bedroom which will also be my kitchen area. Simple and just fine for me. I have a mango tree about 25 steps away from my front door : ) and I have two latrines....I dont know why but I do. I have my own backyard area with my own douche (shower) area. I also have a chicken coupe. Yes I just might use it.
This is my village about 1km away (6-7blocks) This is the entrance that I will be walking through each day. Isn't it beautiful!? Most of the people in the village live here. I live in a concession across from the health center I will be working at because this place here doesnt have a water source and they have to get their water from a stream. So I wasn't allowed to live directly in this area but I am VERY close. I think I will be starting a well project sometime soon.
This was the big ass spider I found in my room. Glad I saw him before I went to bed huh? Dont worry. I have a mosquito net so he wouldnt have eaten me alive in my sleep.

Some cultural exchange going on. This was one of my first photos in a Benin and I think one of my favorites. Gloria was the first child I played with in Benin. I taught her a hand game I used to play as a child and she learned it in about five minutes flat! Apparently hand games are many little girls' favorite pastime in Africa. She was so adorable.

My village was just what I wished it to be. Welcoming, beautiful, quiet, and a place where I could be of service. It is sooo peaceful there. Plenty of time to think and reflect about a lot of things during my two years. I already am learning Fon, and the village chief can speak English!! How crazy is that!! I was struggling with my french and he just busted out talking in English and we just laughed and laughed. In response to me being worried about French, not too many people speak it in the village anyway so I guess that makes me feel better. Each thing I said in Fon just made their glow up!! Everyone loves me already and cant wait for me to get back. I helped out with a birth at the health center already (these women are hardcore without the painkillers!! They dont make ANY noise of pain), I also met the with the nurses I will be working with, and Chief of police and the doctor of a neighboring town (my village is just too small for all of that). I just cant get over how beautiful my village is an how friendly the people are. I cant wait to swear in and start my work. I am sorry for the late picutes and I hope these will suffice until another time. Please comment, email, and write me sometime.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Day Before Seeing Her Village.....

Okay. So I have met my work partner and am very happy with meeting her so far. I found out that the director of the NGO I will be working for was a Peace Corps facilitator. He was a french language trainer. Crazy cool huh?!! From what I hear they have been waiting on a volunteer for quite sometime and they are really excited to have me!! I will be the first volunteer here and my home is newly built for me so I'm happy about that. And I see my village tomorrow....I just don't know what to expect and I am really nervous about it. I am only staying for four days but this is the time to gt a feel for our work partners and communites. My work partner wants to help me order my furniture from the carpenters and bargain. Im excited about that. Visuals always work with limited french. She told me that I will meet the mayor, village chief, and a bunch of other people waiting for me. Can you say "nervous"???

Again I heard that my village is beuatiful with palm trees all over the place. And I am in anana (pineapple) paradise!!!! Nice!!! She says, I will be living in a village with 500-700 people actually. I thought it was 1500. I'm very excited about it because I wanted a very small close knit community. She said I was lucky about getting what I wanted and my facitator said I was lucky to be working with the director who already knows the mission of Peace Corps. Yay!!!! However....my french SUCKS!! I am getting discouraged but I continue to try every chance I get. I know I will get better like anyone else who learns a language but I feel that I really SUCK!!! However I have been told that I'm doing fine. I plan on getting a tutor. So now I have put my focus on learning Fon because only about three or four people in the village speak French. Great huh? Oh yeah!! I got my first Beninese outfit made and I am very happy about it. I blend right in which is good and bad. I even fooled one or two volunteers who glanced right at me and thought I was Beninese. Nice. I still havent packed so I should probably get started on that. Wish me luck!! I hope I like the place I will be living in for two years.

Thoughts crossing my mind...
How will the ride there be?
What does my village really look like?
What does my house look like?
How will I react?
Hope my village isn't mad that I'm not white
Will they believe that I'm American?
What will they think of my French?
How much will my furniture cost??
How friendly are the people?
What do they expect from me??

I will soon find out.....

Damn I hate these computers. They are slow and because these are French keyboards make contact even slower. Oh well...I should just thank God I have the internet. I saw a HUGE spider in my room last night!!! I mean freaking huge!! Did I ever tell you that I was terrified of cockroaches and spiders?? Well I am. The spider was about half the size of my shoe!! EEEEEKKKK!!! And guess what....I killed it myself!!!!! There was no way in hell I was gonna run and get somebody so he could hide when I got back! Yay!! I'm a big girl now!! First, there was the flying cockroach, the one I stepped on barefoot (eww, by accident), and now a spider on steroids! I'm so proud of myself for bringing that big ass can of Raid here with me!! I didn't even have to go near the monster. I will provide a picture of him soon. A la Prochaine (until next time)!!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Some pics

This was in Ouidah at the Sacred forest. We've been told that trees are the wisest because they have seen so much in their years. If they could talk they'd have a lot to say!! This one is over 300 years old.
This is at the Sacred Temple of the Serpents in Ouidah. I love snakes! If you cant see it, my shirt says "Benin....Right there next to Nigeria" We aren't allowed to go there even though we are soooooo close! It really sucks but rules are rules. News update...I still love BENIN!!! You would too if you ever been in Benin lol!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Hey everyone. Things here are still awesome! I love my placement i'll be getting after traning. Its definitely in the bush. Its a real small community in the south with less than 1500 people. I have solar electricity!!! Way cool!!!! I'll be working in violence againt women, family planning, maternal care and anything else would be too many expectations at least until i get there. I love the volunteers here. i feel we have a great support system. believe it or not, i haven't even been homesick!! the pace here is awesome!! everyone is so chill!! the clothing is absolutly gorgeous!! and training is going pretty well! french is sooooo hard but im forced to use it all day everyday. sometimes i just want to shout out in english what i am thinking to someone but very few people around me speaks english. my host family speaks in goun all day so its even more challenging to learn my french; but i can do it!! pas une probleme (not a problem). man do i miss flaming hot cheetoes right now!!!! So bad i can almost taste them!!! i love benin so much!!! i see a cool thing every single day!!! Just the other day i saw a baby goat being born on the side of the road. Cant get that in Baltimore i tell you that!!! i am soooo happy to be here! Write me!!!!!