Monday, October 27, 2008

My new look...

I know you've been dying to see my new hair...or lack! Do you like it? I know I do!! Feels great!! My new hair is so much easier to deal with. Feels a lot cooler (can FINALLY feel a breeze on my neck), I save a huge amount of shampoo (you have no idea how much shampoo AND water was used to wash my locks), less maintenance, all i gotta do is just brush it and get up and go, and last but not least, i still look pretty! LOL! At least I think so. Sorry if I disappointed anyone but sleeping at night and walking around with a WOOL like sweater on your head 24/7 in Africa was no longer my idea of fun....should've cut my hair during training with the other girls. I had chickened out. So glad I'm on the team now.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Still alive and kicking. Havent been sick surprisingly. It is hot here. Not as hot in the north though. Had a snake in my backyard that ate y neighbor's baby chickens. His bite also killed the mother. Dont know what kind of snake it was although I was told that he was long and black. Hope it wasnt the Black Mamba.... Yesterday I rode my bike for that first time in my villlage. It was awesome! The sand the other way made the route difficult so i refused to try. I was bored and needed something to do. Playing solitaire became obsessive so I needed to get out and do something. So I took a bike ride. I totally loved it. Didnt know exactly where I was going but I was going. Just felt like going...Like Forest Gump. Next time I will go further. Managed to run into a school. Not literally, but found one. I did run into a lot of puddles and was very muddy. Wont ride my bike after a rain again. That was smart. So I spoke to the teacher at the school and to the children in my limited Fon. They just loved that. Explained why I am here and what I am doing. Great integration! I was nervous because no one was with me to help me translate but I figured I would be okay...and I was. I knew more French than I thought I did. I did find out that there are a few people in my village who speak French. Mostly they are men and children who have started school. But they are rare. If anything, they know greetings and that's it.

During my free time....which I have a huge amount of, I read, read, read, cook new stuff so people can try it...I made cornbread and they LOVED it. Even gave a cornbread making class. So in a way I was working...Exchanging some American culture. Also I listen to BBC on my shortwave radio religiously, write letters, write in my journal, and talk on my cellphone with other volunteers and family from home when I have the phone credit. Speaking of BBC, can I hear just ONE positive thing on the radio?? I mean just one. Things here in Benin are looking better and better...Yesterday, opened my door and a lizard fell on my arm...I am telling you those lizards love me!!LOL! So now I have been better able to store foods. Only buy what you will eat in two to three days. Smoked fish lasts pretty long if you fry it a little eat day. Up to three days without a fridge. Eggs can last for a couple of weeks. The pavilion is almost completed so I will start giving sensibilizations soon. Looking forward to starting work. Malaria is common here as well as malnutrition.

So here is a unique experience for me. Three or four days ago marks the FIRST day children have started staring, following, stalking me at my house. They watch me do EVERYTHING. Cook, sweep, talk on the phone, eat....I feel like a caged animal in the zoo. Interesting because in the beginning I was always mistaken as Beninese. Word must have got out.... Now I understand and feel sorry for the other volunteers. It's totally weird to be watched all the time. But I will get used to it, or even better will become boring with further integration.

I miss the other volunteers...A lot...Hope they are doing okay. I miss home too. I miss my mom. She's hilarious. I also miss ice. God, I love ice. I love Benin. I see or learn something new EVERYDAY. Like today I learned how to say, I am going to the market in Fon. N nanyi ahime bowa. Exciting! Everything is Gunji Gunji (great). I cant wait till mango season hits again. We got here the last two weeks it was here. Mangoes are sooo good. Got a mango tree in front of my house. Although I have solar electric at night. It hasnt been on the past few days. And I havent died so things are okay. The lamp and candles do just fine. Since my house is small with two rooms, I dont need much light. I am not as afraid of spiders anymore. I have seen probably three hundred plus since I have been here so they have become less scary with acquaintances. I hate those damn crickets though. They are in my ceiling which prevents me from getting to them and KILLING them. So they sing all night. That's when I wish a spider will just EAT them. But each night I am disappointed. Where is a spider when you need one huh? Killed my own chickens and have just bought a male and female so I can raise a couple at my neighbor's house. Cheaper that way. Life in Benin so far is going and going pretty good. Thanks to those who have sent me packages!! Hopefully I will be getting them in my hands this week....I will keep my fingers crossed....