Friday, April 30, 2010


So it's still chaleur, meaning extremely hot, but there have been
occasional bizarre interruptions of 2 minutes of rain and some
hurricane-type winds. Unfortunately, it only makes it hotter the next
day. I went all the way down to Cotonou for a training, and secretly
hoping to escape the heat and heat rash but I ended up being hot still
and staying in a room with no AC. Not there is AC anywhere in this
country, but I thought maybe a Peace Corps function would pay to let
us be luxurious for 4 days. No luck. Instead we worked and talked
about objectives of PC for 4 days which was a waste of time, but at
least I ate amazingly good food. I went out dancing, saw the other
volunteers, and had a good time.

In village, I like to say that it is mango hunting season. You see
kids sitting under the tree with their slingshots, shooting at the
mangoes to knock them off the tree. You see women with long corn
stalks to shake the mangoes, kids climbing trees. It's all a big
hunt. But I end up profiting from it. Occasionally I buy a mango.
There are both grafted and non-grafted but the non-grafted ones are
tiny and very stringy and get stuck in your teeth. Most of the time
though, people give them to me as gifts. I made a nice mango chutney
with a huge sack of mangoes my friend brought over and one of the kids
in the concession brings over a lot of large grafted ones. I made
mango bread with that and it was delicious!!!! I also learned how to
cut a mango pretty effectively.

Some sad news is that Le Tigre has died. He had been sick and
wouldn't eat for 3 days. One day he just stopped walking. My
family came over to me and said "c'est finit". That was sad. I almost
cried but crying in front of people here gets really awkward and the
Beninese don't know how to react and they kept coming to my house to
ask me if he really died when they saw Maman throw him over the
wall....but they were kind and said it was God's plan, even though
they are Muslim. Le Tigre was the cutest cat in the world. He purred
non-stop. You could look at him and he'd purr so maybe in the future
I'll get another, but as for now there is already a new addition.

The day before they brought this tiny, tiny puppy to the house
and it looks about 3 weeks old, wayyyy too young to be away from it's
mom, but it's their new guard dog since the old one got hit by a truck
one morning. They call it Champion and I feed it so it tends to stay
2 inches away from my feet at all times which is cute/annoying. I
just left for a week though so hopefully he is still there and being

In terms of work projects, I went back to the school and did an essay
competition on malaria. How malaria is spread and so on since rainy
season is coming and the mosquitoes get really bad. I told them to
write something creative like a song or something, and so of course
most of them copied something out of their notebooks from a class. At
least they had to write and practice their handwriting. I'm trying to
get mosquito nets to give to the winners. I also talked to a
professor and got the soccer balls back for the girls. Now we can
start playing again! Yay! It's always comforting going to the school
and having all the girls run up to me with excited looks on their
faces asking when we are going to play again.

As for my next projects, I'm going to do another mural because for some reason my
work partner really wants one, even though they don't use my first
one. But I will make them do something with it next week and say they
don't get a new one until they use the first one. Other work, I don't
know. I'll be going to Ghana at the end of the month for the GRE,
going to another training right before that and that is May so time is
still flying by. I painted the door and window of my house. And when
I say that I painted it, I drew an outline and the boys took over and
painted the rest. It's okay, that was a REALLY hot day and I
shouldn't have exerted too much energy anyway. So now my house looks
awesome and you can clearly spot it from the road, the lovely bright
colors!! I'll try to get pictures up at some point.

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