Sunday, August 29, 2010
AKON, R&B SINGER, WRITER, RAPPER, ETC. IN BENIN
So I'm sitting in Cotonou, the day after the Akon concert. The concert was pretty cool after quite a few setbacks. First, we went to the stadium around 5:00pm and there were a host of Beninese, Cote d'Ivoirian, and Ghanaian artists. Time kept going on and on and on. Then they did a whole ceremony re-enactment of the country's independence, kinda like they do for Olympic opening ceremonies and that went on for about 45 minutes. Then it was time for Akon to come on, about 11pm and so the stage is getting prepared and of course it starts to rain. The rain halts for a moment in time and then people start jumping over the balcony trying to get to the field to be close to the stage. The police security men with their sticks run around trying to stop people and hit them with their batons. We wait, we wait, we wait. A few people of our group decided to leave and finally around 1am, Akon comes cruising out riding on top of his SUV with police on rollerblades following the car. So Akon is there! It was pretty cool to see him in person, but I thought that him being "from Senegal" would mean that he knew some French...WRONG.
At one point, he told the guards to let everyone come down on the field because we were all very separated from the stage area, but of course he said it in English so nobody knew what he was saying. Finally he said, "See, that's the kind of bullshit I'm talking about" and then he asked for his translator to come onstage. A few songs later, he started yelling at everyone to back up. So there was about a 5 minute pause for everyone to back-up, but again...English. Nobody understood. You could tell he was getting frustrated and kept saying it over and over so finally his translator came back out. He continued again playing all his big songs for 1 minute each and then he came out in a life-size hamster ball and went crowd surfing. At first, I gave him credit for not being afraid to go rolling into a crazy crowd like that, but then he started getting tumbled around in that ball and I started wondering how desperate he was for money. Tickets were only the equivalent of $10. So after that, a few of us went out to go dance a little til 6 in the morning.
Other than that, things have been somewhat busy at post. The mice have been CRAZY in my house. They have started dive bombing into my house from the ceiling. For the past year, we have lived contentedly in our separate halves. Me on the first floor and them in the ceiling. They make a lot of noise, but I put up with it as long as they stay there. So I reach the one year mark here in Benin, and they start entering the first floor. There are about 7 and so I put some tape up in the big spaces they were coming through, but then...they started biting holes in the middle of the plastic bag ceiling pieces and so they just drop in like that. I usually get in bed, then hear them start moving around so I keep my flashlight with me and shine the light on them to let them know that I'm there and that makes them squeal but then they continue to eat everything in my house. So that's fun. One night, they took some bubble wrap back up top and continued to chew on that for 30 minutes or so. All of that has prompted me to get a new kitten so I have 2 coming to my house when I get back. They are really cute, but still lacking names. Mine is a nice little Calico, and the other I will be babysitting.
Project-wise, I'm currently working on getting funding for and HIV/AIDS project in village which I will explain in more detail as long as I get the money for it. But I would train 20 peer educators and then do a testing in village and cool things. But for now, I'm going to do some Cotonou things since I'm never down here!