Tuesday, November 16, 2010
NEWS FROM CONTONOU, BENIN
So I'm currently down in Cotonou for my mid-service medical exam. I came down early for a gender and development meeting of which I work on the quarterly newsletter. The meeting happened to be the same day as the new volunteers' swear-in ceremony. So I went to see them get sworn in at the ambassador's house at which point it started to pour down raining. We were stuck outside in the rain, in a country that halts all life when rain starts. Since the main form of transportation is motos, when it rains, things get messed up. So we were stuck there for awhile in the torrential downpour. That night, we traveled to Porto-Novo (the real capital) for the swear-in party where the new volunteers have a chance to relax and let loose with each other after the 9 weeks of training and before heading off to their respective posts. There was a lot of dancing so it was fun. Then since I had 2 days til my med exam, I went to visit another PCV at his post. He has a MANSION. Apparently his host structure thought that he was a real doctor when they got him so they wanted him to be comfortable. It rained more. We made a delicious chili with beans, corn, cilantro, tomato, onion, green peppers. It was one of the best meals that I have had. Then I came back to Cotonou to start my med stuff. I had to poop in a cup 3 times, pee once, have my body poked and prodded, and blood taken. I get the results today so hopefully things went well. Meanwhile, I've been eating expensive and delicious foods and enjoying the nightlife. I found out about this game called Qwirkle which is fun. I also found out that the funding for my project will soon be available to me so yay! I'll be training 20 peer educators in my village to talk about HIV. Then they will go out and give presentations for 3 days on what they have learned. Then there will be a free testing and finally the closing ceremony. Hopefully it goes well. Anytime that you don't speak the same language there are large risks of not understanding. So hopefully by using lots of pictures, I can convey the ideas to them in an easy manner. That's it for now!