Monday, October 22, 2012

No Juicy Stories.

Instead I can tell you...
How to eat an orange in Africa!! 
  1. Roll the orange on a hard surface (as if you were going to juice it)
  2. Using a razor or a sharp knife carefully peel off the colored layer (but NOT the white layer)
  3. Cut off one end of the orange so you can see the yummy part.
  4. Proceed to suck all of the juice out of the orange squeezing until there is no more left.
  5. Toss the rest on the ground for some goat to eat.
That is about as juicy as my life has gotten recently..
I'll try to find you the juicy story i was asked for..  and get it to you next week <3

* * *

Nothing super duper exciting happened this week so I figured I would just do a general update.

Since I arrived here at post things have been moving.. forward.. in true Beninese fashion.

The first two weeks I sat around.. pulling my hair out.. and waiting for... anything.

During this time I spent a lot of time walking around my local market. I made friends with a bread lady in front of the boulangerie.. so now I always get the fresh bread in the morning which is nice! And the guy who sells locks nails and tires knows me now too. I also spent a lot of time sitting with my landlords wife.. I think she will be very helpful for me as I try to get to know the community because she seems to know everyone and she is very nice to me. My landlord doesn't speak any french but his wife does which is completely backwards to the norm.. he talks to me in hand gestures and grunting noises which might be his local language or an attempt to speak english to me. Since he doesn't speak english or french he might as well go for the language I know. The two of them have been very helpful to me since I moved in.. fighting off termites.. fixing door issues.. they even gave me a broom!

Outside of my "community study" I have been visiting the different farmers I will be working with... and going to lots of office meetings/formations. I even had a few meetings specifically scheduled to let me know that there wasn't time to work with me that day.. but I'm really glad there was time to schedule an official meeting to let me know that... (sometimes I have to try really hard to remind myself that I can do this).

I think the hardest thing for me since I moved into my house in Misserete.. harder than being away from anyone else who speaks english or who has any grasp of what my life is like at all.. and even harder than feeling like no one has work for me to do (even though every one seems to think I'm doing a lot of work and then seem to be offended when I look for work elsewhere).. is that people keep asking me for money.
The Reason For My Problems.
--I am not accustomed to this and I have found it very stressful. I had to remind myself this week that I can't hide in my house.. I have to go out and get to know my neighbors. I also realized that the root of me hiding wasn't the constant shouting at the YOVO or the fact that I wasn't feeling well.. I just was mentally exhausted from people asking me for money and not understanding/believing that I don't have any. I really don't enjoy that every friendly person who seems to strike up a conversation with me then wants me to give them money :( and the worst part is they are offended that I don't think that they are entitled to the little money that I have.  I'm already overcharged for everything based on the fact that I'm obviously a foreigner so PLEASE STOP. Even at work I was getting the feeling for awhile that people didn't want to waste their time working with me... since I am not yet allowed to start applying for grants for their projects. Fortunately, I think I pushed past this barrier (at work at least) and people are at least starting to let me tag along and talk to the farmers I will be working with. It isn't at the point I would like yet.. but its getting there.

Today a friend of mine who lives in the village of Vakon brought me to church with her for a little bit.. which was interesting. She is Christian Celeste and church is an all day affair for her. She was walking me to the road.. because I had stopped by her house and when I went to leave she wanted me to stop in and see her church. It was very interesting.. I obviously couldn't understand a word of what was being said it was all in a local language. It was much different than church at home. Everyone was dressed the same.. there was a band with a full percussion section.. and everyone was dancing (the whole time). I'm assuming the sermon was in the singing but I'm not really sure. I was given a piece of cloth to cover my hair with.. and then I was given a chair and it was insisted that I sit in it. Which was very strange – very few people were sitting and I was the only one with a chair. On top of that I was sitting in the corner with all the small children (who were staring at me) and I was the only person not wearing the matching white outfit. Not to mention.. I'm a yovo but maybe they didn't notice that. Benin is predominately Catholic and Muslim.. but in my region.. even with the Mosques being so very loud.. and I would say that the Christian Celeste Church is the most visually prominent. She said that next time there is a big party (such as a baptism?) she will bring me because it is a lot of fun...

This week I have a bunch of meetings and outings planned with work. I found a place for my garden so I hope to get that started as well.. and I am going to do some mud stove work too! Each week feels a little more full and satisfying.

Moving in the right direction.


  1. I had to laugh as I saw a bit of your fathers sarcasm in this post! I'm glad that things are starting to move along (a bit)--Be strong--thinking of you always.

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