This weeks post was all planned out and then I lost pictures in an Ipod mishap :(
I was able to “replace” most of them -- It's not QUITE the same but I will live
I did lose the picture of pineapples – so I will add a new photo later this week!
This is 500cfa. It also comes as a coin (but the bills are crisp and newly minted).
500cfa generally equates to one US Dollar.
I make about a handful of those a day –
There are lots of things that you can buy for 500cfa:
Four Baguettes, One Ride Between Porto and Cotonou, Get a Boumba Sewn (Fabric Not Included), Knockoff Sunglasses, Bubbly Water (aka kitten entertainment), 500cfa Phone Credit = 50 Text Messages, 1 Kilo Flour (or Sugar), Fancy Owl Sandals, One Large Beverage (Beninois or Coca),*MIA* 5 Pineapples.
The group that came the year before me (24) has officially closed service. The last non-extender has left the country. 24 had a crazy number of extenders (12 I believe!) so they haven't completely left us to our own devices but it still feels much different now with most of them gone.
I learned a lot of things from my friends in 24 – aside from how to not go crazy. They taught us the importance of laughing at the end of the day and not to take ourselves to seriously. The Peace Corps is hard and some days are terrible – some weeks are terrible – but other times it is great. They taught us it is ok.. as we fumble shamelessly through local languages and cultural differences. How to fearlessly trek around West Africa on zem bus or taxi.– They reinforced the idea through their own experiences that everyone's Peace Corps is different – every village is different and every project is different. They were there to tell us through out training (and even through those early months at post) that no matter how miserable (or how great?) we were feeling IT WAS PERFECTLY NORMAL! Every single volunteer from group 24 welcomed us with open arms and taught us everything we needed to know. They were amazing friends and mentors and I can only hope that I can be as helpful to the new group as the old group was to me over the last year.