Monthly Archives: July 2005

A fon ganji a?

Let me tell you how about hand washing my clothes is. Three basins and a bucket. Each item is wshed three times before it is rinsed and hung. Washing two skirts, three skirts, and a week’s worth of underwear takes about 2 hours.

Just so you know.

Other than that, the food is great, training is more or less interesting, and I’m settling into life here in Benin. My host family is super-sweet. I get more comments from the family of my fellow stagaires than my friends. Keep in touch, fools!

J’ai fait un peu.

Dear Internet,

Thanks for continuing to visit in my absence. Each one of you stalkers holds a special place in my heart. Life in Benin contiues to be interesting. I took my first bucket shower the other day. Fun indeed. I’m going to miss hot water. Oh wait, no I won’t, because I have to boil any water I drink. :-p

Benin is an amazing country. I realized just how tropical it really is while driving from the Cotonou to our training site. It could hve been straight out of a national geographic photo. Absolutely beautiful.

My host family is as warm and inviting as anyonecould wish. The food is great, and my French is improving by leaps and bounds. I can’t wait to start learning local languages. It’s going to open up a whole new world to me. Right now, I can speak only with those who speak French, so learning Fon or another language is really going to help once I’m at post and actually training people.

Yeah, the ICT program is still ambiguous, but the volunteers doing it seem to be accomplishing a lot, whether within their primary projects or otherwise. I can’t wait to start designing my own programs and training sessions (formations). I think I’ll be able to accomplish a lot.

My fellow trainees are good and interesting people, so I’m not yet lacking for conversation. I also like the volunteers. Everyone is surprisingly normal. Thank God. Can you imagine me if it had really been a haven for stereotypes? Whew. Small favors and all that.

In general, life is good. Any future volunteers reading this: BOIL YOUR WATER. I’ve only been in country a week, and I already found out the hard way. Don’t be stupid, or at least, give your body some time to aclimate itself before being a moron. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, JUST DO IT. Take my word for it.

Anyway, I’m enjoying getting to know people here. It takes away a lot of the strangeness when locals shout hello and my name walking down the street. My host mom knows everyone, so it happens a lot. I’ve got a lot to learn, but it’s goiong to go quickly. I can’t believe I’ve been here a week already!

I’m serious about boiling your water. Montezuma’s revenge is a fast road to dehydration, which is the last thing you want in this heat.

Safe and sound

Benin is hot and humid. It’s also beautiful, in its own damp, poverty-striken way. It’s only my first full day of orientation, and I’m already exhausted. I haven’t gotten a full night’s sleep in a while, and the schedule is pretty intense.

Staging in Philly was pretty dry, but it was great to meet my fellow volunteers. It seems to be a pretty good group, and I can’t wait to get to know everyone even better. 26 hours of planes and layovers later, we finally arrived in Cotonou, only to get slammed in the face by the humidity as we disembarked.

It’s been a relatively sheltered few days, mostly because we haven’t had time to really see anything.

Don’t know when I’ll have a computer next, but m0re updates and pictures when I can.

In which t instructs.

For the love of God, PLEASE provide XML feeds to your websites. If you are a blogspot or livejournal user, no problem. You’ve got one. You just don’t know it. I can grab it with your username. If you are a regular blogger user, you’ve got one too! What? *gasp* But how?

    To set up your feed using blogger:

  1. Log-in to blogger.
  2. Click Settings > Site Feed
  3. Select Yes where it asks you whether you want to publish a feed, then select Full descriptions (please please please).
  4. Enter paths for feeds (these should be similar to those of your blog). For example, you might want to enter feed.xml for the feed filename, and, if your site were example.com, http://www.example.com for the URL.
  5. Click Save.
  6. Go to your site template, and add in a link to your feed. Using the example above, it would be http://www.example.com/feed.xml.

My packing-fu is UNMATCHED.

Seriously. I am currently weighing in at 59 lbs. Mom tells me that the scale is off by a little bit, but still. With a possible weight limit of 80 lbs, I’m fucking SET.

It is easy to make a weight limit when you are an IDIOT and have no idea whether you’ve got 70 or 80 lbs.

UPDATE: 72 lbs. I am love.

Dammit!!

Everything fits (with space to spare!). Too bad I’m 5 lbs over the limit. I was chatting with Lyle the other day, explaining that weight was far more a worry for me than fitting everything in my bags. I pack like a demon . . . lots of crap in a small space is no problem. It’s getting rid of the stuff that’s difficult. :-p

Gotta cut 10 lbs at least. Go, Carpenter, Go!!!!

Thanks to everyone who came out last night! It was great to see y’all. Pictures of the show’ll get posted eventually. After I finish packing. ;) Haha.