Author: Theresa

1

On how to rock eating food you’re afraid of

We’ve had a lot of visitors lately, new to Benin and/or to Africa, who are afraid of food poisoning. I’m going to be really honest here: if you leave Cotonou, have any middle class Beninese friends, eat street food, or do anything but eat at ritzy expat restaurants and prepare your own (vegetarian) food, you’re gonna get food poisoning eventually. Fish goes bad. Chicken sits out. Beef sits in the...

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On working for The Man and other minutia

After a long weeks of not having enough time to breathe, much less sleep, Bertrand and I are more or less settling back into routine. In the intervening weeks, things have changed a bit in the Carpenter-Sondjo household: We have a freezer. We have a cat. I own a pair of sneakers. The rainy season has started. I kind of like working for The Man. So big changes. Especially the...

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On being absent because I have an awesome job

I am in fact, still alive and kicking, all evidence to the contrary. The first week at a new job is always difficult—lots of new people to meet, lots of information to digest, and of course, lots of work to do. Despite the fact that my job is ostensibly part time, I get home exhausted, and instead of working on People Online, Pink Benin, Ushahidi translations (sorry, Linda!), and the...

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PINK goes to Zagnanado for breast cancer screening

PINK BENIN is a big fan of International Women’s Day. Breast cancer is a marginalized illness in Benin, like many places in the world, because it’s something that primarily affects women. So it’s nice to do work on a day where we don’t have to defend ourselves for primarily working with women (What? We don’t treat prostate cancer? Isn’t that sexist? NO IT IS NOT). This year, Ivy, a Peace...

5

Browser statistics and Commentary for Benin (or, IE6 isn’t going anywhere fast, so we might as well stop complaining and get back to work)

People Online still guarantees IE6 compatibility for almost 100% of the sites we develop. We don’t even charge extra for it! And this is why: We’ve spent an awful lot of time in cybercafés in West Africa, and an awful lot of these cybercafés are still running Windows XP (or Windows 2000! Or Windows 98!) and IE6. Anecdotal evidence aside, the default install for Windows XP is IE6, and most...

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I’m in love with the idea that the second coming could be a 17-year-old African woman

Six months ago, rumors began circulating about an orphan who could heal, raise the dead, and perform exorcisms. And what better place for a second coming than a region plagued by sorcery, witches, and the devil himself? Thousands of pilgrims came to weekly masses in a tiny village with no water and no electricity, in the heart of the land where Voodoo was born. The young woman spoke of terrible...

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On peace

Bertrand’s oldest brother passed away over the weekend. I could write a fascinating post detailing funeral rites and Beninese mourning. But somehow, that feels like an invasion of privacy. I’ll be back on SVO, Facebook, Twitter, and the rest in a week or so.seo аудит сайтов

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On Haiti. Full stop.

I haven’t written much lately because every time I sit down at my keyboard, I want to write about Haiti. I want to write about terrible injustice. And I want to write about the appalling difference I see between main stream media depictions and fresher, more local sources. I haven’t written about Haiti because, let’s face it. I’ve never been there. I’m not going anytime soon. I don’t even know...

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SVO is now Creative Commons licensed

Attribution-ShareAlike, to be precise. Copy away, even for commercial purposes. The sole conditions are: 1) you have to credit me (attribute the work) and b) whatever you use my work for also has to be CC licensed. As SVO is coming up on its five year anniversary, I’mcleaning out some closets and setting a few things in order. I thought I’d done this when first setting up the blog, but it...

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On buying intimate apparel in West Africa’s largest open air market

Look, women need bras, okay? It’s normal, and I’m here for the long haul, which means that I can’t depend on care packages and occasional trips home for underclothes anymore (yes, it’s true, I did that for a brief period). For every man who’s like, “WTF is Theresa talking about bras on her blog for?” there’s a woman nodding her head, saying, “OMG I always wondered how they do it.”...