Category: Daily Grind


We got malaria and it was the WORST EVER EVER

How many times have I written and not saved this malaria post because we lost power? NOT THIS TIME. Ctrl+S. A very long story short: Bertrand and I had malaria this week. I lost a lot of weight in a very unhealthy way because I had no appetite and even if I did, I couldn’t hold it down. Ctrl+S. If you’ve never had malaria, imagine the worst fever alternating with...


On life as I know it.

I passed the Foreign Service written exam. Now I have to write some essays. Then maybe I’ll have to fly back to Washington (oh no! not the briar patch!). Then maybe one day I’ll be a FILTHY FILTHY RICH RICH expat with a big SUV and a big house and domestic staff. The alternative, which is staying in West Africa and continuing to grow our business, is pretty attractive too....


Shopping for deep sea fish in Cotonou

Last week, I decided that I absolutely needed a hunk of fresh tuna. Never mind that I had no idea how to go about buying tuna. I had to have it. In Cotonou, salt water fish are bought fresh off the boat at the Port of Cotonou. Chaos reigns as fishermen and fish mongers negotiate prices and quantities. There’s never enough fish for all of the fish mongers to get their...


Oh, the rainy season in Cotonou

We’re getting to the “rains twice a day” part of the season. Soon it will be “rains all day every day”. And then, “doesn’t stop raining for a week straight”. And then finally, the light at the end of the tunnel. A brief one month stretch with scant rains and lots of sunshine. August, you can’t come soon enough!topod


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...


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...


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


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...