Category: Peace Corps


happy funtime

I AM IN A HOTEL WITH A NETWORK PORT IN MY ROOM!!!! Actually, I have wireless internet at my office, so it’s not as exciting as it sounds. However, the ability to send emails about the GAD Dinner at 3 in the morning will be, I am sure, invaluable. Also, I am liveblogging the conference. Thank you, that is all. Just kidding about the liveblogging thing.сайта


That crazy American is at it again!

I’ve been teaching a web development class for second year IT students. Basically, they get a business base, then it’s lots and lots of programming, including access, visual basic, etc. Lots of theory, very little practice. They took a year-long course in Access, and they couldn’t explain a relational database (although they were familiar with most of the ideas behind it, thank God). My class is all practice and very...


I missed Internaional Women’s Day.

Gooddammit. I mean, I’m not super pressed about it, but it would have been cool to go to some of the celebrations in Cotonou. And there were a lot. Did you know that 74% of Beninese women are illiterate? And the enfant mortality rate is almost 1 in 10 (93 out of 1000, actually)? And that the AIDS rate is at 3.6% and rising? Sometimes it’s easy to forget these...


Home sweet home.

After 11 delightful days of touring around Benin with my parents, I’m finally back to the rat race. Yes, indeed, I didn’t even make it to Monday without checking my email (although I’m glad I didn’t). Pictures and updates coming soon. Maybe.topod


On trying to find my way as western feminist in a non-western world.

This weekend Bertrand and I hosted our first dinner party for some friends of his. Essentially, his friends feed us all of the time. I get the impression that they’ve been feeding Bertrand for years. Since he’s a (somewhat less confirmed than before) bachelor, while he can then men out for drinks, he’s certainly never returned the favor by cooking. Lo and behold, he’s now got a girlfriend who happens...



I was visiting a new work partner at his cybercafe the other day and noticed an interesting phenomenon. It was full of Nigerians (identified thus because they’re anglophones who refuse to learn French) actively involved in scamming Americans and Canadians. The owner was somewhat embarassed, but unable to refuse the scammers, as they’re his best source of income. The cybercafe at my primary work partner is also flooded with these...


Back in action.

After a week of frantic emails, DreamHost has found the problem (they forgot to renew my contract) and put all of my websites back online. Thank goodness. The most startling thing about all of this was how completely accepting my students were of the hassle and delay that going off-line entailed. They had homework to submit. They were freaked out about their grades. But hey, this is Benin, and...


I spent the last week in Parakou, ringing in the New Year with Bertrand and his family. With the exception of a few unnerving comments by Bertrand’s mother (referred to henceforth as “Maman”) about my impending (hah!) conversion to Catholicism so that I can marry her son, the week was comfortable and relaxing. And his father (referred to henceforth as “Papa”) even let me turn the satellite to CNN to...


On being on the other side.

You finish your meeting with the Deputy Director of the university. Not all of your questions have been answered, but you managed to pin him down on most of your concerns. You head up to the teacher’s lounge to gather your thoughts and review your notes before your first lecture. If only you’d known how much effort your university professors put into preparing each lecture; you might have been a...