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...


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...


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.”...


Facts, lies, and conjecture: Benin Telecoms’ latest blow up

What we know (facts): Our Internet connection has been out since last Friday. So have those of all other WiMax clients. Non-WiMax clients of Benin Telecoms have been having problems since Friday for certain types of downloads and have experienced unusual bandwidth shaping. Connections from other ISPs sometimes work, and sometimes don’t. There is probably a pattern, but we don’t yet know it. .bj domains are up and down and...


On being broke, being poor, and being glad that I have the luxury of saving

I hate the end of the year in Benin. Everybody turns into a liar. “I’ll pay you tomorrow.” “I’ll call you this evening.” “Stop by at the end of the week.” “Let’s make an appointment for 4:00.” Nobody calls, and we constantly show up to empty offices. It’s more socially acceptable (and easier) to lie than it is to simply admit that they don’t have the money. Manipulating and manging...


On Freedom of the Press in Benin, and the New Lack Thereof

Freedom of the press and the right to say what I want, when I want, is something I take for granted. Despite the many problems that plague American media, our right to free speech is well protected. The press, while beholden to its corporate interests, does not fear jail or sanctions for telling the truth, nor for expressing a negative opinion about the current administration. On November 3, CAPP FM,...


On Internet in Benin and the lack thereof

Last Thursday, we woke up to no Internet. At 8:00, we called Benin Telecoms to signal the problem. “We’ll send a team right away,” they said. “Are you sure you need to send a team out here? We just can’t log in, so the problem’s probably on your end.” “What could you possibly know about our servers? We’ll send a team over right away,” they responded. At 10:30, still no...


Why is so hard to understand why Universal fucking Health Care is a GOOD THING?

I had lunch with an expat this morning, and said I that sometimes I have a hard time talking about development in Benin, as even we haven’t gotten it right yet. She looked at me with raised eyebrows and said, “We??!? *I* come from a country that has universal health care and free education up through university.” She’s Danish. For everyone who’s not actively involved in the battle for a...