Peace Corps

In which t sees just about all there is to see.

My trip up North was incredible. Frustrating. Painful. Digestionally challenging. Amazing. Beautiful. Full of culinary delights. Mostly, though, it was inspiring. Coming on the hells of All-Vol (two days of enforced quality time with every single other volunteer in country) and IST (in service training for SED/ ICT-18), it was nice to get back to work, albeit a bit far from my post.

Tanguieta was fantastic. I ate some fantastic pilée (I am a pilée addict). I taught a fantastic formation. I swam under a fantastic waterfall. And I had fantastic company the whole time. Also, I got over my parasites and ate bush meat for the first time. Yum.

Karimama was motherfucking hot. Gogonou was too. And Kandi was, well, it was Kandi. Their hospital was like “WTF are you coming in for a boil for?’ And I was like “WTF it hurts!” And they were like “Jesus Christ that’s big.” And I was like “NO FUCKING KIDDING GIVE ME DRUGS RIGHT NOW I MEAN IT OR ELSE.” And they did. Haha. It’s weird how much I like that town.

Going north is always refreshing for me. I tend to get caught up in the frustrations of working in a Beninese office, dealing with Peace Corps admin, and life in general, without looking for the positive changes I can make to solve these problems. Then I go north, where I’m confronted with genuine poverty (towns were you can only get tomatoes once a week on market day, for example) and genuine hosipitalty (the neighbors send over bouille for breakfast anyway), and it wipes all the confusion away.

Dammit, I’m here to help people.

And it was humbling how paitent they were willing to be with the fact that I didn’t speak their local language (hey, I’m from the south and I speak Fon) and didn’t know their customs. Anyway, that’s the best thing about heading up to the Atacora and the Alibori. It reminds me of all the fantastic wonderful things that are going on all around me, and that I miss out on when I sit around grouchy and annoyed at life.

And yes, it was a typical Peace Corps trip. Great company. Great eats. Work where none was expected. No work where lots was expected. Varying levels of preparation. Etc.

Katie’s still alive, as are Glen, Sara, Bendy, Ben’dali, and Jason, in case anybody’s parents are wondering.

I’ll try to get posts up about All-Vol, the GAD Dinner, and IST up in the next few days.

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