Tuesday, October 7, 2008

You Know You've Been in Africa for Awhile When...

1. You can remember with perfect clarity and slight nostalgia the last time you used an actual toilet. (Consequently...it was one full month ago tomorrow--September 8th before I left my host family house. And I remember because I unfortunately had considerable gastrointestinal distress that day and spent a lot time there.)

2. You actually make a pro/con list between scorpions, spiders, and cockroaches that comes down on the side of spiders. (I know A. Annie knows what I'm talking about here)

So anyway, I got to go out 'au village' in Dogbo today to see the ongoing agricultural irrigation project that my NGO, GRADID, has been working on. They have been paired with a Belgian NGO (I think that the name was Propos), and I met the man (Peter) who has been living here for the past 4 years who was working for them. The village was really beautiful and definitely what I pictured when I thought of Africa...small mud houses in the middle of the brush. It was really fun to hang out with the people there for the day and see their village and fields. They served us rice with chicken and the most delicious pate rouge I've had in country since coming here when we were done. Okay? I'm going to try to explain...Benin is split into 12 departments and I live in the Couffo Department. Each Department is split into Communes, and Dogbo is the commune where I live...then Communes are split even further into Arrondissements, and then villages. So the village I went to today while part of Dogbo, could not have been more different from the Dogbo where I live--Dogbo proper, if that makes sense. OK...Sorry this was so short? I will write more next time...promise.

PS--scorpion tally is up to 6. Bring on the lavender


Aunt Loretta said...

Hello daring ... it was so good to hear your voice the other day. It was a great idea to call you from Sister's Weekend while we were all together and could just pass you (I mean the phone) around to each of us. I know phone calls make your day, but talking to you made ours. Keep up the Scorpion killings and Aunt Nancy is getting the lavendar off to you, if she hasn't already. I hope Scott has been keeping up with his regime too. Porkchop and Beans shout out a "meow" to him. Love you lots. Be safe and God Bless.

Aunt Loretta

maman et papa said...

Hello Cat!
Your adventures are getting more and more interesting to read and hear about. I was actually wondering if you would meet a Belgian volunteer - so you finally did.

Sorry about the head lamp and the battery leaking. It's not a good idea to use it anymore because the casing could leak as well. Maybe your Uncle Mike could send you a replacement (or 2)!

It was great to talk to you - three days in a row - a record!

Love you and hope your cold gets better quick!

Aunt Loretta said...

Good news .... Maman et Papa are correct-a-mundo! Uncle Mike did get you two (2) replacement head lamps. We're putting our box together this weekend and will mail it off to you Monday morning.

God Bless that Uncle Mike :-)

Anonymous said...

Hey Buddy,
How are you and all of your house guests? 6 scorpions, really gross. I have no comment for that other than ewwwwwwwwwwwww. Thanks sooooooooooo much for calling me the other day. I went to the website you told me and got credit. Unfortunately, I might be able to give you a buzz till Sun. With my schedule and the time difference, its hard to find right time that I think you'll be able to chat. Also writing letters will send out soon. Been REALLY busy with school, but managing ok. Well, you sound well, like Africa, despite the buggies, is living up to your expectations, yay! Take care of yourself buddy. Talk soon!

Kim said...

It was absolutely great hearing from you! Thank you for the lengthy letter that decribes some of your experiences.
I knew you would make it. You are differently goal oriented. But not only are you driven you have the intelligence and social skills to make anything work.
You asked about David, Jill's brother-in-law, he leaves Tuesday for Sudan. There is one hospital there where he will be for 6 months. His time will be up so quickly.
I can not imagine what it must be like to live with the constant sexual harrassment and "white" comments everyday. Please do not let your guard down!
It certainly sounds like the food is different. It took 16 days for you letter to get here. Does it take that long for packages?
I think about you often and wonder how you are! Thanks for sharing your adventure with us! Hugs Kim