Thursday, December 18, 2008

Beaucoup des Bonnes Choses

So the amount of good things that have occured within the last two weeks has frankly been almost overwhelming. I have been back in Porto Novo since December 7th for 2 weeks of additional and more focused training. December 6th I hopped on down to Cotonou to break up the trip a little and meet up with some friends for the night there. Normally you have to check into a hotel in Cotonou for the night which is annoyingly expensive (there is no place in headquarters for volunteers to stay until they finish the new office where they'll have 12 beds for overnights) but since there were so many volunteers from all over the country the country director gave us permission to flood the med unit for the night since no one sick was staying there. That may not sound too exciting, but it meant i got my first HOT shower in about 5 months almost to the day, as well as running water in general, and AIR CONDITIONING. It was the first time in Benin I got to sleep under a sheet and still feel cold, and it was wonderful. That night I even went out with a group of volunteers and found a nice Chinese food restaurant. Cotonou is really like a little bit of heaven and it is truly amazing to me how much more I appreciate stuff like that here now. The morning of my birthday the country director invited all of the volunteers in Cotonou over to her palace of a home for delicious brunch and it was a great time. Plus I got to talk to see all of my friends that i pretty much haven't seen since September. Talking to people and texts from home was equally amazing, especially the fact that my parents had my HS friends over for brunch and passed the phone around so i got to talk to all of them (though you could have spared me the details of the delicious mimosas and belgian waffles you were in the process of eating...i mean really, talk about tact.:)) You'll have no idea ever how happy that made me!

Lots of bonnes choses, n'est pas? Well as if that wasn't enough, Peace Corps has put us up in the Songhai Center in Porto Novo which translates to me having air conditioning, a shower, and toilet bowl, as well as pretty amazing breakfasts and lunches that actually include MEAT for 14 incredible days (which, sadly, are steadily drawing to a close). I've been rooming with one of my friensd who is actually getting her post moved to Porto Novo since her last one wasn't workign out so its pretty exciting that now she'll be relatively closer for visiting purposes. And it has given me the chance to visit my host family. **UPDATE: for anyone interested (I certainly was) there are currently FOURTEEN rabbits (please see post titled, 'the visit, ou bien, the invasion'). Lends credence to the phrase 'breeding like bunnies.' Anywhoo, fêting the b-day with the host fam didn't work out so much do to scheduling which is so wonderfully beninese that I don't mind but I am heading over there for dinner tonight.

Also, I have sitting in my closet here at SOnghai, 11 large packages from home. How I will ever get them with my incredibly overstuffed suitcase onto a moto and into a bush taxi all the way up to Dogbo is utterly beyond me, but it is still pretty exciting--as are the number of fun letters i jsut got handed to me from home ranging from July up through November. So I will write back but it might take a few weeks for me to catch up. Il faut avoir un peu de patience, s'il vous plait, merci! I promise I will write. So Satruday is our last day in Porto Novo, and I am sticking around for a party Saturday morning at an NGO here with children suffering from AIDS ou bien, SIDA en francais.

After I'm heading back up to Dogbo, but only for a night, and then skipping off to Bohicon for Christmas week. With a bunch of other volunteers I'll be going off to visit different orphanages in the Bohicon area to hang out with the kids and organize Christmas fetes for them, handing out presents, etc. and I am really looking forward to it. There are a bunch of people heading up north for Safari as well. Christmas day the NGO that is organizing the fetes with us is throwing the volunteers a party as well so it should be a lot of fun--here's hoping, at least. So I guess that's all for now because this is like being back in summer training where every minute of my life is scheduled and i have to head off to the next session but when i am back in Dogbo, I'll get more regular with posting again!

If I don't post again before...Joyeux Noël, tout le monde!


Aunt Loretta said...

Cat ~ You sound wonderful and I am so glad you have a fantastic birthday. I was afraid that being so far away on your birthday would trigger a spot of homesickness, but it sounds like you had quite the crowd with you and enjoyed your celebration. I can't believe that you've got 11 packages to transport. I hope that perhaps someone can assist you in getting them back to you post. My valentine package will be mailing shortly. I ordered you something special and it's scheduled to be delivered within the week so once it's here, it completes my package and off it will go. We're in the Christmas crunch countdown here and I do find myself a little sad at the fact that you won't ber here in person, but know that you are in our hearts and we love you. We'll call you on Christmas darling ..... love and miss you and so, so proud of you!
Aunt Loretta

Maman et Papa said...

Good to read about your little adventures. Can't wait to speak with you later and hear some more!
Love and Miss you!

Uncle BigMike said...

Hey Miss world traveler.With you moving all around over there who is taking care of the CAT?I know he or she eats bugs and things but it still needs to go to the litter box.Well I hope you have a great Xmas and I'll talk to you soon.Be safe love uncle big mike

Anonymous said...

Hey buddy,
It sounds like you had a nice birthday. I'm soo glad for that. Also it must be soooooooooooo great to have air conditioning and running water. Makes me feel mighty spoiled. So 11 packages huh? Well, hope mine is in there, but hope its not too heavy. It was really nice to talk to you for your birthday. I'm finally done with school for the semester and now in engrossed in xmas plans etc. I hope you have a nice Christmas, if there's a party, sure you will have lots of fun! Well talk soon and take care of you! Cath