a few photos

This is on the road back to Cotonou.
This stetch of the road is an excellent place to buy kasava flour.
These women are sifting maize in preparation for market the next day.
This is right next to my front porch in village, and the lady on the right cooks for me.
Sunrise behind the church in Dassa.

a long day — 4 june

Apparently my room is 29 degrees C and 81% humidity tonight. We have had sporadic water in the hotel…so I’m paying $12 for a room to take bucket showers. However, I am in love with the ceiling fan, though my body should be adjusted by the time I am back in village full time.

Yes, I’m babbling. 8:30 to 18:45 was spent driving to, having, and waiting for 5 meetings; most of which were not short. All were held in one or more languages, only one of which I have basic knowledge. Amazingly, my brain did not explode from the French overload, and was still taking information in.

That said, I’m going to go take a bucket shower in my hotel room, crawl under my mosquito net, and pass out.

satellite connection….

Technology….some days I would love to simply chuck it all out of a very tall building. Then I would not have to lug it around or spend much time and energy making it all happy. Then there are other times, times like this, when it finally all works, and I can say hello. Hopefully it will continue to work sans problems for the remainder of the summer….

gained or lost? — 31 may

Yesterday Steve had a meeting in village and I got to greet a number of people. Today I had hoped to have a meeting, but that is postponed until Sunday. All that to say: this happened the second time that Remi greeted me.

We were standing in what is more or less my backyard (walled in dirt yard—the shower room is off of this space, there is a cooking area, etc.). Remi, a village elder with whom I have become reasonably good friends, regardless of his French being more limited than mine, and my Datcha nonexistent, came through the house to greet me. A moment later he is holding my arms out as if I am a crucifix. He decided that by the time I left last summer, I was larger than I am now; I must have lost some weight in the past year. Another individual then decides to take stock of the situation and puts in his two cents: no, I have gained weight in the past year. Hmm….maybe I really haven’t changed at all, and it is just their minds.

Needless to say, some things do not translate across cultures, and it always makes me laugh that constant tabs (that are then rapidly related back to me) are kept on my figure.

dassa–29 may

There were two unbelievable events today.

1 – Paperwork for the truck (SUV) was in before we arrived, and it actually came through today. That means that morning after arriving lots of equipment was piled into the truck and some of the group headed up to Dassa. This is unprecedented.

2 – I seem to have managed to fry a USB flash drive. It is the new 1GB one I got to back up my work this summer. I put it into the computer at the internet café this morning. When I went to pull a file off of it, it was very hot and nonfunctioning. It is now cool and still nonfunctioning. I thought they were nearly indestructible. Such is life.

This picture is the view of the hills from behind my little hotel.

safe travels….

I’m here! All is good in the travels. As expected, we’re having some difficulties with technology: I’ve been traveling around in-country, trying to figure out how to get the satellite phone to work. A day in the life of Benin. More later…. when the technology works.