August 29, 2007

Last night we had pizza and ice cream. It wasn’t like home, but it was close. I forgot to take my malaria pill, which I’m supposed to take every Tuesday at dinner, but I took it today at lunch. I must find a way to remind myself to take it every week. It’s hard to keep track of days here.

A des marchier stopped by last night, which is a person that gets paid to search for apartments for us. Josue asked him to look for something for me, but then he asked about a 3 bedroom place too. I asked Josue about it after the man left, and found that Josue and Prisca are wanting to move because they’ve noticed that their landlord has been making sacrifices. Apparently killing chickens at 5am. I’m not sure how they know this, but it makes them uncomfortable, so they want to move.

Because this is a predominately voodoo nation, there are some interesting religious practices… sacrifices being one of them. People also worship the dead. Every night the TV stations have what’s called a “Necrology” which basically shows pictures of everyone that has died on today’s date, no matter what year. It says their name, their age, and the number of years that have passed since their death. Interesting practice, but boring to watch.

I went to the US Embassy this morning. I was so excited driving over. I felt like I was going to walk on a little strip of home. Everyone there was very nice, but I didn’t talk to one single American. The guy working at the next window over was American, but the guy working with me was Beninoise. I was kinda bummed because I was hoping to find out details about when the expats get together for softball games, but the Beninoise guy didn’t even know what softball is. The good news, though, is that my visa really is good for 1 year, I just have to leave the country every 3 months. No biggie. I’ll have to apply for a West Africa regional visa this week or next so I can travel to Togo, Niger, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Nigeria easily.

August 28, 2007

Yesterday I found an internet café where I can plug in my OWN computer and get a DSL connection! Halleluiah, praise Jesus. Finally, a way to pay my bills online securely without worrying about what sketchy Nigerian might come use my computer next, stealing my identity. Really, the Nigerians here are a national epidemic. So much so that I heard of their reputation while I was still the in US. I was finally able to log into my blog and my YFC account, where I noticed a few new supporters. It’s hard to explain what it feels like seeing those names each month, and what it feels like each time someone else joins in. It definitely makes me appreciate my surroundings more. One night at camp I was feeling especially sorry for myself, when I remembered that everything that I did have was truly a gift. That someone else’s hard earned cash was paying for my beans and bugs and mildewed bed. Boy, did that ever change my perspective.

This morning there was no water to take a shower, and the bread I would normally eat for breakfast was infested with ants, so much so that I couldn’t just brush them off, they were all throughout the bread. So I drank my tea and munched on some corn sticks that are supposed to be snacks but they tasted enough like cereal. Then I ate a banana, which I tore off a stalk (or branch, rather) of over 30. It was yellow with brown spots, so I was surprised to find it tasted absolutely green. I ate it anyway, though. Throwing away food just isn’t an option here.

I also got a call this morning from a woman named Nancy. She is an expat Mennonite missionary, and I emailed her yesterday to ask when and where the missionaries gather here, and if I could join them. She said Sunday at 4pm. I am so excited! New friends!!

The water came on after that, and I was able to collect enough to take a shower. I think I shower here with about one gallon of water. Two max. I bet I use about 30 gallons in the US…

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  1. Rob Baker says:

    Hey Lauren!Great blog! Good to read your first reactions to life in lil’ ol’ Cotonou. Hope you continue to settle into life here.Take care,Rob & Lois BPS I’ve just added you to my blogroll.

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