rains: then and now

i knew when i walked out the door to work this morning that it was going to rain. i was surprised the skies held back as long as they did, finally unleashing their wet fury as i started the walk back home from the office. i didn’t mind. i had a ridiculous grin on my face as i walked, glad my umbrella would hide my elation from not-so-considerate drivers, sloshing me in their wake.

i think the rain here is funny. i know it will soon be the start of the shorter rainy season in benin, where the rain seems to shoot up from the ground rather than down (or sideways) from the sky. here, the sidewalks and streets create rivers in a matter of moments. in benin, “potholes” the entire width of the dirt (really, sand) road form green filmed pools of various wastes. i don’t mind walking in the rain run-off here. sure, it’s full of harsh chemicals, but i’ve yet to see a man pee on the wall of my home in my nearly 3 months here, so i’ve got that going for me.

since i was reminiscing a bit, i thought i’d look up my journal from this day a year ago in benin. here’s an excerpt on food.

I’m getting better about eating meat off bones and using my hands. Farhan would be proud. I don’t know if I was eating pork or goat tonight… it was tough enough to be goat. It was good though. Meals basically consist of some form of meat (whole fish, pork, chicken, goat, or “bush meat”) and a cheap simple starch. The starch could be couscous or rice, or more likely pounded yam or maize, which looks gross and gelatinous when first served, but then settles and changes to a consistency similar to powdered mashed potatoes. It’s actually pretty tasty. I had fish for lunch, and I tried tasting one of the egg sacs in the fish. It actually tasted kinda like pate, but I couldn’t eat the whole thing just because of what it was. The only thing not eaten here are bones. When you eat fish, that means the brains, eye balls, and everything. I always give Josue the head to eat. Bleh. They serve a whole lot of starch at every meal so you fill up fast and then get hungry later. I don’t always clean my plate, at which point I think of the expression, “There are starving children in Africa.” I know! But a girl can only eat so much rice! Sometimes we have beans, which are called “azingoqui” in Fon. At the camp, the beans came with a side of bugs. I didn’t mind when I found one bug in my food. It had been boiled. No biggie. I showed it to Augustin and he asked, “what is his name?” and I laughed it off. But after finding 4 more (in the same plate of beans, mind you) I decided I’d had enough azingoqui and friends for the day. Every meal, I pray in my head, “God, may this food make me strong and not sick, please. Amen.” So far, so good.

sometimes i miss life in the developing world. maybe you know what i mean.

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