Tuesday, July 5, 2011


I never went to overnight camp when I was a kid, but for Americans, I know ‘camp’ isn’t an educational thing. It’s about fun, swimming, games, new friends: a great vacation for the kids and their parents! Here, camp is a little bit different. Peace Corps Volunteers do ‘camps’ during the vacance (summer vacation). We do sessions on sexual health, nutrition, malaria, goal making, study skills, etc etc etc. We also do a lot of fun and games .

The last weekend of June was Camp Espoir Ouesse 2011. (Espoir=hope, Ouesse=name of town). It was our boy’s camp and was a HUGE success!! I had sooo much fun and I know my boys did too. I’m really proud of them. Each volunteer brought five 1st or 2nd year students. There were 5 from Challa-Ogoi (me), Kemon (Michael), Aclampa (Brad), Tcharou (Obden), and 5 from Ouesse CEG1 and 5 from CEG2 (Stephanie and Alec). I brought Mohammad and Fidel, first year students and Razack, Evariste and Esai, 2nd year students.

It was from Friday afternoon to Monday morning. I think the weekend was perfect. I BARELY see kids during the vacation, they’re all working. I’m not sure parents in my village would allow their son to miss a week of work, but one Saturday is probably acceptable. We did sessions on Sexual Health, Gender Roles, Domestic violence, civic awareness, drug and alcohol abuse (me) and Moringa. Saturday night we watched Indiana Jones (in French) and Sunday we watched Ghostbusters, they loved both! They all got t-shirts too, we did skits, and tons of sports and games. There were 2 hours allotted for soccer on Saturday and 2 hours for Sunday  Oh and lots of songs! I took a video of the boys marching and singing to the mayor’s office, it was SO exciting! They all had a lot of fun and the volunteers did too P

I posted a couple pictures, I’m trying to get them on facebook, but I took a TON of pictures!

This past weekend was the Jr. Tutrice Girl’s Camp, it was more of a leadership workshop. The girls got to know eachother and we talked about our goals for Camp GLOW in August. It’s a huge week long girl’s camp in Parakou. I didn’t do any sessions, but I led songs and games. HCN’s did sessions on leadership, education, etc. Me and Lauren stayed at the workstation and two volunteers stayed at the hotel with the girls. It wasn’t really intended to be like a camp, but it was still fun. The girls are all really excited for Camp GLOW! I know they’ll all do a great job, especially Moujidatou from Chally Ogoi P I posted a picture of her in her t-shirt too.

Happy 4th of July!

My first 4th of July in Benin was awesome! I definitely was missing the Lawrence Family bbq, but I had fun with my Volunteer friends. I spent the first part of the afternoon at the pool with Bevin (the pool is the best way to spend $4 in Benin). Then we went and got market pedicures, 20-40cents! They’re probably not that safe, but I’m able to rationalize everything I do by remembering that I’m frequently hurdling towards certain death while traveling in a battered bush taxi, sitting front and center (not on a seat). Some weird foot fungus won’t kill me haha.

Anyway, after pedicures, Bevin headed back to the workstation and I went to visit my ‘jewelry lady.’ She had her son Hughes with her, he’s 3. She and the ladies hanging out told me that I should marry Hughes and I said I’d marry him, but I needed a ring. Maman gave him a ring and he gave it to me, it’s so cute, it says LOVE  So I kissed him on the head and the ladies went CRAZY! They were dying laughing, it was hilarious. So Hughes is my husband. Now when Beninese men harass me about my marriage status, I can honestly tell them I have a husband named Hughes who lives in Parakou 

After getting married I headed back to the house and we all started preparing dinner. It was a FEAST! Not exactly comparable to a 4th of July Feast in America (at least in my family), but it was still excellent. We made real cheeseburgers, Kraft macaroni and cheese (thank you Sara’s parents), coleslaw, French fries, green beans, guacamole with mini toasts (there aren't chips here), and lemon bars for dessert  .

Of course, in true Parakou fashion, we went dancing at Laser Bar afterward. There was a bigger group than usual and we were quite the entertainment for a few Beninese. Me, Alison and Lauren (as always), plus Bevin, Erin and Tom! I told the guys who work at Laser Bar that it was the celebration of America, the party for Americans, the anniversary of our independence and they let me be dj using my ipod! Hahahah it was pretty hilarious, but so much fun.

I actually was telling everyone, all day, about 4th of July. Everyone was really excited for me and America (and many asked if they could come to our party haha). 

Hope everyone had a fun and delicious food filled 4th of July!

PS: The picture is me (right) and Lauren digging into our July 4th dinner :) I got really tan at the pool haha.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Kittens!!!! DOB: June 9th, 2011

Moose had FOUR babies! (Don't judge me!!, vets don't spay cats here).

I'm not sure how many kittens cats usually have, but everyone at home is REALLY REALLY shocked when they see/find out she has four. They keep telling me that it's soo many, that cats usually have one or two. Maybe it's because Moose eats better than I do?

They are so adorable, I'm trying not to get attached, but they're a great source of entertainment! My maman who lives behind me wants one and my grandmaman who lives next door wants one....it's great, but I'm afraid they'll just end up living at my house (since I feed my pets).

I wish I could bring them all home with me!!!!!!