Been in Benin
Wow, I definitely needed that vacation. Benin was amazing. I have a whole bunch of pictures I will try and get up at some point along with pics from Pangea. I don't really have the energy to do so right now (the bureau computers limits us to using the web up loader on Picasa so I can only upload 5 pics at a time).
First of all I have to say that since joining the Peace corps I feel like I have been constantly doing things that really prove to me my own Independence. In this case, because Jimmie, Alison, and Rachel went down a week ahead, I was setting out by bus, to visit the far side of a completely foreign country, where they don't speak any language I have more than a rudimentary grasp of. Somehow I had to the guts to do this and meet the others on the beach in Grand Popo. It was quite amazing to really show myself that I really can do anything that I want.
On the language note, no body in Benin speaks Zarma. Or at least, it's not widespread. In the North, they speak Dendi, which is similar, and there are lots of Zarmas in Cotanu and other places as they all travel there on exode in search of money. But basically I had to completely rely on my french. Which is shitty. That said, I was actually quite surprised at how fast it started coming back, and how far I could actually get with it. Very exciting.
To go into complete detail of my vacation would take a while, so I'll just give you guys a brief rundown of some of the things I did:
- Drumming with Rastas on the beach.
- Playing in the waves in the ocean (it was too rough to really swim).
- Had the most delicious sole (and possibly fish in general) I have ever had.
- Visited a voodoo python temple in Ouidha.
- Went to a Jazz bar in Cotanu (they actually have live music there...unlike in Niamey).
- Went to a Bob Marley Day festival in Dassa with Benin volunteers.
- Hiking in Dassa (they actually have real hills and lush forests)
- Went to an entire market in Parakou dedicated to millet beer.
All in all the whole trip was wonderful and much needed. Lots of wonderful new experiences and a new found sense of my Independence. But now I'm getting surprisingly sleepy so I'll sign off and promise to write more in a day or two and get some pictures up.