Monday, November 27, 2006

Petite Chaleur

Hello Friends.
It has been a while since I have posted. First of all I would like to bring attention to Lucian Reynolds who is now an official Peace Corps volunteer too! You can keep up with him and his shenanigans on his blog here:
One reason is that I have done a little of traveling. I went down to Badjoudai and Wache which is right near Togo for a Whipping Festival. Which is a coming of age ritual where boys of about 15-17 years old really do whip eachother with nylon whips. There are also a lot of men dressed in drag. It was interesting, again I have pictures but they will have to wait till I get more time on a computer and lots of internet time. After the Fete which was around Halloween (I have some good pictures of my Halloween costume too) we had our Early Service Check In conference in Parakou for 5 days of Air Conditioning and Per Diem, it was also good to see some of the volunteers that are posted pretty far from the Nati area. Parakou is a pretty big city, very heavy with air pollution. From there I extended my trip to Djougou where I stayed with another volunteer for a couple days and was able to get some money. My word of advice to anyone with the Bank of Africa is to count your money twice. I learned this the hard way and got screwed out of about 20,000CFA = 40 USD. I do like Djougou it is a good sized city where good food is easy to find. I had the best omelet of my life there. After my voyaging I spent a good two weeks at post in Kouande. I met with the director of the high school and a local gardener and both show promise with being good work partners. The ONG i should be working with has no work and money. The radio director has been hard to find but I think a radio show could be in my future. My post title: petite chaleur (The little heat) has started. This is when all things green turn brown. People burn the grass fields. The temperature has also dropped especially in the evening and mornings. There is a constant wind that keeps your lips chapped. The cold-ish weather reminds me of how cold it must be in the States right now. This weekend we celebrated thanksgiving in Nati at the workstation, there was turkey and something like 10 pies. The turkey was cooked in a pit with banana leaves and coals, it came out really well. The only food left are pieces of pie.
In other house related news I had the mason come and redo my shower, it now drains!
I would also like to update on my health, I am still healthy and have not been sick other that the food poisoning event. I drink the tap water and eat the street food. That's more that I can say for some other volunteers, I think the record for weight loss is 45lbs. He is still sick.

Future posts will include 'You Know Your Bien Integré When...' list.
Stories from a BushTaxi - How does one travel in Africa

Ive said it before and I will say it again, when i have time i will try and post pictures. Hope everyone is well and has sent me a playstation 3 by now.

Once again my address is:

Michael Portegies-Zwart
Corps de la Paix
B.P. 971
Cotonou, Benin
Afrique de l'Ouest


Lucian said...


Thanks for the shoutout big boi, I keep telling the Nica kids about the african dutchman but its hard to believe sometimes. You are living the PC dream and I hope that everything stays smooth for you GI-wise (U KNOW). Like everyone else I am waiting eagerly to see more pics, although it would be hard to top the fashion show one. That was my favorite. Well my homey, maybe later we can make a street food challenge from one PC to another. Until then stay easy and watch the mail. ( I couldnt find a PS3 in Nic so I sent you the next best thing. It was a Sega CD thay may or may not be broken. I´ve also included the sewer shark game so let me know if you make it past the first level.)

mama reynolds said...

I was so pleased to get your update. Your Thanksgiving turkey sounded interesting. It's fascinating to follow along and read about the wonderful progress you are making. Again, we are all so proud of you. Please be careful and we love you dearly,
Mama Reynolds
PS. Santa will be delivering you something from the Reynolds

m said...

alex is still chose-la-ing? Damn.

I will send you so many things to read. You'll have to tear yourself away to saluee.