I began this blog as a recent graduate of Benedictine College, and traveled to Benin, Africa with the Peace Corps. I was there for 27 months, and enjoyed sharing everything I did there with friends and family at home. Whatever I say within these blogs speaks for my life in Benin, and does not have any connection whatsoever with the views of the United States Peace Corps itself.
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In AlladaA cathedral was built in honor of a rich lady. This is a photo of the mosaic behind the alter. It was beautiful.
Camp GLOWI took Adeline, to my left, and Elize, to my right, to Porto Novo for Camp GLOW.
On the Bird LakeThis 'lake', more like a large pond, was so full of birds I was surprised I had never been there before. I rode around with a fisherman in his boat while he checked his nets. When he saw how interested I was in the birds, he started making more detours away from his nets to get me closer to the birds.
Black CrakeThis bird was caught in a trap. I thought we would let it go, that the trap was meant for fish, but no, the bird is edible. The fisherman broke the bird's legs and dropped him in the bottom of the boat with the few fish he had caught.
A Fish NetThe stick in the middle shows where the net is. There are many such sticks in this lake.
GogotinkponmeThat is the name of the village your are seeing in the photo. It means "Where the men like to caress our behinds." I joked that if I had known that, I wouldn't have come.
OlivierThis is the manager of the local 'ice-cream' shop, the man guiding the boat. It's not really ice cream but close enough. He is a good friend of course, and he is from Gogotinkponme. I gave him a hard time for that, without a doubt.
We are a FamilyI bought matching material for my host family parents for the going away party. I am not actually going away for a while, but everyone else was.
Pigs on a CarThis is how to haul pigs. Usually I see a couple animals in bush taxis, but this was a lot.
The MonumentThe independence day in celebrated beginning at this monument, but as far as I know, no one actually died in the revolution for independence. I don't know how that came about.
Three GuysCarlos, Camil, and Patrice. Camil drives the tractor, and Carlos and Patrice work in the garden. They are great.
The Ideal TreeOne of them, anyway. This tree is part of the sacred forest As.P.E.L. was trying to expand. Hopefully the ones we planted will someday attain forest-tree size.
Tree Day DelegationThis is the group that toured the sacred forests on Tree Day. The mayor, some volunteers, some gendarmes (local military) and the religious leaders. In this photo we are 'tasting' the forest- drinking sodabi mixed in with roots of trees.
Happy PresidentGhislain, the president of As.P.E.L., was a happy man on Tree Day- lots of trees planted and lots of people telling him good job. Good job, Ghi.
Close, or Coninuation, of ServiceAll volunteers at the end of their two-year service participate in a conference to mark the close of Peace Corps, or the continuation of Peace Corps. The environmental volunteers had matching material, and here three of us pose.