Hot Drinks at Nap Time


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Africa » Benin » South » Athiémé
December 21st 2007
Published: December 21st 2007
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I awoke from my nap thinking, ‘I might like some coffee.’

My next thought was, ‘Coffee? Are you ill Erika? It’s the middle of the afternoon!’

A third and more coherent thought was, ‘Oh, the breeze picked up. I feel cooler. That’s why I dreamt of coffee.’

I stretched, woke up Bubs who was lying beside me, and kicked us both off the mat. The best nap spot in my home is on the mat in front of the wide-open double doors, with the curtains drawn. I pull the curtains so that visitors can act like they don’t see me sleeping, and I can act like I am not seen. Sometimes the breeze pushes the curtains so far inside that they brush the arm thrown over my face, or the pulled-up knee, and I awake enough only to feel it.

I furled my mat, having unfurled it earlier, and went on the porch to brush my teeth. Brushing my teeth re-energizes me, and also, this certain afternoon, provides the ‘sweet’ I look for after a nap. The breeze did not succeed in cooling the world enough to drink coffee, however. I brushed my teeth and watched the rain start and stop, all in five minutes’ time.

A five-minute rain in November is not normal. Usually the rain ends in October, but the rain appears to be physically and figuratively spitting on us. The rainy season has mostly ended though, contrary to the wet-looking ground in your minds’ eye. The rain doesn’t mean any more growing season. The people of this flood-sensitive region harvested one of the usual two rainy-season crops. Ah, well, this isn’t the first flood. Other regions have corn to sell, and the flood won’t devastate to this degree for another four or five years. Maybe in that time there will be more rice farmers, or flood-control ditches.

My friend Miminon, being the wife of a full-time farmer who lost more than half of his one crop, keeps me up-to-date on corn prices. One kilogram is at 200 francs, about $.50 US. As long as it can stay at that price, she can manage. She also keeps me going to the market, and has begun selling vegetable oil along with the other few things she sells. She made a good decision, she told me, because vegetable oil is in more demand now than before the flood. She explained to me that the Palm-Nut tree does not produce fruit, the palm-nut, after an inundation. The palm-nut is the everyday and cheapest source of sauce that accompanies the corn-flour pate. During the flood she had fish, very small fish, for her sauce. The last meal I shared with her, we had snails. Les escargots. I shared an after-school snack with her daughter Fallone, who just started school this year, when I visited yesterday. Miminon was upset that I hadn’t been to see her during the week so I was told, and not asked, to have at least that snack. I was upset I hadn’t been to see her either, but I didn’t make her eat anything. I did give her some local cheese, called wagasi, from my quick trip north for Thanksgiving. She started baths for her children and I headed out.

Some women in the small village of the home of As.P.E.L. called me over as I biked my way home from the garden. They had two different patterns of material to choose between for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays; an invitation to be part of the family for the village party! Everyone in the village will be wearing one of the two patterns, cut in different styles of course, for the party. I am honored.

Now, if that breeze becomes the cold Harmattan winds from the north, I can truthfully say that it’s starting to feel a lot like Christmas! And maybe I won’t even take a nap, but just drink hot chocolate all day long.


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31st December 2007

COLD Harmattan winds?
The last time I was in Benin and experienced the cold Harmattan winds we were still able to swim in the ocean without shivering or having purple lips! I will send you some pictures of cold!! The most snow we have had in a very long time for December in the state of Kansas!!!Dad.

Tot: 0.04s; Tpl: 0.009s; cc: 7; qc: 21; dbt: 0.023s; 1; m:domysql w:travelblog (10.17.0.13); sld: 1; ; mem: 1mb