As I sit looking out the window of our room at the health clinic in Hlagba OuassaI am very thankful… even though I did just receive a warning about how we should be leaving the village for the weekend due to a Voodoo ceremony that will be taking place this weekend and how they think the Yovo’s (white people) want to know all. Alas don’t fear we have been reassured as long as we stay in the house from Sunday night to Tuesday morning all will be fine and we will still have our “Yovo” lives for a long time! So don’t worry mom I’ll be fine and call you after it is all done!
In case you have no idea why my post is talking about Voodoo doctors, staying inside for safety, and living at a health clinic there is one simple answer and that is I’m Crazy!…. Crazy in love and I followed the girl of my dreams to a remote village in Benin, West Africa. I’m not talking forever or even a longtime but I am in 2 ½ weeks and have about 2 weeks to go and everyday I think how amazing this place is and so happy that I have gotten the chance to see it and thankful for Sarah for making me promise her I would come to visit if she ever was to go and stay for a long period of time and for the record I kept my word…
To be honest there is nowhere I would rather be but by the side of the woman that I love ad see my life with and so that answers the question “why Benin?”
A short and amazing stop at the Reading Music Festival ( which was amazing and I will be soon recommending bands that I saw) and I am now in a country where they only speak French or Fon ( the tribal language) and there is no running water for showers and everyday I see a different insect and get to ask if it is poisonous… the answer is always no how ever some I doubt and the food is all good but mostly fried.
The people are amazingly kind and friendly and are very happy to meet me. Some call from their cell phones every morning just to greet Sarah and I and make sure we slept well. Others are so happy when I say good morning in Fon they try to teach me a new phrase or word a day so I am picking up some Fon and some French as the days go on. There is only one place that the kindness of people is greater overall to strange travelers and that is Dublin, Ireland but that is not the point… the point is that I feel like I’m at the home of a relative that is happy to see me and we have not seen each other in awhile.
The first couple of days we spent in Cotonu and let me be the first to say that it is a relief to get out of the city as soon as possible. The airport is a mess and when trying to get your bags a complete cramped mess. The food is ok but the roads, cars, motos, and traffic are enough to drive you to an early grave via heart attack. However we did get the chance to see Ganvie (the Venice of Benin a.k.a homes built on stilts) and even might one day consider a nice vacation home in Ganvie as it would cost about $2,000 for a brand new house and about $5,000 for the land also as if foreigners buying a house in Ganvie is bad enough to the locals our guide told us we would be the first and only white people in Ganvie… so there goes trying to get away with anything… ha ha ha it is amazing to see how people live and work and that most of there day is spent on the basic needs of people food, shelter, ect… its good to see that also because of no electricity people are spending time together as a family and not so distant from one another i.e. not on the computer, watching TV, or wasting time. Don’t get me wrong I love my computer and the TV and use my far share however I think as a whole America has turned away from family time and spending time with real people and that makes me a bit sad… One of my best memories as a child is every night as a family we would sit down at the kitchen and eat dinner as a family, talk about our day, and what is going n in our lives… I can’t tell you the last time I saw this happened and am glad to see it has not been lost in the people of Benin.
Once out of Cotonu it was on our way to the village health center where Sarah lives and I would be spending the majority of my stay. Let me first start by saying there is only one road to the health center and to say that it had some pot holes would be the biggest understatement of the year!!!!! Lets say that if I were to stand in some of them my shin would be about street level hence a 1 ½ hour drive takes 3 and more then likely you will see around 5 broken down cars/trucks/semi’s and at least one tipped over truck. This is the place where Fox racing should test suspension for bikes and team Subaru does not even have to build a test track for rally car they can just drive from Cotonu to Hlagba Ouassa and see how the car handles. It somehow always makes me laugh to think if I could get Sarah’s brother to come here build a tube dune buggy with big tires and the best suspension how I would drive this road with Unskinny bop by Poison blaring from my radio and really enjoy the drive and running into the city but however this is not the case… I’ll write more soon but for now I have to find Sarah as it is time to bake Cupcakes for the staff…
Coming soon… Lions, Children obsessed with saying “photo,photo,photo,” and a trip up north to see where all the hard work will start from!!!