My “Welcome to Parakou” kit that was given to me by my awesome post mate, Lisa!
My PC-style couch/bed/futon! Peace Corps Benin gives each PCV a mattress and since I replaced someone who already had a bed, I made my twin matress into a guest bed/couch:)
One side of my bedroom with the closet and bed. Sidenote – I won that super awesome Gilligan’s Island hat – that’s hanging on my bed post – in a dance competition! That’s right. This girl won a dance competition in Africa. Whattttuup.
Other side of my bedroom annnnd another great shot of my prize hat!
The foot and a half of space in between my house and bathroom… Pointless? Absolutely.
My kitchen! Yes, my kitchen is basically outside and yes, I have been completely petrified to go out there at night since I’ve discovered a special visitor.
My bathroom, or as they call them here, my douche:)
2 of the 4 major marches is Parakou. The one on the right is Marche Depot and on the left is Marche Azeke or, as it’s known in town, the Grand Marche.
Some findings at Marche Depot. Take a guess at what those are. Hint hint, they go “MOOOO!”
Typical breakfast: Coffee and rice with sugar and moringa!
Lisa and I as pregnant zombies [or teen moms gone wrong] for Halloween!
My place of work! ABM’s logo, my ‘desk’, my view from my ‘desk’ and some moringa!
While sitting at a bouvette one night Lisa and I spotted some members of the royal Bariba Entourage! The Bariba people are an indigenous tribe in the area and are one of two traditional reigning royal families in Parakou. They dress their horses in fancy shmancy outfits and ride around town doing something that I have not been made aware of just yet… :) They were more than happy to let us hop on for some pictures (if you can’t tell I’m on the second horse from the left), but we were too scared (read: they were too drunk) to actually ride around them.
This past week we had our first In-Service Training (IST). We each did a study on our communities and presented our findings to the group. Since I live in one of the biggest cities in the country most of my answers were pretty boring so I figured I’d make my PPT interesting and take some fun pics! So, this is my “driving” a bus from one of the 3 major bus lines and another of me “driving” what people call a “tro tro” aka a van.
IST presentation pictures with the local Gendarmes on the left. The one on the right is of me getting taken into one of the 3 major hospitals in Parakou.
Every Saturday I co-teach an English Club (for 1st year students) and a Business Club (for 2nd and 3rd year students) at Parakou University. These two pictures are of Lisa at one of our first meetings!
Weave weekend! Lisa and I after we got our weaves! It took us each 4 hours to get it done and it was SO painful! I left mine in for about a week and a half. Fun to have in, not fun to take out, but I would totally do it again (in Benin).
Tchuk (pronounced chook) is a locally brewed millet beer that you drink out of a dried gourd. Each village/city who brew this tchuk drank have “tchuk marche” days where they empty out the/a local market and replace each stand with a woman selling tchuk! Parakou is home to 2 tchuk marches, one of which is the largest in the country! The pics are of a friend of mine and I out on tchuk marche day with a group of fellow tchuk drankers (must read that with southern accent). Side note: it tastes like sour apple juice.
I’m not sure if you can see them in this picture, but these are [as I was told] mango spiders and they are GIGANTIC! Really though, one of the big ones is the size of my hand.
Lisa and I helped out a group of Parakou University students with a World AIDS Day GIVE 1 project on November 29th – December 1st. We passed out condoms in the community and collected money to throw a Christmas party for local children who have been orphaned by the disease. I learned a lot about my community during the 3 days and it ended up being a lot of fun. Of course, the bottom two pictures are 2 of at least 20 that were taken at the end of day 3 when someone in the group discovered how to use the camera on my phone.
Coming soon to a radio [not anywhere] near YOU! DJ Paco and La Hizzle will be taking over the Parakou airwaves on Urban FM. Our radio show will highlight all things american pop culture as well as host contests and guest speakers! Stay tuned.
And to end this obnoxiously long post, I give you Pantene Pro-Vs latest line of “Anti Hair Fall Shampoo” – get yours today.
Happy Holidays! xoxo.