There is so much to be grateful for this week here in Benin, but as we hit the one month mark, some of us needed a little comedic pick me up, so I've been noting down some of the funny moments of the last week.
1. While applying sunscreen as a lotion before bed one night, I realized that I may permanently smell like SPF 30. I guess there are worse scented things.
2. While cleaning my latrine (it's customary here to sweep your room and latrine twice a day: the sand never goes away!), I realized there was an abundance of dead spiders. Although I'm thankful that they're already goners, it made me think: Where do the dead spiders come from? What scarier, beastly predator lurks in the dark corners of my latrine?
3. I love my host family and my mom happens to be a fantastic cook. When I leave for school each morning they even ask what I want for dinner. The other day I decided to make it easy on them and ask for pâte, but when I was served a bowl bigger than my face, I got a sinking feeling in my stomach. I think every volunteer has to have undergone the overpâting initiation. I'm glad I'm now part of that club.
4. Pima burns. These aren't really funny but totally preventable. Pima is the equivalent of a habanero pepper, maybe even spicier. The Beninese grind it on a grinding stone and add it to EVERYTHING! I offered to grind it the other day and without thinking, brushed it off the grinding stone into a bowl with my bare hands. Almost a day later the burn gradually disappeared and the tingly feeling in palms receded. Lesson learned: don't touch the Pima!
5. As some of you may know, I got my hair braided (tressé) this past Sunday at the local coiffeur. It took a little over 13 hours but I love it and it certainly gives me a little street cred here in Sé. One minor issue: I didn't really think about having to fit a headlamp or helmet on my head before increasing its volume with tons of braids... Oops!
We're all incredibly excited (and anxiously nervous) for site announcement on Friday. We have an official ceremony in Lokossa to find out where we will be spending the next two years, so stayed tuned for the whereabouts of this Benin Variant!