With Lindsay as my guide, we have navigated the village, salue'd (greeted) countless people (it's tradition here to stop and greet everyone in village, especially in the morning and upon your return) and today had my first vaccination day in Zaffe.
As I mentioned earlier, Zaffe is the larger arrondissement hospital about 7 km from Adourékoman. Every Thursday is vaccination day and women come from the surrounding villages with their babies for the 6, 10, 14 week and 9 month vaccines. Since this is the main social event of the week for the women, they dress in their best, break out all their jewelry and cloth their babies in the finest knits and booties. It's absolutely adorable.
This morning there were 15 babies for vaccinations and an addition 5 babies who were born in the last week here to get their newborn vaccinations. Since the newborn vaccinations come in bottles that contain 10 doses, they are often not actually given at birth and instead they wait until the next Thursday. There was a baby born this morning who came out just in time to get his vaccine. Lucky guy!
Post vaccinations (the cuteness takes a quick turn downhill when they pull out the needles), Lindsay and I hopped on a moto to visit an Environment Camp that is taking place this week in the Collines. Camps are a huge part of Peace Corps worldwide and especially here in Benin. Almost every week during the school vacation, PCVs host different types of camps and volunteers from around the country can bring a couple kids to participate.
The camp we visited is being run by the Environmental Action volunteers with a focus on different aspects of the EA curriculum. When we arrived, the kids were recieving materials to do an egg drop from the water tower, so we looked on as each team worked to use specific materials to protect their egg. Ultimately, the purple team won with a drop from 7 m.
One of the main goals of PC Benin is food security. It's a major issue here and I have already heard talk in my village of the famine conditions in the field because of the drought this wet season. In fact, it hasn't rained once in the last week and the corn is starting to burn before its harvested.
A solution to ease the burden of food security in Benin is to do food preservation projects such as canning and drying vegetables to eat in the off season. The volunteers today were teaching kids how to can and store tomatoes using a series of sterilizations and boils. This is something I will probably end up doing in Adourekomen too as they are suffering from this years drought.
After leaving camp, Lindsay and I rode back to Glazoué to pick up a couple items for dinner tonight and some tissu (fabric) so that we can have a matching "family photo" with Daniel. Tonight we are making Indonesian peanut noodles for Daniel and Fortune (and anyone else who stops by). I'm excited to get in the kitchen and learn the secret recipe!
So, in all, I'm thankful for an amazing post, wonderful friends and this beautiful country that I get to call home.