Thursday, November 5, 2015

Bienvenue Charlotte!

After a fantastic birthday weekend, I was looking forward to getting back to the calm and quiet (that's completely relative re: goats, chickens, children) of village life.

There are several ways to travel up to Adourekoman but I have found the mini bus system somewhat comfortable and generally reliable. I confirmed the departure time of noon with the driver and left myself plenty of time to get to the meeting spot. When I arrived, I was overwhelmed by the number of drivers running to grab my belongings, but luckily my driver recognized me (although how hard could that be given there are zero other white people waiting for a mini bus?) As expected, we waited until 2:30 to depart although this was no fault of the drivers. He had agreed to take another client and they were clearly running late. His patience had hit the ceiling and we pulled out of the gare, leaving everyone else in our muddy tracks.

We raced along the road, plowing down anyone who got in our way. Luckily no one was injured, as I'm sure we were exceeding 80 mph. I had staked out shotgun and had free reign over the radio, which was somewhat functional. Periodically the driver stopped for food, which involved slowing down on the side of the road while women ran towards us to sell their products. We shared a mid-ride snack of grilled snails and some sort of skewered mystery meat, both of which I was sure would make me sick. Somehow my stomach prevailed and I eventually made it home unscathed, and in record time.

When I got to Daniel's house, they already had dinner waiting for me. I was greeted by swarms of screaming children, who probably should have been in bed by 9.  I caught up on the events of the past weekend, shared some papaya and bread from the road and got the best birthday present ever.

On October 29, I had helped deliver a baby at the village health center. Although the labor was long and hard, a beautiful baby girl was welcomed into the world. As with all the babies here, I was the first to hold her and carry her to her mom once she was settled in our overnight room. I jokingly said that she should be named Charlotte so that we could be twins.

Since Beninese don't name children until several days after the birth, I found out yesterday that there is officially another little Charlotte running around (well not running yet) Adourekoman. I am so tickled, honored and appreciative of this wonderful community that I get to call home!

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