Category Archive: Uncategorized

Oct
15

Navigating Niger: My Last Days in West Africa

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After finishing up with my job at USAID and saying farewell to my friends in Benin, I boarded a bus that would eventually get me to Niger (around 500 miles north of my former home city of Cotonou.) First, I stopped half way up the stretch of Benin to visit a few Peace Corps friends. …

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Oct
05

Pack it Up, Pack it In, I’m Leaving Benin!

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It is diffucult to know exactly how to express my experience of preparing to say good-bye to the city of Cotonou and all the people that have made it feel like home.  I arrived here in January knowing all of five words in French, and having only one person as a contact to help me …

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Sep
07

Around the World in 16 Days…

Wedding Weekends Fall 2012 004

Ok actually, its more like half-away around the world twice, but same general idea right? As many of you know, I recently took a trip back home  to be a bridesmaid in two weddings (back to back weekends I might add…) both in my hometown in Northern California and in lovely Orange County (that’s south …

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Aug
06

The Final Countdown…

60 days

I know my schedule for when I am actually leaving Africa has been a bit confusing (even to me!)… So for those of you out there who are wondering when in the world I am actually moving back to the United States, this blog is for you! My FINAL date of work at USAID is …

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Jul
31

Ganvie: The ‘Venice of Africa’.. (kinda.)

Ghanvie and late july 021

A city built on the water is familiar to us all in the Western world. Venice, Italy is a watery, romantic wonderland that lures lovers of ancient scenery from around the world. Ganvie, found a few miles outside my home city of Cotonou, is like that. But instead of  gondolas and hot Italians, we have …

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Jul
25

Would You Like a Side of Amoebas with That?

giardia

Warning to my readers: What I am about to talk about is gross. Really gross.  Bodily functions, little critters living inside the human body, poop, etc.  If choose not to read this blog, I won’t be offended. If you do, don’t judge me for what I write. I am only doing it because I want …

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Jul
19

The Key to International Diplomacy? Karaoke! (duh.)

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A Dutch contractor,  a Japanese surgeon, a Russian diplomat, a few Beninese locals , and four Americans walk into a bar…. No, it’s not a bad joke, it’s just your average Saturday night in Cotonou.. Last weekend, my friend Claire , Will, Wesley (also Embassy folks) and I joined with our local Beninese crew to …

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Jun
28

Who’ll Stop the Rain?

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You are all welcome for the Creedence Clearwater Revival reference in the title.. I thought for a long time about which song titles would also work for blog titles about climate change in Africa… it was either that, or Rock Me Like A Hurricane by Scorpions.  Or even better… a Toto reference : But the …

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Jun
05

Justice and ‘The Peace’

Marcus and rebecca

In my past few months  in Benin, I have gotten to know many of the local Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) who are serving in the country. Besides being a nice introduction to quasi-normal social life, I have heard remarkable stories about the courage, patience and endurance it takes to work and live in this country as a …

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May
25

Thanking My Guardian Angels..

happy andrea

“First of all, before I go on, know that I am alive, not missing any appendages or suffering from any broken bones..” These were the first words I said to my mom on the phone when I called her yesterday from the hospital. For those of you who haven’t read previous posts regarding me living …

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