Peace Corps Benin: Tips, Quotes, Revelations, and Questions

Tips

1. Drink water… all the water always… you can never have enough water because you sweat so much that your body is no longer 70% water. It’s more like 40% water

2. Bring snacks… Hella snacks. Snacks have the power to make make everything better, to comfort you when you need something from home and can easily forge new friendships without a lot of effort.

3. Don’t trust your intestines… sometimes you will have extreme intestinal pain and rush to the bathroom and only fart. Other times you will feel gassy and have to fart but it’s not a fart…

4. Don’t worry about the future too much… a lot of the other Peace Corps volunteers seem to be stressing too much. Just go with the flow if you get all the answers, plans, and future details and work right now you would explode literally it would be an extreme sensory overload you will have too much information and spiral out of control.

5. Stay away from the Haters… no really there will always be a group of people who like to complain and be negative. They will make the energy around you icky and make everything a drag. So either distance yourself or shut down their negativity. 

6. Buy all the tissu… You can never have too much tissu and also integration is also goal number one right now and finally when will you ever be able to get custom-made clothes at this price!!!

7. Tin roof living is kinda Scary… you hear everything! All the birds moving and landing on it, the lizards chasing each other, rain pretending that it’s a hurricane… and no one thinks to warn you about this when you are sleeping in your brand new house, on the very first night in a new city (AND COUNTRY) by yourself. My first night was petrifying…. I’m kinda use to it now tho sometimes I wake up and jump out of bed thinking that it’s raining in my house, an animal is trying to burrow through my ceiling or someone broke in…

Quotes:

1. Don’t worry everything will become normal for you… taking your malaria pills everyday… checking your tissu for scorpions 

– said during our first orientation in Benin

2. I love a lot of things but I love myself the most

my response to when I was asked basically if I loved to eat Ice Cream the most in the world why wouldn’t I choose death over never having ice cream again.

3. A happy Veronica is a happy Peace Corps experience

after hearing Veronica’s passionate speech about fritos and why they make her happy and how if she is happy everyone else will be happy

4. I agree not to… create, download, view, store, copy, or transmit sexually explicit or sexually oriented  materials for non-business purposes 

– computer use contact we all had to sign

5. Biia that’s a POC issue so they wouldn’t get that

– said to me by another POC after all the non-POC disagreed with me on the importance of learning how to apply to college and scholarships while in High school

6. Oh! No thank you! 

Me handing back the paper my instructor gave me to work on. They were very confused and so surprised by my response that actually took it back for a sec🤗

7. My diary makes me look crazy. I thought about getting help but I also wanted to join the PC…

– joking about how serious PC takes health

8. You are not here to change the world… you are here to participate… to improve your communities…

– during technical training

9. We have time. You have a watch

– Noel explaining African Time to us.

Revelations: 
1. I’m a bag lady in the USA and I’m still a bag lady in Benin. I didn’t realize that I was carrying on my bag lady ways until I realized that I seemed to have way more stuff than everyone else and during bike training I realized I didn’t have any of my tools for fixing my bike because I took everything out to fit my bags 😣😣

2. It’s funny how much African Time isn’t a joke.  Outside of work there is no “time”. There is no “schedule”. All I know is that later, tonight,  tomorrow,  next week, 18:30, and after class/ eating means not today.  Also it’s always time to greet someone one. It’s never too late for the family to have visitors. Luckily I haven’t had any real issues with this but it still it can be frustrating. 

3. I’m so happy that I have my background and upbringing. And I get more and more amazed by it everyday.

4. I’m in Africa… that’s crazy… it took over a month for it to sink… I’m also here for two years that’s lowkey a long time omg lol

5. My ethnicity is fluid here. Apparently I rotate between Black, African and White. I’m African when I’m dressed cute, say an idiom, common expression or joke really well. I’m white to little kids and also when it comes to American attitude/ideal questions basically any question about life in the  US. I’m black when I do something surprisingly good that they don’t think white people/Americans would be able to do good. Example: dance, eat all my food, get along with everyone easily, point out similarities about my life here and in the USA, get super inquisitive about something

FAQ In My Head: 

1. Why is it so hot?

2. How come when I’m not hot I’m still sweating?

3. Why does everyone think after being at site for 3 days I can suddenly speak Bariba (local language) fluently? I’ve only had one language class…

4. Why isn’t grubhub here?

5. If someone actually broke into my house could I successfully immoblize them?

6. How come I have to be super careful all the time with the way I act otherwise it will be considered an invitation for men to make advances at me?

7. It’s soooo beautiful here. How is it possible that there is so much sky?

8. What do you mean my download expired? What type of games are you playing Netflix?

9. What are you saying? 

10. What language am I speaking right now?

11. Oh God I forgot to say hello to that stranger… should I go back to say hi? What will they tell the rest of the community about me?

12. Why am I the only Black person in my stage (volunteer group)?

13. Why are the others complaining all the time?

14. Why do people keep getting upset when kids call them yovo?

15. Why are these bugs outside at the same time that I’m outside?

16. Why won’t my outlet charge my phone but will turn on my fan?

17. Are most stars a part of binary systems?

18. How does a zemi cost to get from x to you?

19. Why does the Parakou work center library section smell like old people attic?

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