Benin Vogue: June Edition

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Biia v.s The Wild: End of June update

Well the lizard I fought in Battle three ended up waiting for me (Inside my bed net) when I returned home so again I shook him out of sheets and net and felt very accomplished I went to bed the next day or 2 days later My sister was helping me strip my bed for laundry day when looking and behold THE SAME LIZARD was hiding in my bed my sister killed or stunned it (idk which one because I was too busy yelping when she threw it on the ground beat it) and threw is outside. So technically I won a full point because it is officially out of my living area but since he put up a good fight I won’t take away his half point.

Biia: 2

Lizard: 1.5

Biia vs the Wild

So I’ve had my 3rd territory battle with a lizard.  This is not at all what I expected to experience in Benin. So far I’ve had one a week since living in Lokossa. Let’s check the score shall we…

Battle 1: I get to the training site and to to get situated in my room and I see a GIANT lizard the size of my WHOLE hand on the ceiling in the corner.  I say hey along as Mr. Salamander stays in his corner we are great… no immediately decides that the room is now his room and starts running around it I promptly get my roommate for back up decide hand it off to her while I record it. Veronica stops by to tell me I’m being scary for no reason and to laugh at us. My roomie, Kaouthar, gets a PC (Peace Corps) staffer, he starts attacking it with a Broom. I starting screaming involuntarily while attempting to climb the dresser I honestly don’t know what the others did because I was busy trying to not die (but I’m pretty sure Veronica yelled and tried to climb the bed lol) PC staffer kills lizard. I win by default.



Battle 2: First week with my host family while I use the bathroom I spot a medium-sized lizard. I quickly finish my business and leave. The lizard disappears within 24 hours. lizard won.

Battle 3: I climb into bed after a long day of worka and find a salamander in my bed.  I yelp  (that’s right folks not yell or scream or cry, I yelp) and start taking things off my bed once I build up the courage. I can’t find the salamander in my bed but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s gone. Tie.

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…

8. Ignore the pleas for help…  at night or really whenever you may here someone yelling Help! Help! Heeellppp! Have no fear it’s just a goat yelling for fun. You can also remind yourself that people who speak French have a hard time saying their Hs so no worries.

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 much does a zemi cost to get from x to you?

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

20. Do I even know how to cook? 

21. Why is it so hot?

Mailing address

So if you ever want to send me love and goodies my mailing address is:

Uri-Biia Si-Asar
S/c Corps de la Paix
01 BP 971 Recette Principale
Cotonou, Benin (Afrique de l’Ouest)

Goodie ideas: a lovely letter written with love, non perishable food, stickers, writing utensils(crayons, coloring pencils, markers yadda yadda), games, fritos for Veronica   (she’s very important), also candy so my host siblings and me can be at our best, nail polish!!!!!!! Drink mixes for my water. Temporary tattoos I can share with the kids lol really anything 5 ply toilet paper… a western toilet… tooth paste lol

A Biia journey doing Biia things in a Biia world