Sunday, December 30, 2007

Mom and Dad Visit

A good trip overall. The most interesting comment made was when Dad said he could tell the difference between volunteers who had been here for 15 months and those who had been here for 3 because all the new people were either stressed or faking happiness.

Bread Purchase

Me: Gimme five loaves.
Girl: 100 francs each.
Me: How about 75 each?
Girl: No.
Me: How about 90 francs?
Girl: No, seriously, if I lower the price my mom will beat me.


Over the past month the price of everything has gone up 25-40%, which was surprising in that prices hadn’t changed at all for anything since I’d gotten here. The one exception is gasoline, whose cost is almost always the same since most of it is taken from Nigeria and smuggled into Benin. For some reason the price of crude oil has no bearing whatsoever on gas here - when oil was trading at $98/bbl the price of gas here actually went down about 10 cents. The only time the price changes is when the government cracks down on smugglers (at which point gas can double in price).

Monday, December 24, 2007

Bird Flu!

Two birds have tested positive for avian influenza in Benin (both in the south), though when I read the report it seemed they didn't know if it was H5N1 or not. This doesn't really change much, since the doctors' advice was to stop handling live birds (not a problem) and to bleach our eggs (which I already did, as the shells usually have a light coating of feces).

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Good News

All along the main road in Natitingou construction crews are digging a meter-deep pit to install a new fiber optic cable. It may or may not get turned on while I'm here. In any event, it's good news for Benin.