Archive for February, 2006
As many of you will remember, Ruth was Rob’s 28th birthday present, so they have shared their birthday since then.
We had a lovely day, opening presents, then Ruth’s party from 11:00-1:00. In the afternoon, we watched ‘Bednobs and Broomsticks’ on DVD (a present from Grandma and Grandpa B) and going for a meal at the ‘Festival des Glaces’ – one of our favourite places. Here’s Rob with his cake (actually taken a week ago after the curry):
and here’s Ruth with hers:
As you can see, Ruth was 7 yesterday, so it doesn’t take too much maths to work out Rob’s age (he says he’s exactly half way through his 3 score years and 10 now, but hopes to live longer than that!!!)
Bye for now!
Rob’s mate, Mike Webb, came for a flying visit last week, arriving at around 11:00pm on Sunday, 12th Feb and leaving around midnight on Saturday 18th.
It was a crazy week by all accounts, but great fun too! Here’s a brief lowdown of the highlights:
Sunday 12th Feb
Mike’s plane arrives one hour early. Rob calls airport at 11:20pm to check that the 11:55 flight is on time. He is told ‘It arrived at 10:55’!!! Quick dash in Land Rover to the airport (fortunately just down the road) to pick up Mike. Here he is in the Land Rover at the airport:
After a quick, spontaneaous visit to the ‘Festival des Glaces’ for an icecream, we arrive home at around 11:45pm. Chat until around 2:30am (must be getting old…at uni it was at least 4:00!!!)
Monday 13th Feb
Mike has a bit of a lie-in, followed by a tour of the school and coffee break from 10:00-10:30 then off to SIL to meet the folk. Head along the ‘Route des Pecheurs’ (west of Cotonou) all the way to Ouidah. Here he is at the monument to the first missionaries to Benin (taken by one of the most recent!!)
From Ouidah, it was only a few minutes to Casa del Papa, a lovely holiday resort by the sea. Had a fab lunch there with Mike. Having left a chilly February in England only a few hours previously, Mike was in his element and would have stayed lounging on the beach for hours! Here he is ‘chilling out’:
From Casa del Papa, it was west and then north to the town of Azove. Unfortunately, the air conditioning on the Disco had broken down a couple of days before, so it was ‘windows down, folks’ for a hot and sticky journey, with all the sights, sounds and smells in full force!! In Azove, we visited a couple of SIL families who work there. Great fun, good company and food too. Stayed the night with our friends the Hams before leaving at the crack of dawn on Tuesday…
Tuesday 14th February
Get up at 5:00am. Have a shower, wake Mike at around 5:10am. Load the Land Rover at around 5:15am. Unfortunately, the latch on the tailgate is playing up and the door will not shut. The guard gives us a hand and we get going by 5:25am. Just leaving Azove (still in dark) when we meet a road block. From his Kenyan experiences, Mike thinks it may not be wise to proceed. In the end, we ask a guy who says it’s just an agricultural check point and we drive straight through.
8:00am Back in Cotonou and teaching first lesson of the day – Year 7/8 French (my class, great bunch of kids), followed by a full day’s teaching. At 3:00pm, Mike goes to football club with the kids (he just loves sport – why was I never like that???)
4:00pm Off to the German Beer Garden over the bridge for a meal by the beach. Mike loves the mango juice and drinks about 3 pints of the stuff (when in Rome, eh??) Here are the kids just outside the beer garden (taken by Mike):
Wednesday, 15th February
Drop the car off at Barouche et Freres down the road, to get the a/c repaired, then off to the men’s prayer breakfast at 8:00am. Teaching from 9:00-2:45 then off to the Sheraton for a couple of hours beside the pool, then back home for tea, chats, film and bed.
Thursday, 16th Feb
Up reasonably early. Quick pastry from the local patisserie then we hop on a 3 wheeler ‘auto rickshaw’ for a tour of the great metropolis of Cotonou. Real fun travelling in one of those (sorry, no photo yet – will try and add one later). Drop Mike at the ‘Hotel du Lac’ and go back to teach in the afternoon.
The car is still not ready at 4:00pm, but the guy says to come back at 5:30, when it is! Off the the hotel to pick up Mike, who by now looks like a lobster as he fell asleep in the sun. OH MICHAEL!!!
Back home for 6:00-ish, when our mate Josh Ham drops in. Order manakeich & chips from the Terranga (just round the corner) then off at 7:20 to the ADC church at the Etoile Rouge for a recording session with the choir there (and some excellent percussionists). Here I am with the choir (looking a tad dishevelled by now, I think!):
From there to the ‘Festival des Glaces’ for more icecream, then home.
…and Mike teaches the kids how to play cricket. Many of them had never played before, so it was a new experience, and all in just about one hour! Crazy. In the afternoon, it’s music time and Mike accompanies for a rehearsal of HMS Pinafore by G & S, then home. Phew! We’re not finished yet. 5:00pm – visit to Eddy the best mechanic in Cotonou (in my humble and completely non-mechanical opinion!) Good chat, then off the the Teranga for the end of half term pizzas with the seniors. Then straight on to meet my mate Gabe, who’s son was at the school last year. He always has good stock of cold beverages and this time was no exception. He and Mike got on really well. Home and bed.
Saturday, 18th February
Mike’s last day in Benin. He leaves THIS EVENING!!! Up at 7:30 to catch a train. Why? Because it’s there!
Here’s Mike arriving at the railway station on a ‘zemidjan’ (the conventional form of transport around here). We catch the train to Allada, just 3 or 4 stops along the way. It takes about 90 mins, but there is only 2nd class now, so we squeeze in and sweat a lot! Chat to 2 great beninese folks on the way, including an old chap called Louie, who tells us he’d like to have 3 wives!!! Taxi back from Allada, to arrive in Cotonou for midday-ish.
In the afternoon, it’s off to the ‘Petit Four’ for a light snack and to pick up my birthday cake. Back home briefly, then back into town for the BIRTHDAY CURRY. There were 20 of us altogether, and the food was excellent (in fact, we still have leftovers in our freezer!) Here are the crowd who came (not too late for the UK side of the birthday curry, which is in a few days’ time…)
Back home for cake, then off to the airport with Mike. His flight leaves around 00:55 hours. Phew! And I have to get up to preach tomorrow morning!!!
That’s all on the Webb visit. Thanks for coming, mate – it was brill to see you again and we crammed so much into 6 days!!!
Friday, 10th Feb is Lois’ birthday, so Rob’s taking her out to a restaurant (can’t tell you the name as it’s a surprise for Lois!) Her age? That’s a secret too, except to say that next year will be a big celebration!!!
Sat 11th Feb Rob is visiting the fairly remote village of Kojahoue this weekend, to do a workshop with the church there, which will entail composing new songs in the Adja language and style.
Sunday 12th Feb Rob’s crazy friend, Mike Webb, is visiting from the UK – should be a scream
Monday 13th Feb Rob doesn’t teach on Mondays this year, so is hoping to show Mike some of the sights, and maybe even visit a village or two.
Thursday 16th Feb Rob is planning to record some songs at one of the ADC churches in Cotonou, and will then duplicate these.
Friday, 17th Feb Last day of school before half term. Senior students go for pizza at the local ‘Terranga’ restaurant. Yum!
Saturday, 18th Feb Another day off with Mike – maybe we’ll catch a train ride up north, then taxi back, or perhaps we’ll visit Dantokpa, the largest market in West Africa.
In the evening, we’re planning to have the annual BIRTHDAY CURRY then Mike flies back that evening. Phew!
Sunday, 19th Feb
Rob’s first preaching engagement of the year, at the ADC church in Godomey. He’s been there before, so will have to come up with a new sermon this time!!! He will also be taking Fon New Testaments and other literature to distribute.
Friday, 24th Feb
Rob is speaking at another ADC conference, this time in Bohican, a good couple of hours’ drive north of here. It’s the men’s conference this time.
Saturday, 25th Feb
…is Rob’s actual birthday – yes 35 already (and only a couple of grey hairs so far!)
…and not forgetting Ruthy who, on the same day, reaches the ripe old age of SEVEN. Happy Birthday Ruth.
One of Micah’s favourite pastimes is swimming. Here he is having fun at the ‘Hotel du Port,’ the pool the school uses.
Rob regularly speaks at local ADC churches in Benin, and a few months ago he was invited to speak at a youth conference on the subject of “The Bible and the Disciple of Christ,” so he did! It was almost certainly the largest number of people he had spoken to ever (perhaps with the exception of school assemblies!) It went well and there were some interesting questions after the talk.
PS If you look at the board closely enough, you’ll notice that his room has been used for German lessons (and I never noticed that on the day)!!!
Since getting a bike for Christmas, there’s been no stopping Madelaine. She likes to go on bike rides around our neighbourhood with Daddy, even though it’s thirsty work in this heat. Look out Tour de France, here she comes!