Archive for May, 2006

May
30
Filed Under (General) by Rob on 30-05-2006

Rob is to attend GCoMM at Bethel University, Minneapolis in July this year!

GCoMM is the Global Consultation on Music and Missions – a gathering of 100’s of musicians and ethnomusicologists from around the world. On the Germany course, he was encouraged to attend, but was not sure it would be possible. It then turned out that, as he works in ethnomusicology, his flight costs are significantly subsidized, which is great news. To find out more about GCoMM, have a look at:

The official GCoMM site.

NB It’s not too late to book if you’re interested too! The event will be followed by a two-day ethnomusicology conference for SIL, which will be good too. Watch this space for more info on that one.



May
29
Filed Under (Benin wildlife, General) by Rob on 29-05-2006

Yes, the rain is coming down in Cotonou in bucket-loads! Great fun driving through all the puddles (just be careful not to splash anyone!!!)

The rain also means the temperature cools down a bit, so now it gets down to as cool as 24 degrees C (yes…I know… that’s a heatwave in Britain, but – hey – it’s all relative okay?!?) In March (probably the hottest month) it barely got below 30 degrees C, even at night – and that’s just too sticky for words! Here are the average temperatures for each month of the year, in case you’re interested!

http://www.worldclimate.com/cgi-bin/data.pl?ref=N06E002+1202+0009538G2

And here’s a cool bar chart, which shows average temperatures and rainfall:

http://www.studentsoftheworld.info/pageinfo_pays.php3?Pays=BEN&Opt=climate

From this one, it looks like we’re due for a whole lot more of the wet stuff next month!!!

Caught in the rain without a brolly
(NB for Americans reading this, that means ‘umbrella’!)

Last Thursday, we had the day off, as it was Ascension Day. So, we decided to go for a walk in the forest. Now, there aren’t that many accessible forests nearby, but the Niaouli Research Centre near Allada is about 1 hour 20mins drive north of Cotonou. Here’s some info (in French – sorry if you don’t speak the lingo, but there are nice pictures!)

http://www.ecobenin.africa-web.org/article.php?id_article=39

Great place for a walk and some interesting creatures. Seeing as we like moths now, here’s one we saw there (no prizes for identifying this one, Steve!)

Niaouli moth 1.jpg

So, we set off on our walk into the beautiful forest, stopping to look at a spider and some other bugs on the way.

Looking at bugs.jpg

A bit further on, we sat down in a clearing for our picnic of French bread, Pringles and bananas! Just then, the heavens opened and we were well and truly showered upon! We tried to shelter, but the trees are not that thick, so we still got soaked. In the end, we decided to just run for it (seeing as you can’t get any more wet than totally saturated!)

Eventually, we found the viewpoint and were able to shelter under there (and wring out our clothes – there was nobody about!) Here’s the old viewpoint, taken from the top of the newer one. Great views over the vast canopy of green:

Forest viewpoint.jpg

So, the moral of the story is: take waterproofs with you if you go out for a walk during rainy season! Here are our three near the end of the walk (looking more like drowned rats!)

Drowned rats!.jpg

Other News…

Our colds and coughs have all but cleared up (it was Rob’s first cold in two years, which is good, considering he used to have about 3 a year in the UK).

At school, it’s International Day soon and the classes are busy learning international songs for the presentation. The school Samba Band is sure to be taking part, but we’re also doing songs in Spanish, Italian, German and (hopefully) a few national anthems. Last week, Rob’s class were trying to learn the Indian National Anthem, which begins:
“Jana gana mana adhinayaka jaya he…”

Tricky stuff, but fun trying!

Ethnomusicology

Rob is planning to record another local choir soon and start working with yet another. The cassettes of the Aja choir have now been duplicated and sent to the village, so let’s hope that makes a big difference in their lives.

Summer Party is now on 12th August at our house in Ampthill, so we hope you can come.

Thanks for visiting!

Please leave a comment if you have time.

Rob et al



May
24
Filed Under (General) by Rob on 24-05-2006

A few weeks ago, Rob met politician, yorkshireman and jazz clarinettist, Michael Meadowcroft, who was as keen as him to get together for a bit of a jam session. So they did, and on Monday night they stormed the Marina Hotel (ex Sheraton) and played a few numbers. It went well and was great fun! Here they are:

Jazz 1.jpg

Jazz 2.jpg

We plan to play again this evening – making the most of the time, as Michael is only in the country for a few more days. Here are more photos of the man himself:

http://www.bramley.demon.co.uk/jazzphotos.html

Other News…

Rob is scheduled to record another choir at an ADC church in Cotonou this evening. He’s been working with them on and off for the past few months and they are now ready to record.

Power cuts are occuring three out of four days at the moment, for up to seven hours at a time. They are scheduled ones phased across the city (so at least we know when to get the gas lamp out ready!)

Mads has another cold, but her breathing is not as bad as last time. Rob has a sore throat, so it trying (in vain!!!) to talk less.

The Landrover got a huge nail in one tyre on Monday, but we got it repaired the same day and now it’s our spare! Driving on sandy roads has its pitfalls! The car also passed it’s visite technique (equivalent to MOT) which is good news.

We’re looking forward to our forthcoming visit to the UK and hope to see you then!

Bye for now.



May
16
Filed Under (General) by Rob on 16-05-2006

Wycliffe t-shirt front.jpg

Wycliffe t-shirt back.jpg

Yes, Steve Le Page from Bedford will soon be the proud owner of a Wycliffe Benin t-shirt. Here’s his message:

Hi Rob,

am enjoying looking at your blog regularly – intrigued by your photo
competition – didn’t have a clue with the first image – with the larger
one am wondering …… is it a moth?!

God bless.
Steve

Congratulations, Steve! Yes, it is a moth. Here’s the full-sized photo (as always, click on the image to see a large version):

The moth.jpg

Quite an amazing creature – looks more like some villain from a sci-fi movie! As yet, I have been unable to identify the species of lepidoptera but we do know an entimologist, who has a daughter at the school, so I’ll try and ask him soon! Other answers included: a bat, a goat (?!?) and some kind of bug.

Finally, here’s Micah with Real Madrid:

Micah & Real Madrid!.jpg

Yes, large posters like this are on sale by the roadside in cotonou for about £2- each, so Micah has this one on his bedroom wall, which he likes!

Thanks for visiting our site – we’ll try and do another competition soon!

bye for now,

Rob & Lois



May
08
Filed Under (General) by Rob on 08-05-2006

Hi there,

Madelaine went back to the doctor today, and she’s doing much better and should be able to go back to school tomorrow.

Talking of school, here’s Lois’ class, taken today:

Year 1.jpg

In this small group we have India, Germany, Nigeria, Mali, Switzerland, France, Benin and Holland represented!

Competition…

Due to the underwhelming response so far to the photo competition, here’s a second, larger photo. The Wycliffe T-shirt is still to be won!

What is it 2.jpg

Other news…

Lots of power and water cuts at the moment – not sure why.
It’s the school Summer Fayre this weekend, which will include the Samba Band performing. Lois is on the committee organizing it and so chose the traditional ‘olde English’ spelling of FAYRE. However, some folks keep wanting to correct the spelling, thinking it’s a mistake! How do you spell it at YOUR school (or your kids school)? We’d be interested to do a kind of straw poll on this, to see which spelling is most common!

The Land Rover is going well, but there’s no Diesel to be found in town at present. So we hope some comes in before the tank gets too low (although we do have 25 litres stored in the back shed for such occasions).

Here are a couple more photos, as I know you love looking at the pics!

This is Micah and Mads trying out Rob’s microphones before he used them for recording:

Mads & Mics!.jpg

…and here’s Madelaine running on the same beach as you saw Micah on. Nice picture!

Mads running on beach.jpg

That’s all for now folks.
Summer Party 5th August chez nous by the way.



May
04
Filed Under (Benin wildlife, General) by Rob on 04-05-2006

Hi there

Have a butchers at this photo and see if you can work out who or what it is…

Who is it.jpg

Send us a reply with your ideas. The first correct answer will receive a ‘Wycliffe Benin’ t-shirt!!!

Now other info…

On the way back from Azove, we stopped off in Possotome, on the banks of Lake Aheme. First time we’d been and it was very pleasant. However, we took a slightly wrong turn near the village and ended up wending our way down this road:

Road to Possotome.jpg

There’s a sort of hotel/mini-Butlins there (chalets & restaurant, but definitely no monorail!!!) and the whole place looks out over the lake and has a ‘beach’ (of sand which was clearly delivered there!) Here’s Micah on said plage:

Micah on beach.jpg

Tennis!
To try and keep/get fit, Rob has taken up tennis, which he is enjoying (in spite of the heat!) Here are a couple of shots of him in ‘full swing':

Rob playing tennis 1.jpg

Rob playing tennis 2.jpg

“Not sure I actually hit that second one” says Rob

Other news…

Mads has been off school the last couple of days, with a wheezy chest and coughing. She went to the doctor’s today and she put her on a nebulizer for 20 minutes, which seems to have done her the power of good.

Lois is busy organizing the school Summer Fayre, which takes place in a couple of weeks.

Micah goes round to play with his Dutch friend, Marijn, at least a couple of evenings a week, which he really enjoys (and they are both as talkative as each other, which is good too!)

Ruth is still enjoying ballet. On Monday, we had an SIL get-together, where an Irish short-termer did some Irish dancing. Ruth was so interested that the girl concerned lent Ruth the shoes for a couple of days (although they were a tad big for her, she had fun making a lot of noise with them!)

Thanks for visiting. I’ve added a couple of photos to the Azove info below too.

Thanks for all the comments we’ve received – they are much appreciated.



May
03
Filed Under (Ethnomusicology, General) by Rob on 03-05-2006

On Friday, 28th April, the whole family travelled to Azove, about 2 and a half hours north west of Cotonou. We left soon after school was over and arrived around 6:00pm, at the home of our SIL friends the Hams. Then, on Saturday morning, Rob travelled out to Kojaxwe (pronounced KOH-JAH-CHWAY, with the ‘ch’ pronounced as in ‘Bach’) There, the group arrived and we recorded 10 songs, which they had been composing over the past few months. All the songs are based on Bible verses and each track was between 5 and 6 minutes long (so that the whole lot will fit on a C60 tape).

Here are some of the group recording:

Choir & singers.jpg

It was the first time Rob had used his new recording equipment in it’s entirety: two Behringer C1 microphones, a unidirectional ‘T-Bone’ microphone, three mic stands, a phantom power supply, a Rolls 54S mixer and an Edirol R1 MP3 recorder. Phew! And, of course, lots of leads! The recording went really well and the quality is great (want a copy – drop me a line and I’ll send you the 10 songs on tape or CD). We had to wait a few times for passing motorbikes and braying goats. There was also some big gathering in the village, with speakers blaring out, so someone had to go and ask them politely to turn the music down.

Here’s Rob recording (amazing how small the equipment is these days – 10 years ago, the stuff would’ve filled the whole table!)

Rob recording.jpg

So now, Rob’s in the process of duplicating the cassettes and designing the inlay card. At the moment, he only has a 2 tape copier, which operates at double speed. However, he is looking for a fast copier which takes 6 cassettes at once, which will speed up the job.

Sorry, no photos at present – the same problem seems to have recurred (any ideas, Reg?)

Some great pics waiting to be posted soon, I hope. Watch this space!

Thank you for visiting our blog,

Rob et al