Archive for November, 2006

Filed Under (General) by Rob on 29-11-2006

Filed Under (General) by Rob on 29-11-2006

Filed Under (General) by Rob on 29-11-2006

With a couple of weeks until the end of term, we’re up to our eyes with report-writing and rehearsing for Christmas performances.

We break up on 15th December, which is also the day our friend Clive Rahn arrives.  Before then, we have all our reports to write, then Rob is organizing ‘Secret Santa’ at school again and will also be dressing up in a red and white costume on the last day of term to give out presents to the children (sshhhh!!)

Last week, Rob used his groovy new cassette duplicator to make 400 copies for the Nawdm project in northern Togo (see earlier post).  The machine is fast (copies four 90 minute cassettes in under 5 minutes.  Nevertheless, that’s a lot of time spent pressing buttons, unwrapping cassettes, labelling them, punching out tabs etc!  The tapes have now been sent up to Kara for SIL and the church, so pray they have an impact!  Here I am doing some recording:


(nice shirt!  Must add that to the gallery!)

Other news…

Madelaine has had a wheezy chest and cough almost since we got back in August.  She’s on various medicines now to try and ease the problem.  She’s doing well with her violin now, and is learning to play the lovely ‘St Anthony’s Chorale’ (you know: dum dee dum dum dee dum, dum dum, dum dee dee dee dee dee dee dum…)
Ruth is narrator in her school nativity play, then quickly changes into an angel later on!  She’s on ‘Key Club Book 2’ now for piano.

Micah goes round to lots of friends houses after school.  One friend in his class has a pet  monkey, two grey parrots and 2 chameleons.  We played with one chameleon, and it’s fascinating to see it change colour.  Also, watching the eyes swivel independantly is quite astounding!

Lois is busy as ever at school, but doing a fab job.  Her Christmas play and Rob’s will both take place on the same evening, one after the other.  We have an excellent Korean dance teacher at school this year, who is doing some great movements to go with the music!

Rob preached in Ouidah last Sunday.  Although the seat of Voodoo, there are nevertheless Christian churches there.  This was a smallish church with two concrete walls, one bamboo-type wall and then a nice curtain at the back.  It was interesting to hear in the notices that this church will be doing a ‘Week of Prayer and Fasting’ at the end of 2006, to thank God for the year.  And… the dates of this fast: 25 December- 31st December.  Wow!  I know Christmas isn’t such a big deal hear, but that’s still pretty amazing (how many of us would be willing to fast on Chrismas Day and for the week following it???)  As usual, I’m invited into the Pastor’s house for fizzy drinks afterwards.  They also give me a bunch of bananas to bring back – nice gesture!
That’s all folks!

Thanks for visiting.  Please leave us a comment if you can!

Filed Under (General) by Rob on 27-11-2006

Hi folks! Sorry for the delay in posting any info – I’ve been spending my ‘blog time’ putting photos into the NEW gallery. Just click to the RHS and you can see all the pics.

There’s Benin Photos, like this one (click to see more)

Ganvie 1

Then there’s Togo Photos like this one:


If you’re a bit of an ornithologist, then check out my Birds of Benin and Togo album:

Pin-tailed Whydah (2)
Then there’s the hot-off-the-press 2CV Touareg Trail – shots of the Citroën 2CVs which crossed the Sahara and were in Cotonou last weekend:

and then there are shots in our city in Cotonou Photos, like this one:

Cotonou lagoon

If you’ve got a moment, have a browse! There will be more added soon (including the monumental ‘Rob’s Shirts’ album!) Stay tuned!

More news soon. We’re all doing okay and looking forward to Christmas!

Thanks for visiting,

Rob et al

Filed Under (General) by Rob on 27-11-2006

YES, can you believe that ‘Rob and Lois in Benin’ has been going for a whole year now???  26th November 2005 is the date of the first post on this blog.

Thanks to all those of you who have visited, left comments, entered competitions etc.  In the coming year, I hope to add to the photo gallery and also add pages for: ethnomusicology  (with links and what/how I do it!) and also ‘Fon Lessons’ – a ‘teach yourself Fon’ page, for which I’m compiling information at the moment.

If you have any good Benin photos, send ’em in and I’ll put them on the gallery (with appropriate accreditation, of course).  I’d also be happy to do an ‘Ampthill’ gallery if enough of you have photos of our ‘historic market town’.  Finally, any photos of Rob in a loud shirt would help me with my ‘Rob’s Shirts’ album, which should be ready soon!

Thanks for reading!


Filed Under (General) by Rob on 24-11-2006

Yes, the 2CV’s are back again, having crossed much of Europe and the Sahara Desert.  They’ll be on show at the weekend, so I hope to get some good pics…

Filed Under (General) by Reggie on 22-11-2006

Clive Rahn arrives from England for a visit

Filed Under (General) by Rob on 11-11-2006

“What’s the Harmattan?” I hear most of you ask.

Well, unless you’ve lived in West Africa, there’s no reason you’d know. But if you have (or do!), I’m pretty sure you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s a dry, dusty wind which blows south from the Sahara. Click here or here for more info.

The good thing about the Harmattan is that is cools down the weather somewhat, and gets rid of much of the humidity we usually endure in Cotonou. The downside is that the dust gets in your throat and dries it out. In fact, the dust gets everywhere – windowsills, car windscreens, eyes, hair…

Looking on the bright side, Cotonou, being just about as far south as you can get in Benin, doesn’t suffer as badly as the north, where the dryness can be so acute your lips and the back of your heels start cracking!

Now, November is pretty early for it to arrive, as it tends to be more in late December or January. With the Harmattan, seem to have come loads of dragon flies. Yesterday, I looked up into the sky and could see literally 100’s of them about 10 metres up.

The other insect that has recently been seen in Cotonou is the blister beetle, which is a nasty creature. If this small, red and black insect lands on you, do NOT squash them or brush them off, as this could cause nasty burning. Blowing them off is usually safe. Read more here and here.

I’ve not, to my knowledge, seen any of these, but a colleague of ours in Cotonou got some unpleasant burns on her arm last year from one of these wee beasties.

That’s all for now folks,


Filed Under (General) by Rob on 07-11-2006

…but we had a nice break in Togo at one of our favourite haunts.

The Baptist Hospital in Tsiko is not only a great place to go when you are sick – it also has a fab guest house, beautiful grounds and is surrounded by stunning countryside. We love it there and the warm welcome and fantastic meals make it all the better! Here are the family on a bit of a mountain climb, just behind the centre:

Of course we first discovered this place under less joyous circumstances, as it was here that Ruth had her stitches put in her head following the ceiling fan incident. Here’s Ruthy outside the hospital (taken this time, but with the same hat that she used to wear following that ‘hair cut’):


Other News…

For those interested in ornithology, the sunbirds nesting outside our window have had a baby. Have a look at it in the nest:


Finally, Rob’s cassette duplicator has arrived and is doing a grand job. “It can do four C90 tapes in less than 5 minutes!” says Rob. Here he is, busy getting the 400 tapes copied from the recent Nawdm recordings (see previous post).


The next trip up north has been postponed, and will now take place in a couple of weeks. Will keep you posted!

Thanks for visiting!
Rob et al