Archive for January, 2007

Filed Under (General) by Rob on 18-01-2007

I went to Dantokpa Market in Cotonou to buy some cassettes (as you do). I went to my usual lady and my eyes nearly popped out when I noticed the blue sweatshirt she was wearing…

You see, it wasn’t just any old blue sweatshirt: this one had a shield on the with the word ‘NEWNHAM’ underneath it in yellow. This was a genuine piece of school uniform from Newnham Middle School, Bedford, where I taught for 4 years before coming to Benin! Wow! So, how did she get it? Well, another market in Cotonou, Missebo, sells second hand clothes, many from British charity shops, so that’s the most likely.

I was amazed, but of course the lady was not at all moved by the event (although she did offer to sell it to me for a tenner, which I politely refused!) Mind you, I did managed to get her to let me look at the name tag, which read: Sarah D. So, Sarah, whoever you are, a Beninese market stall holder is wearing your old school top!!

Other news:

  • We have a possible friend coming to visit in February and a whole family from our home church coming for Easter. Should be fun.
  • Rob’s off to Togo next week for an alphabet song writing workshop.
  • Madelaine has just joined karate club at school and Ruth art club.
  • Lois has a big birthday next month (hint hint!)
  • The Harmattan is still here, but a little weaker.
  • The Landrover had a new drive shaft the other week and is going really well now.

And finally…

You remember we went to the Pendjari National Park in December? Well, here’s the card we filled in to show how many animals we saw (it’s part of the leaflet they give you when you enter the park):
Mon Safari Pendjari

(NB If you’ve not seen our wild animal pics yet, click here to see them).

Thanks for visiting!

Filed Under (General) by Rob on 05-01-2007

Happy New Year folks!

We had a lovely New Year’s Eve with some missionary friends, with sparklers on the roof and even fireworks! New Year’s Day – like Christmas Day – we had friends round for snacks and games, which was fun.

Clive Rahn had a lovely time here, and left on 29th December. Here he is by the ‘Maggi’ water tower:
Maggi Tower

One of the highlights of his visit was Dantokpa Market, the largest market in West Africa. Here it is:

Dantokpa from bridge

(NB These photos are on the gallery, along with some more new Cotonou ones.
Click on either to access the gallery.)

Now, onto the Blutak thing…

We already mentioned the Harmattan , which came briefly in early December. Well, to herald the arrival of 2007, the Cotonou has one of the strongest Harmattans for a long while. This dusty, dry wind is so thick you can see it and even taste it! If you look down our street, you can barely see the end of it (it’s like London in the fog!)

One good thing about the Harmattan is that it makes the weather cooler – it was a mere 24 degrees C this morning, and 50% humidity or less. Nice. But, one downside (I’m getting there now!) is that everything dries out (including ones lips, feet, eyes…). This includes your doors and doorframes (which no longer fit properly) and anything blutacked on the wall is likely to fall off. Half the postcards in our hall (kindly sent by YOU good people) are curling up and falling off the wall! Eeek! Still, it should be over in a week or so.

Hope you all had a great Christmas. Here are our three visiting Santa:

Kids with Santa

Bye for now, thanks for visiting!

Filed Under (Benin wildlife, General) by Rob on 04-01-2007

Just a quick note: if you like birds, I’ve just added a few more to the ‘Birds of Benin and Togo’ album.

For example, here’s a malachite kingfisher we saw in the park:


and we saw plenty of these abyssinian rollers:
Abyssinian Roller

Finally, look at this funny bird – it’s called a hammerkop and has a hammer shaped head:

Plenty more on the gallery – just click on one of the above or on the ‘photos’ picture to the right, then click on ‘Rob Baker’s Photo Gallery’.

Bye for now!