Because of a great job opportunity at home for Jen, our Peace Corps service is ending about three weeks earlier than expected. We won’t be putting up any new posts for the next several days but will add some posts about the end of our service soon. Thanks for following our blog!
After watching in horror as my driver dragged his feet on the ground to stop his motorcycle, I’ve learned to check that the brakes work before getting on a motorbike taxi. Luckily the average speed on local roads is 30 miles per hour or less.
Small motorcycles, dirt bikes and mopeds vastly outnumber cars on Benin’s roads. Roadside mechanics like this keep the bikes running long after they’d be thrown in the junk heap in the US. Safety norms aren’t up to American standards and a vehicle inspection process, if it exists, is not enforced.
I had another manioc adventure a few weeks ago, when I had the opportunity to participate as a cooperative I work with made gari, which is dried, powdered manioc. It’s one of my favorite Beninese foods.
The first step is to have the manioc mashed, which the group paid to have done elsewhere, so I didn’t see that step. We started with large sacks packed full of the smashed manioc, which we broke up into chunks and then sifted through screens.
For eating, gari is sprinkled on beans or rice and mixed in with the sauce. Sometimes it is moistened with a little palm oil first, which makes it extra tasty. Yum!
It doesn’t look like much, but this is my favorite Beninese food lately: vanzu beans with sauce and gari. Vanzu are big, perfectly spherical white beans that cook down to a creamy mush. They are delicious. There’s a woman in town who always has a big pot of these for sale. I eat them every chance I get.