January 12, 2001: Headlines: COS - Benin: PCVs in the Field - Benin: Transom: Jenafir in Benin

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Benin: Peace Corps Benin : The Peace Corps in Benin: January 12, 2001: Headlines: COS - Benin: PCVs in the Field - Benin: Transom: Jenafir in Benin

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-245-37.balt.east.verizon.net - on Sunday, June 26, 2005 - 2:49 pm: Edit Post

Jenafir in Benin

Jenafir in Benin

Jenafir in Benin

It started with a fun idea: record my college friend before she left for the Peace Corps, ask her what she expects, then give her the tape on her return 2+ years later. It grew from there.

We were both graduating from college: I was off to LA to make movies, she was off to Benin. We had to go to a book store so she could show me where this tiny country was. With my lecture cassette recorder I asked her, in a super market aisle, what she expected.

Hanging out in Jen's village, near Allada.

A year later she came back to California for a half-way visit. For it I borrowed a friend's fancy DAT and stereo mic--I had little idea how to use either. She put the headsets on and we figured it out together.

Then came a mini-disc recorder, a clip on mic, and a promise: Before she left, I said I would come and visit her in Africa during her second year. After a big job in LA, I took the money and ran. And that's how I found myself in Africa and having the most painful and wonderful experiences, as yet, of my life.

Clouds Over Benin
Ominous view from outside Jen's house, a tropical storm opened soon after. A shower in the heat.

Lastly, with more audio experience, I met Jen on her way out, when she was done. When we met, she clipped the mic on herself while I asked: How was it?

The way to carry babies: use a pagne (fabric).
The List
The Peace Corps gives volunteers a small booklet when they complete their service--to help them with re-adjusting and potential culture shocks. An actual government publication, it includes a list titled: Symptoms of Chronic Peace Corps Withdrawal. I wanted to stay out of the story as narrator--I'm still not keen on hearing myself speak. It was an exercise in telling a story with only the subject speaking. When I saw the list, I knew I had the frame structure. I had her read it to me, thus allowing, in editing, her to introduce the main acts: Disease, Dirt, Work, Culture Clashes, and Leaving America/leaving Africa.

Notes on Sources
Sometimes I spliced in sections of tapes that Jen would record and send me from Africa. In response to dust, heat, temperament, and a crappy recorder, the tapes were of poor quality, and often at odd speeds which I sped up on the computer to sound normal. But those are some of the best moments in the piece.

The African experience is incomplete without music. Angelique Kudjo, the female vocalist, is from Benin. She sings in Fon, the local language, and Jen, and her PC friends, can actually make out what she is saying. Most all the other artists are from West Africa. Jen warned me, in one of her tapes, that a really popular song is played to death there. Over and over for months--everywhere. So I thought I would include them... one last time Jen.

When this story was posted in February 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

The Peace Corps Library Date: February 7 2005 No: 438 The Peace Corps Library
Peace Corps Online is proud to announce that the Peace Corps Library is now available online. With over 30,000 index entries in over 500 categories, this is the largest collection of Peace Corps related reference material in the world. From Acting to Zucchini, you can use the Main Index to find hundreds of stories about RPCVs who have your same interests, who served in your Country of Service, or who serve in your state.

Make a call for the Peace Corps Date: February 19 2005 No: 453 Make a call for the Peace Corps
PCOL is a strong supporter of the NPCA's National Day of Action and encourages every RPCV to spend ten minutes on Tuesday, March 1 making a call to your Representatives and ask them to support President Bush's budget proposal of $345 Million to expand the Peace Corps. Take our Poll: Click here to take our poll. We'll send out a reminder and have more details early next week.
Peace Corps Calendar:Tempest in a Teapot? Date: February 17 2005 No: 445 Peace Corps Calendar:Tempest in a Teapot?
Bulgarian writer Ognyan Georgiev has written a story which has made the front page of the newspaper "Telegraf" criticizing the photo selection for his country in the 2005 "Peace Corps Calendar" published by RPCVs of Madison, Wisconsin. RPCV Betsy Sergeant Snow, who submitted the photograph for the calendar, has published her reply. Read the stories and leave your comments.

February 19, 2005: This Week's Top Stories Date: February 19 2005 No: 449 February 19, 2005: This Week's Top Stories
NPCA Board positions are open for nomination 17 Feb
Mike Tidwell on trial for climate action protest 17 Feb
Katie Dyer is co-owner of Cadeaux du Monde 16 Feb
Cyclone misses Tonga and Samoa PCVs 16 Feb
Phil Hardberger in debate for Mayor of San Antonio 16 Feb
Edmund Hull is Princeton Diplomat-In-Residence 16 Feb
Bruce Greenlee is longtime friend of Latino community 15 Feb
Mike Honda new vice chairman at DNC 15 Feb
Jospeh Opala documents slave crossing from Sierra Leone 14 Feb
Dear Dr. Brothers: Aren't PCVs Hippies? 14 Feb
Joseph Lanning founded the World Education Fund 14 Feb
Stanley Levine draws Marine and Peace Corps similarities 14 Feb
Speaking Out: JFK envisioned millions of RPCVs 13 Feb
Chris Aquino visits mother's homeland of Vietnam 12 Feb
Is PCOL blocking users from posting messages? 12 Feb
JFK Library opens Sargent Shriver Collection 1 Feb
RPCV responds to Bulgaria Calendar concerns 28 Jan

WWII participants became RPCVs Date: February 13 2005 No: 442 WWII participants became RPCVs
Read about two RPCVs who participated in World War II in very different ways long before there was a Peace Corps. Retired Rear Adm. Francis J. Thomas (RPCV Fiji), a decorated hero of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, died Friday, Jan. 21, 2005 at 100. Mary Smeltzer (RPCV Botswana), 89, followed her Japanese students into WWII internment camps. We honor both RPCVs for their service.
Bush's FY06 Budget for the Peace Corps Date: February 7 2005 No: 436 Bush's FY06 Budget for the Peace Corps
The White House is proposing $345 Million for the Peace Corps for FY06 - a $27.7 Million (8.7%) increase that would allow at least two new posts and maintain the existing number of volunteers at approximately 7,700. Bush's 2002 proposal to double the Peace Corps to 14,000 volunteers appears to have been forgotten. The proposed budget still needs to be approved by Congress.
RPCVs mobilize support for Countries of Service Date: January 30 2005 No: 405 RPCVs mobilize support for Countries of Service
RPCV Groups mobilize to support their Countries of Service. Over 200 RPCVS have already applied to the Crisis Corps to provide Tsunami Recovery aid, RPCVs have written a letter urging President Bush and Congress to aid Democracy in Ukraine, and RPCVs are writing NBC about a recent episode of the "West Wing" and asking them to get their facts right about Turkey.
RPCVs contend for Academy Awards  Date: January 31 2005 No: 416 RPCVs contend for Academy Awards
Bolivia RPCV Taylor Hackford's film "Ray" is up for awards in six categories including best picture, best actor and best director. "Autism Is a World" co-produced by Sierra Leone RPCV Douglas Biklen and nominated for best Documentary Short Subject, seeks to increase awareness of developmental disabilities. Colombian film "El Rey," previously in the running for the foreign-language award, includes the urban legend that PCVs teamed up with El Rey to bring cocaine to U.S. soil.
Ask Not Date: January 18 2005 No: 388 Ask Not
As our country prepares for the inauguration of a President, we remember one of the greatest speeches of the 20th century and how his words inspired us. "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."

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Story Source: Transom

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Benin; PCVs in the Field - Benin


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