5/5/2014 - LIfe in Benin, Porto Novo visit

wow dad is all grown up now!  graduation!  thanks for the pictures.  dad i'm proud of you! sounds like it has been a great weekend.  dad - happy birthday today.  it is not all the time that i get to write someone on the day of their birthday.  i really have no idea how old you are just know that is pretty darn old.  a lot older than me!! haha

[Question from home:  How does Benin compare to Togo - first impressions. . .]
benin in comparison to togo... hmmm... a lot is the same but there are some differences.  the water and power here is a lot more unreliable.  i've heard of water outages for weeks at a time.  actually i didn't get to shower cuz the water this morning was too slow and barely coming out and we were late because we went to an activity in porto novo that I will talk about tout de suite [in a second].  

there are also a lot more motos here in benin.  the taxi motos wear yellow vests and there are so many of them.  driving is absolute madness.  the rules of the road here are try not to get in an accident, don't kill anyone, and most important: whatever you do don't get caught.  after that pretty much anything goes.  

[Question from home:  How is the branch?  Looking at the church meetinghouse website, I can find 6 branches:  Fidjrosse, Monontin, Gbedjromede, Gbegame, Akpakpa, and Finagnon.]
as far as branches go there are more than what you listed mom because i don't know but yeah haha there is.  actually, we are a "group" where we are.  did you know that groups only have two hours of church?  and did you know that it is awesome?! well yes and yes.  haha we belong to the branch of cococodji though.  a lot of those names you listed mom are names of secteurs [areas] as well.  all the names here are crazy like that its cool.  the area that we are in and our group name is cocotomey.  we are on the outskirts of benin towards ouidah on the road to togo.   [note:  If you look on Google maps the areas are spelled with k's - kokotome and kokokodji.]

one day when i have some time i'll email you guys some cool stuff from Google earth that will show you a little around the mission.  it's a trick we learned last night while working out the secteur limits and stuff.  basically we are trying to put everything into Google for president morin when he gets here and to keep track of secteur limits.  it will be fun for you guys to look at.  our area is pretty far from the mission home actually.  you'll see with some references that i will send.  if not today maybe next week.

the language the most spoken here is fon.  it is a lot like ewe but harder. i'm making some effort.

yes, i'll be doing a lot of driving.  elder kognani has been going through a driving type school to learn how to drive but so far it has been elder ritchie only.  that's why we needed you to scan the permit so i could temporarily use it until the other one comes, but it is ok.  but he'll be driving too. and last, elder devesgez is from paris.  he is super hilarious. i love having him around.  did you know that elder dagrou is going home at the end of this month?  well yup. haha time is flying!

this morning we went up to porto novo to visit a couple of tourist places with a zone.  we visited this place that, dad, you would have loved.  it is a self sustaining farm place that produces all its energy and uses everything in a big old cycle dealio.  it is called Songhai with two dots over the last i.  it was pretty interesting.  its just the kind of thing that one could visit all day long.  then we went to a little park thing with some monkeys that we gave bananas to.  it's called the sacred forest.  apparently it was where the king's assistant would execute people a while ago.  haha.  it was cool though.  some really huge trees.  and last was the palace of the old kings of porto novo.  it was interesting.  one guy had over 100 wives! it was a cool little trip.

this last week was pretty hectic with the trip to togo for almost all week.  it was good though.  this week we have some more meetings but i think we'll be in benin the whole week.  life is a whole lot busier now but i like it. it keeps me on my toes.
well as usual got to go but i love you all!  have a great week!  dad, hope you've had a great day!  
Elder Rybin