I suppose I shouldn’t complain. There is water (I’ve been told it goes out from time to time), but there is no water pressure in the pipes in Cotonou. Want that hot shower to beat down on your sore lower back? Forget it. Need to rinse something off quickly in the sink? Not gonna happen. It’s far from a hardship, just one of those things we take for granted in the US that when you get overseas, you notice.
I watch more late night TV in Cotonou. Not because I stay up later, but because they show Conan and Dave back to back in prime time (a day late) on AFRTS. They show ESPN’s Around the Horn and PTI live, which is in the evening Benin time.
Something I didn’t know about U.S. Embassies before I joined the Foreign Service, and even really before I got here, is how much of the work is done by Locally Employed Staff. These are generally local folks (although some are family members of FS officers) and they do everything from driving and sorting the mail to supporting our political, consular and security sections. They are the backbone of our efforts and we couldn’t do it without them. In general, their English is much better than my French! I just wanted to say thank you, and let you know that they are out there (which is to say here and at our other Embassies and Consulates) working for all of us.