Good Morning Benin!!!!!!

Okay, at one point I wanted Robin Williams’ (really Adrian Kronauer’s) job and I’m channeling it this morning.

I’m dealing with an issue with my computer. The hard drive is dying. I’ve got a replacement, which I plan to install this weekend. Meanwhile, it’s been a challenge to get it to boot up and run. It’s been a slowly evolving situation. Flashback, like an episode of The West Wing.

Phase One: Pop up messages while I was working saying that a parameter on the hard drive was out of bounds and I should be sure to backup everything. Okay, I do that.

Phase Two: Computer won’t boot. Gets partway through and then I get that message and it locks before Windows starts. When it got there, friends who work with computers (I’m a software guy, don’t let me play with hardware) figured out how to get past that point and get Windows to start. We did a full backup to an external drive, then tried reformatting the disk to see if that would fix things. It didn’t, but the workaround to get Windows to start let me use the computer until the new hard drive arrived. Reinstalled everything (note: restoring from backup restores files, not applications). That was OK for a while until…

Phase Three: Computer won’t boot, workaround won’t work. That stopped me dead for several days until I figured if I started a reboot, pressed F12 for boot options, and chose “Boot from Utility Partition”, I could get Windows to come up. Copied off individual files I had modified to the external drive and vowed not to create any new ones until the new drive arrived.

Phase Four: New drive arrives, which brings us back from our flashback.

Next week, I’ll be headed north for a week to attend the Gani Festival in Nikki. The Gani Festival is a week-long event where the kings of neighboring Bariba kingdoms, some from northern Nigeria, come to Nikki where the most powerful and esteemed king in the region resides. I had not heard of Nikki before this, but interestingly it is one of the few cities marked on my 1909 National Geographic map of Dahomey. There are booths, horse racing, dancing, singing and events where the Kings parade, or others parade before the King. The Ambassador is attending, and I’m coming along because the Ambassador likes to give us all the opportunity to get out of Cotonou.

Okay, he also wants me to do a town hall meeting for Americans who live up north and don’t make it down for the ones in Cotonou. We’ll do that in Parakou on the way back.

Now, a preview of something I put together for that meeting. I figured it was quite possible the Americans up north weren’t familiar with how their embassy works, so I put together a quick three page brochure.

About the US Mission in Cotonou



Filed under Foreign Service Stuff

4 responses to “Good Morning Benin!!!!!!

  1. Bob Kieckhefer

    Do you have a schedule of Gani events in Nikki this week? I’m in northern Benin, mostly to go to Pendjari National Park, but might go over to Nikki for a big event. Thanks!

  2. I want to go to Benin again so much! I went only to South Benin (2009) and want to see the north. How does a person get the weight to do foreign service in Benin?!

    • rkolker

      If you scroll back though this blog you’ll get the whole story (well, most of it) of how I joined the FS and ended up in Benin. For a quick look on how to join, go to

  3. PS I cant even say something in Fon bc AFAIK Fon isnt a big language up north.

    Édabo (OK I did it anyway!)

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