Rainy season is sneaking up on us in Cotonou. The occasional thunderstorm is giving way to some kind of rain nearly every day. Still a way to go before we get to “flood stage”, where the roads go underwater in the neighborhoods, but we’re getting there.
The only thing in the Foreign Service which you can count on is change. Not only the weather, but the people, the job, and your plans. We had all been looking forward to next week when we would enjoy holidays Monday (US) and Thursday (Benin). Quite a few folks take off Friday in that case and make it a four day weekend, opening up the possibility of travel. Ah, but the only thing you can count on is change. We have a congressional delegation (codel in State-speak) coming in Friday, so Thursday people will be busy planning, and Friday busy with the codel, and Saturday busy getting the codel out of town. So much for our three day week (and four day weekend)!
Another change coming is an influx of babies. Okay, only two will arrive here, but there’s another who’ll be born shortly after his mother wraps up A-100, and a newborn in the family of a recently departed colleague.
At the same time, we’re losing our CLO, we have someone headed off to A-100, and then I leave. To make that up we have a new PD officer, and my replacement coming in. The only thing you can count on is change.
So here I am, just a few months from leaving Cotonou. From concluding my first posting in the Foreign Service. Thinking about what to pack and what to leave. Figuring out how to move back into my house when the State Department won’t let loose of my furniture for the five months I’ll be home. Passing through Ouagadougou Airport (whose fire truck is pictured here).
And I’ll be evaluating the experiment. This career change was always an experiment, and it remains one. I will evaluate the results so far while I’m home. Will I go to Ottawa? Probably.
But the only thing you can be sure about is change.