first off, it’s strange for me to walk to the cyber cafe. yes, people walk everywhere, but lots would take a zemi jan (moto taxi) rather than walk 10 minutes in the heat, and yovos are even less likely to walk. still, i like to compare it to my walks through federal hill from home to metro (oh, how i miss metro!) the roads are dirt/sand. palm trees are scattered about, but it’s not quite the same effect as the palm lined streets of CA, FL or SC. in fact, the palm trees are so unglamorous, that i didn’t even notice them for sight (maybe because there are so many other cool things to look at), but for sound. the leaves make this clapping sound in the wind. palm leaves are woven together to form walls, roofs, shade, floor mats, hats, anything. so i walk along this dirt road, side stepping piles of trash and standing water. in one spot, the water covers the whole of the road, so i have to walk on a low wall to keep from stepping in it. it’s not that i mind getting wet. i almost prefer to walk in the rain. it’s just that sitting water is a sure way to get sick or get worms… so i walk on the wall. my carpenter and his kids always smile and wave, which makes my day. other kids sing the yovo song, which is known throughout all of cotonou, “yovo, yovo, bon soir! cava bien, merci! yovo, yovo, bon soir! cava bien, merci!” sometimes i smile, sometimes i ignore them (really, the song does get annoying after you hear it for several months), and sometimes i sing with them… which really throws them for a loop. i wait for a few goats and chickens walk past, i try not to get hit by zemi’s, and then i arrive at the cyber café, where edmund (the owner) greets me with a huge smile. he thinks it’s funny that i walk, and offers me a ride back to my home-stay, but i tell him honestly that i like the walk.
this morning a zemi tried to take me to the cyber. i responded (no) in fon, “eh-o.” he laughed. there’s nothing funnier than a yovo speaking fon.