Saturday, 17 March 2012


Okay, technically I should say it’s rozijnenbrood. No currants available, plenty of raisins. And it being Saturday, well, naturally, I bake krenten/rozijnenbrood for Sunday morning. Like I always do. This morning we had Canadian style pancakes for breakfast, with genuine artificial maple flavoured pancake syrup. Tomorrow morning we eat krentenbrood. Okay, rozijnenbrood. Same as usual. Normal.

There we are, back to normal. More than a month after my previous blog. At home in our new house. Maybe I should stick to the facts about the past months. Who, what, when where, why. In summary.
Our first visit back to Dogbo I described. The next was a few days longer. The next wasn’t a visit, but a return. And yes, we stayed. Until Maarten and Evelene came, courtesy of DVN. Five days. Exactly right for us and for them. We started in Cotonou, or rather, just outside Cotonou, at a mini-resort on the beach called Chez Rada. We had two bungalows for two nights. Swimming pool, reasonable food, massive waves down at the beach. The day between the two nights, on Thursday, we visited Cotonou city, most memorably Dantokpa, the biggest market of West Africa, an overwhelming maze of stalls and not-quite-stalls selling everything you could possible imagine, from voodoo attributes to automobile parts liberated from the port to children. Yes, children. Dantokpa is  one of Africa's nerve centres for child trafficking. According to UNICEF, about 500,000 children between the ages of five and fourteen are victims of this shocking trade in Benin. (Check out if you’re interested)

Friday we drove along the coast road (sand track hugging the beach, an amazing drive!) to Ouidah, and from there to Dogbo. We arrived in plenty of time to visit the market in Dogbo, but not before sharing a traditional West African meal (beans, chicken, sauce) prepared by Mariette in honour of our visitors. Saturday we visited a home for people with a mental handicap/psychiatric illness, hung around a bit at home, and in the evening we had another traditional African meal with Didi. Sunday we went to church in Dogbo and in the afternoon did a circuit of villages where the ER CB has churches, including Djakotomey, Tokpohoue, Deve and Ayomi. And Monday we drove back to Cotonou, getting there in plenty of time for Maarten and Evelene to catch their flight back. It was a really, really good visit: for them, for us, and for the people here.
Thursday of that week, our goods arrived. Meanwhile the main work on the house across the road was almost done. We were able to stow our goods in one of the bedrooms, sneaking a peek in any number of boxes as we arranged them. It was just like Sinterklaas, when we finally got to unpacking proper. Treasures newer and older, absented for four months, and every one with its own reason for having been packed. So good…

And now, we’re a couple of weeks on. We’ve moved in, hung curtains and light fittings and towel racks and all those other bits and pieces which make a home function. Internet works, so does the satellite TV/radio receiver (Dutch programming!), and so does my Assistant Original, the Swedish wonder machine. A full horsepower of kneading and meat grinding attachments. So yes, things have got back to normal. Including krentenbrood on Saturday evening.
We are really, really thankful. It is good to be here.


  1. Aaaah, I've been waiting for this! :)

    Wonderful to hear how you are settling finally to doing the mundane things that normalizes everything! So if we ask, "Hoe gaat het, Jopie?" you can reply, "Ja, 't leven gaat op zijn eigen gangetje...." or something to that effect. Love you both! Coba

  2. Oeh, ik heb zo'n zin in een plakje van dat brood! :) Love you!!

  3. Lieve pap & mam, fijn dat het leven daar een klein beetje normaal wordt, dan zijn jullie wat minder energie kwijt aan het wennen. Zo komt er meer ruimte en energie voor het werk. We leven met jullie mee! Liefs I,L,R&G

  4. We had pancakes for breakfast too yesterday and yes, raisinbread this morning. I believe it was Benthe who said `Bij onze Opa en Oma kregen we dit ook altijd!´
    We had a great weekend with Arie and Eef and Oma was here all afternoon yesterday. Busy but fun.


  5. Leuk om te lezen!! Wat heerlijk om de vertrouwde spulletjes weer om je heen te hebben en weer te kunnen genieten van een lekker krentenbrood! Lisa zag de foto en vond wel dat je heeeel erg veranderd bent, haha... Geniet van alle goede dingen om jullie heen en Gods zegen!

  6. Happy to read from both of your blogs that life is getting back to normal. We love you and keep praying for you! Enjoy your Assistant Original :-).

  7. Ik lust ook wel een plakje:) Love you!

  8. Checked out the link, this one being about cocaine, it's probably not the right one.

    is probably the one you meant...