My Gentle Tailor

Published by Brian on

Not a whole lot of exciting things have happened in the last week, although I have been able to pinpoint what Benin smells like. I would describe the general smell of Porto Novo as state fair animal barns with just a hint of middle school locker room.

For the most part the last week has revolved around acquiring Beninese clothing. They look so airy and comfortable during the 80 degree rainstorms.So last week I asked my host dad if I we could go to the marche and get some tissu (cloth) over the weekend. This was apparently a bad question because unknown to me, we had a wedding to go to.

I ended up buying some tissu the next day anyways though, so the next step was to find myself a tailor. In Benin everyone has a guy for everything. Want to get some bananas? Let me call my friend. Need credit for your phone? Here, let me go get my aunt. So naturally my family already has a tailor that they use for everything. Within 15 minutes of coming home our family’s tailor was in our courtyard taking my measurements. Thankfully he did not need to measure my inseam. One day later, which is actually freakishly fast here, there was a bomba and pants sitting on our table.

Altogether getting a custom made outfit only cost me 7000 CFA Francs, or roughly 14 dollars, and the tailoring itself only cost the equivalent of 4 dollars. I say this just to point out how cheap everything is here in Benin, 50 cents buys me either a plate of rice and beans or a baguette and 3 bananas.

The other exciting news was that I got to go to a wedding, which wasn’t actually all that different from an American wedding. What was weird, however, is that it was a muslim wedding during Ramadan, so no food or drink. They gave me a goodie bag with fruits in it though.

Aside from all that jazz I’ve pretty much been going to class and trying to learn French. There was some excitement today in class since their was a pretty big fire a couple of blocks away. In Benin it’s pretty unheard of to go to a gas station, most people just buy black market gas smuggled in from Nigeria. One of these black market distributeurs caught on fire we think, which happens fairly often apparently.

That’s all for now though.