“if you do not poo, you cannot leave benin”

vliscounseenjavamintsplurge01It is a Monday and I am in Cotonou for a medical exam. Peace Corps wants to make sure their volunteers are healthy before releasing them back into the land of paved roads and Target and ice cream.

Doctor: I will need three stool samples. One fresh one today, and two more that you will bring in next week.

Me: Impossible. I already went a few hours ago. I can’t do it again today.

Doctor:  Try. I don’t need a lot.

Me: But-

Doctor: If you do not poo, you cannot leave Benin. C’est la vie.

Me: … Ok, I’ll do my best.

Doctor: Good luck.

Guys, pooping on command is not easy, especially when I already pooped in the morning. But the thought of not leaving Benin scared me enough to make a serious effort. So I left the office and proceeded to eat some spicy street food as well as some fake ice cream to coax my body into producing what the doctor ordered. Then I walked around Cotonou to kill some time and hopefully trigger some bowel movement.

vliscounseenjavamintsplurge02The first place I went to was… of course… Vlisco! Unfortunately they are closed on Mondays. So I stared forlornly into the window at the dress with the fabric I wanted. Though I don’t know why I was so sad because even if the shop were open, the fabric wouldn’t have been available for me to purchase. At this point I was still debating whether or not I wanted to purchase it online and wanted to see the colors in person in the boutique before making a final decision. The thing is that the last time I visited, I asked the salesladies if I might find the fabric at the Dantokpa Market where their resellers have small shops. They all told me no, because java is reserved for the official boutique. I told them that I had seen Java before in the market, were they sure? They said yes, I would not be able to purchase this fabric at the market.

vliscounseenjavamintsplurge03Liars! Liars! Liars! They lied! Maybe unintentionally, but they still lied! Because I had nothing to do and my body still wasn’t ready to poo, I went to the market to walk around for that 1% chance I might find my fabric… and I left with this paper bag. My wallet was 27,000CFA (54USD) lighter but I was overjoyed and my stash increased by another six yards (minimum purchase requirement). I’ll give you exactly one guess what I bought.

vliscounseenjavamintsplurge04Hell yes. ! It’s here! It’s real! It’s before my eyes! Happy dance happy dance happy dance!! Though, this fabric goes in a special stash. It is in the “take back to America” stash.

vliscounseenjavamintsplurge06When I first arrived in Benin I only bought the cheap stuff since I was making stuff to wear in country, where I knew sweat and full sun and dust and biking and insect repellent and sunscreen would eventually destroy my garments. But now that I’m going home soon, I’m finally splurging on the expensive stuff to wear back at home in a more gentle environment. I want serged edges and zig zag stitches and high quality thread and better interfacing and all that extra good stuff for this fabric!

vliscounseenjavamintsplurge07Just look at this beauty. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll buy another color variation for this design – I don’t want to get sick of the print, and there are other plenty of fabrics I like as well. So I’ll hold off on more luxury fabric purchases until my last week here, as I’m satisfied that I have the one I wanted the most. The vlisco lust is gone.

vliscounseenjavamintsplurge08By the way I’d like to apologize if I have bad manners when it comes to commenting. I like to reply to comments as well as visit your blogs and leave comments on your projects, but the fast inet I once had at CIAMO is now awful and barely functional. I purchased an internet key, but I only have 1 gig a month… so I am rather stingy with my internet usage. I write these posts offline and post them with the inet key, but other than that I can only check my email and read the news or visit sites with a lot of text. I don’t have enough inet to browse picture heavy blogs, or else I risk using up my monthly allotment. Sorry Sad smile But soon I’ll be back in the land of fast and unlimited internet!

vliscounseenjavamintsplurge05Also, in case you were wondering, I worked really hard and forced my body to make a small stool sample for the doctors. The doctor congratulated me, then I left the office and hopped in a taxi back to Ouidah – the body was a bit lighter but the hand a bit heavier as I carried my six yards of happiness home.

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