Beginning of the training course
Pherouse during training | © Marianne Dötzer, 2014

Beginning of the training course

The next day we set off at a good pace.  Mother Superior Odile had provided two rooms for the accommodation of the "apprentices" as well as a large pavillion for the training. She  also provided us with a lady-cook who would do the shopping  and cook three meals per day for our ten trainees.

Linguistically, there were a few problems, but these were quickly resolved. (If only all the problems in Benin would be so easy to solve.) When, still in Rwanda,  Pherouse had learned that French is spoken in Benin,  he simply took an eight-week crash course in order to prepare himself fort he training. At the beginning of the training,  the trainees had difficulty understanding him,  but African people simply  are linguistic geniuses. Even those who did not speak French were able to follow the course. There was always someone who translated even if that often led to misunderstandings and also triggered roars of laughter.

The only thing that really troubled Pherouse was , believe it or not,  the heat! He comes from the highlands of East Africa, from the Virunga Mountains, where it is cooler. In Ouidah, our training location, the temperatures were around  34 to 36 degrees. Everyone enjoyed it when  a "cool" breeze was blowing from the sea!