Thursday, April 19, 2007

Special Friends

Randy and I have a very special friendship with the staff at one of the hotels in Cotonou. Very early on in our arrival in Benin, this friendship began. Most often we would stay at the Baptist Guesthouse but there were times that it was full and we had to find another place to stay. One time some of the staff even helped to get us to the doctor when Randy was very sick with malaria. Through the years this hotel has become a very special place for our family. Our kids know and love the staff and are very loved by the staff. Many times they have given them gifts or special treats. This staff has also come to know our extended family and has assisted us multiple times in taking them to the airport at their departure. They have witnessed many of our tearful goodbyes and offered words of comfort and encouragement when we have returned to the hotel in tears.
About 5 years ago, one of the staff members, Claire, called us one night from Azove and said she, her sister in-law and her niece were at the taxi stand in town. They had come here to spend the night with us! Randy went to get them while I prepared a meal for them to eat, as well as a room for them to stay. We had a great time together and from that point on she always said she was going to return again and stay longer the next time! I said that would be great. However, I did say that if she informed me of her plans in advance, the next time I could really make sure our time was special.
Obviously many years passed and I wondered if she was serious about returning. Earlier this year I mentioned to her that we were leaving and she decided to make a plan. She called me last week and said, "How about next Tuesday?" We decided that worked for us and told her to come on! Louise, our cook who comes 2 days a week, was here on Tuesday and she cooked African meals so that our guests would be truly comfortable. Our kids were excited about that too because they really enjoy most African foods!
This time Claire brought her 2 nieces, Floral and Lorie. Tori was very excited to welcome these 2 girls. We also invited Bensha, Laurance's daughter to come and play for the day.
The girls played school for most of the day.
Tori, Timothy and I drove them back to Cotonou on Wednesday morning.
Floral, Bensha, and Tori
Everyone drinking a Coke while they watch Babar!

My special friend Claire

Jonathan REALLY enjoying his "pot and okra sauce"

"Umm ...this looks good!"

1 comment:

Kendra said...

Oh dear, my tummy just gurgled a little bit at the sight of pot and ocra sauce. I'm sure it will subside as soon as I click off your blog! he! So, since your kids like it so much, are you planning on making it around the house much back here? I remember you telling us about Claire - neat to see her picture. Everyone sure looks good! The house is looking a little bare, huh? love you -