Monday, 24 June 2013

last night in Cotonou

The beauty of having power surges, then an explosion in the power box, then a power outage for the entire night, is that you get to take in all of the night sounds of a city.
Eden in her mosquito net, ready for the night
This is what happened on our last night in Cotonou. No fans, no breeze, just a still, not-quite-quiet night in the largest city in Benin.

Heat. Ontario: you don't even begin to compare.

I'll admit it: I'm a country girl at heart. So our 2 weeks in Allada, where La Casa Grande children's home is located, were divine. There are nice breezes at night, crickets sing you to sleep, and the home is on the outskirts of a small town. You can't hear the noises of the town at all, and the landscape surrounding it is lush and green.
the view from La Casa Grande 
pineapple fields

running through the fields behind La Casa Grande

Cotonou is a bit noisy in comparison.
next-door neighbours' house in Cotonou
But this last night offered me an opportunity to record the various night sounds of Cotonou. Here are some, along with the approximate times:

11:00pm - dishes clanking, spoon on bowl, child crying, balai sweeping
11:30 - goat crying (have to listen well to distinguish this from a child's cry)
2:00am - woman with dementia next door crying, sobbing, saying something in Fon over and over and over again
2:30 - goat/baby crying
3:00 - rooster crowing. Get a clock, rooster.
3:30 - woman with dementia crying
4:00 - woman crying, rooster crowing
4:30 - motorcycle honking
5:00 - balai sweeping dirt and concrete, rooster crowing, child yelling, mother yelling
5:30 - dishes clanking, spoon on bowl, child crying, rooster crowing, water running, hammers pounding, mortar and pestle pounding maize flour
6:00 - water being poured into bucket from well, cars honking, goat crying, another goat crying, hammers pounding
6:30 - motorcycles driving by, hammers pounding, saws sawing, drills drilling, balai sweeping concrete

more Cotonou from another rooftop

1 comment:

  1. I love the sound log! So powerful! It reminds me how sometimes smell can take us back to another time in our lives in an instant. Sound can do that a little bit too. Reading through those sounds gave me a sense of what it was like to be in Benin that would be hard to capture through less sensory descriptions.

    I was most affected by the sound of the woman with dementia crying. I hope she is surrounded by loving people. I hope I am too when I'm a man crying in the night.