Making connections at the Detroit Book Fest

Many people had stories about how they were somehow connected to Benin or do similar work and a couple of them really stood out to me. One woman was sharing how her son in law and grandson recently traced back all of their ancestry to Benin, Africa, so her young grandson is currently learning French. She was so excited to bring a copy of this children’s book to him.

Read More
Marcy O'NeilComment
My Benin Wedding

First things first, I am now Mrs. Marcy Hessling O’Neil!!!  At the beginning of the month Stu made his fourth trip to West Africa, and his second trip to Cotonou.  Everyone here was very excited for his arrival.  After a harrowing trip of delayed flights, sleep deprivation, and a 13-hour layover in Casablanca, he arrived in Cotonou around 3am.  Keface, the night guard at my apartment building, and I came to pick him up at the airport and waited impatiently for his arrival.  In true Cotonou fashion, all 3 of us hopped on Keface’s motorcycle (along with Stu’s luggage) and rode back to the house.  We were quite the sight!

Read More
Marcy O'NeilComment
Reliving the past, looking forward, and enjoying the moment

This fall I'll be teaching a new course (teaser, I'm not going to jinx it by talking it up too soon) and the process of thinking about old problems in new ways brought me back to a blog post about yoga that I wrote a few years ago on Medium. It's a bit of a #longread (13 minutes) so I think if you've got a nice cup of coffee or glass of wine you may enjoy checking it out. Please do let me know what you think.

Read More
Marcy O'NeilComment
Towards a plant-based diet, what I’ve learned from Benin

Like so many others today, I am leaning towards a plant-based diet for several reasons. Turns out that in a list of top 100 ways that individuals can reduce global warming, numbers 3 and 4 relate to food! Number 3 is reduce food waste, and number 4 is a plant-rich diet.

Now I never want to waste food - I mean, who does - but somehow I still find myself cleaning out the fridge and throwing away bits of this and that. Sometimes I’ve been overly eager when grocery shopping, other times I make something that doesn’t turn out right. And I love to cook. Really love to cook. I find it an enjoyable pastime as well as a means of nourishing both body and soul. So this month I’m taking some cues from my friend Anie who loves to cook, can stretch a dollar, rarely wastes food, and eats a primarily plant-based diet (with the addition of some fish, eggs, and meat). Here’s what she’s taught me.

Read More
10 phrases I wish I'd known on my first trip to Benin

2) Tu as fait un peu? (Have you done a little?) - The first time someone said this to me I felt kind of irritated, because I had been doing more than a little. It’s another one of those phrases used to acknowledge that someone has just come back from doing something or maybe has been working on stuff earlier in the day. The “un peu” doesn’t mean that they think you’ve not accomplished anything or that you are lazy. (They may very well believe that, but this phrase isn’t used as an insult.)

Read More
7 folktales, 2 countries, & you.

"Today oral storytelling is disappearing. Children learn their lessons through workbooks at school instead of from their elders...So I am happy to participate in this book project. Even if I one day leave this world, the story will remain."

Read More
Marcy O'NeilComment
Why I love Castel beer

You know that feeling when you meet new people and you don't quite know the protocol? Like you don't want to order a beer and then find out that everyone else abstains from alcohol entirely? Or is that just me? Anyway, when I visited Benin it was pretty hot. Ok, really hot.

Read More
Marcy O'NeilComment