Ouidah

During Pre-Service Training, we got to take a trip to Ouidah and it was so great. We got to see 5 things: the sacred forest, python temple, the French fort, the slave route, and finally the door of no return.

Sacred Forest

Super nice. There’s lotsa statues here and there is this tree which is like 300 years old and one day without warning like all the branches and fruit fell off and never grew back. There’s also a tree that fell down and then righted itself back up also. We could not go all the through the forest because it is sacred and they still use some parts of it for initiation.

Python Temple

Exactly what it sounds like…

French Fort

One of the French forts where they use to hold enslaved Africans before they started their long march done the slave route to the door of no return. It is now a museum about some of the history of the fort and slavery. Also the area where they use to hold the enslaved Africans has been changed to a place where one can buy and sell art (locally made art from what I could tell.) We couldn’t take pictures of inside the museum which sucked. BUT one of my favorite exhibits was when they showed the connection between Benin and Brasil through side by side pictures of life and both places. I could barely guess which picture was from where. It was beautiful. It was amazing. It made me appreciate going to Brazil when. I was 7 years old even more. It also made me laugh a bit about how the ancestors guided me to Brasil and are now guiding me through Benin.

Slave Route

We didn’t drive the whole route but it was pretty intense. There was a couple of memorials which I was happy to see along the route. It was intense imagining my ancestors walking and walking and walking to the door off no return. There was a couple of stop points where there was a tree where they had to walk around it backwards a couple to erase their connection to their villages and country and to severe their connection to their history, heritage and culture. It didn’t work.🙃

Door of No Return  (Port de Non Retour)

The beach where enslaved Africans had their final moments in Africa before being forced to leave and never return again.

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Surprise Essay (not by me)

So this is a sample essay that was used on this super big test that the kids have to pass. This essay definitely caught me off guard.  But it also made me happy to see this was the essay choice/content. Growing up in the US, I was lucky to have a community and family where I had some exposure to the history and culture of my people.  A lot of African Americans (not even going to take the rest of United States into consideration) never learn about history and culture in Africa and they never learn about their history before slavery. So seeing this essay was so surprising and so refreshing to see that students  have this on their national exam. Also I guess I secretly wondered how deep the tentacles of colonization was in Benin… like would the history between Africans and Europeans be idealized… would they automatically adopt European laws… would they be trapped and forced to agree to things that would hurt the country in the long run because they needed some type of Aid and the Aid came with strings attached…like would they be able to teach using that language  (lol obviously yes). I’ve heard/read a lot of things that has talked about how some countries are stunted in growth because of things they had to agree to inorder to receive international aid so I was kinda curious. After typing out those thoughts I realize I could literally just ask about it instead of trying to be an undercover detective. There’s a few French teachers here who I feel super comfortable with so yeah… anyway here’s the essay 

But I do believe being an undercover detective would be fun…

Blast of Benin #7

For those who do not know, I am not a big fan of bugs especially spiders. My kitchen area is a room outside my house, which is a hundred percent fine I actually really like have a separate building/rooms for my kitchen, bathroom, and shower area. But the kitchen having not been used before had managed to gather a rather large collection of spiders. After doing a quick survey to see who in my family could help me get rid of them, me and Emmanuel went to go take care of business. Now I like to put on airs of not being afraid of things and willing to experience anything. That didn’t work at all… I ended up hiding outside the room screaming “C’est  la!! C’est la!” It’s there it’s there!! Emmanuel probably ended up killing like 10 spiders for me 😂