Category Archives: Peace Corps Biia

Peace Corps Benin: Been there, done that, got the tissu

Well well well… it’s been a long time but I’m back again. Hmmm Hmmmmm let me think… what’s new since we last talked…

Oh! I finished my Peace Corps service! Surpriseeeee!! That’s right everyone your favorite Biia has successful completed her 27 months in Benin and boy do I feel things… I feel:

Accomplishment: I completed my service. I did my job. I gained a lot.

Disbelief: Am I actually done? I think? Maybe?

Content: I’m satisfied with my service.

Excited: Huhooooo!! ~(^o^)~ ready for some new and shiny future

Weird: like I’ve lived here so long… am I actually leaving? Is that okay?

This experience can only be described as… everything that I needed it to be. I gave a bit and I gained a lot. I say only a bit because even though I worked hard and put so much of myself into this experience the amount I gained seems so much more than I gave, in my opinion.

Like yeah I taught lotsa kids.

Sidenote: in a few years if you meet some kids from Benin and ask what time is it and they say time to get a watch instead of the actual time… THAT’S ME!! Those are Madame Biia’s students! You’re welcome!! Don’t worry on the second or third time you ask they WILL give you the time.

Yeah I helped lead various leadership programs

Yeah I did health workshops

Yeah I promoted cultural exchange between the US and Benin

Yeah I did some gender equity work.

But let’s see what I gained shall we?

I learned French like I tested out as Advanced-low and started novice-high/intermediate-low. That’s right everyone I can say omelette du fromage! Be jealous!

I got free housing

I got free Healthcare

I got to experience new land, new cultures, and new food.

I made friends

I got to see my highs and lows abroad

I learned so much more about myself

I got stronger (mentally not physically) lol

I got new outfits

I got a new confidence for traveling (including solo traveling)

I traveled to Benin, Togo, Ghana, Sao Tome, and CΓ΄te D’ivoire (Ivory Coast)

I got even more confidence confidence.

I got cuter

I got TEFL CERTIFIED and appreciated as a volunteer

Guys… I’m the winner here… BIIA FOR THE WIIINNNNNN

So what’s next for Biia aka the gift from the stars…

Well I noticed a few unposted things from my time as a volunteer, so I’m going to post that. I would also like to post some reflections on my peace corps experience, some stuff about my travels, and my future plans and what I’m doing currently.

So yeah… goodbye or as they say in french goodbye en franΓ§ais πŸ˜‰


Introducing… Jadzia ( It’s Just Jadzia #1)

Ladies and gentlemen… cats and dogs… animal lovers and animal Haters… I’m pleased to say I have a pet cat! It’s name is Jadzia and I just found out this past month that she is actually a boy!

For the first month of me being in Benin I was telling everyone that I wanted a cute little cat. Well one evening the Chef D’arrondissement stopped by my house and gave me a bag that I thought had food in it. NOPE. Instead I got my wonderful child/friend animal.

I named her (at the time) Jadzia after one of my favorite characters off of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. My family calls her Josette. It’s fine.

Any who he is only half a house cat. After he got comfortable in the concession, he stayed mostly outdoors. I let him come and go add as he pleases. And I never try to find him to make him come indoors when I’m home. This is because I’ll only be here two years and I don’t want him to become dependant on me and like starve and not be able to take care of himself when I leave.

Things Jadzia likes:


Really any meat

Tripping me

Napping with me

Climbing up to my ceiling and pretending like he can’t get down

Knocking and meowing at my door at 5am to let him in the house

Attacking and nibbling my toes

Getting head scratches

Eating lizards

Here are some pictures of us Napping together:

Blast of Benin #13

I am here to share a new skill that I have developed. One of the many cool things about joining the Peace Corps is that you get to experience and learn many new things. That alone is an incentive to join. So if you are looking for a sign for whether or not you should join the Peace Corps there it is lol but really talk to me first so I can make sure you know what you are getting into so you don’t make a mistake and I would want this to be a great experience for you not a mistake for you πŸ™‚

back to my new skill!!!!!!

ladiesssss and gentlemeennnn…

I, the Marvellous gift from the stars, Uri-Biia Hesi-Ra Si-Asar

take note of that name because she is going places

has MASTERED the art of…


yes yes it’s true! I can do it! and if you work hard enough you may too be able to do it one day.

This skill manifested itself one day while I was in my outdoor kitchen. Cooking… yes cooking… keep your eye out for my Chef Biia posts! And a spider ran alongside the wall I was cooking by and almost touched me.

Boy did I silently scream! I have also done this the time a huge lizard fell (crawl into but) FELL into my room. This skill is an important skill that only the most skillful could truly utilize the skillfulness of this skill.

Also it comes in handy if you get scared easily and you don’t want people to always think you are dying and to pretend to your neighbors that you are intregrating well into the new environment.

Positive Side effects of the SILENT SCREAM:

  • No one hears you screaming
  • You can scream as much as you want without being labelled a scaredy cat
  • Neighbors won’t come barging into your house because they think your life is in danger
  • You feel brave afterwards because you didn’t actually scream

Negative Side effects of the SILENT SCREAM:

  • Your heart will still drop in your chest and beat that crazy
  • you are still afraid but the outside world doesn’t know
  • You strain your throat a little bit
  • If there is actual danger no one will know so please assess the situation before silently screaming
  • You actually do make a teeny tiny noise while scream so if you forget that other people are around you you may embarass your self. (not speaking from experience, a friend who wished to stay anonymous told me so)

Coloring Party!!! 5eme

To celebrate completing learning situation one and 3 quizzes during the first semester we had a coloring party. I photocopied a picture from my coloring book that I brought with me to Benin and they almost lost their minds. Also thank you Si-Asar family for the coloring pencils, this definitely would not have been possible without them. I was definitely not going to use my personal 24 pack 😝😝😝😝 JAMAIS! (never!) I also tried to play American music on my phone but it didn’t work too well. Apparently playing music off your phone in a class of 41 excited students is very different than playing it in an empty cement house with only one person in it lol

Blast of Benin #11

So for the first 4 months of living in Benin I could not charge my phone in my house. Instead everyday I had to go to my host family’s house to charge. Going over there everyday want a problem for me because I basically go there everyday because they are my family. No really I harassed them to the point that they basically adopted me for better or worse lol

My issue with charging my phone there was that I was consistently stealing their electricity. I felt so uncomfortable because I would want to charge my phone and my tablet, so I would basically be attached all the time.

I had been talking to multiple people how to get the electricity in my house going and finally one day Papa Propertaire was like hey Biia I’m ready to attach this thingy to the outlet so you can charge your phone (not a direct quote). So I was excited!!!!

So he came in and CUT open the wires with pliers with no rubber on them. And started moving the wires around with his BARE HANDS also unprotected with rubber. And I’m standing behind him like😰…

Me: I don’t know Papa Propertaire… this isn’t dangerous to just be touching all this stuff? Like the electricity could hurt you…

PP: What? Hahaha! No, I’m use to this stuff.

Me: I don’t think that’s how electricity works…

PP: Do you have une Lame?

Me: une lame?…

PP: yes

Me: *makes high pitch mmmmmm noise that I make when a student writes the wrong answer* a what?

PP: you know the thing you cut your nails with…

Me: oohhhh yes yes I’ll go get it *brings back a nail clipper*







Me:πŸ™ƒ I’ll just ask to borrow my host family’s lame…

Blast of Benin #12

In class, while circulating the classroom, I rested my arms on my head waiting for my students to finish copying the chalkboard. Immediately I heard a collective gasp and about 40 mouths started furiously talking in french and 3 students even jumped out of their seats to yell/ plead at me to stop what I was doing. I, of course, could not understand what they were saying because of a combination of 40 people talking at the same time and also speaking French quickly. After finally calming them down, Ganni-Mena (one the oldest and most outspoken students in class) explained to me that if I do that my husband would die…

Me: what? This? *does it again*

Class: MADAME!!!

Me: that’s false! *doesn’t take hands down*


Me: *takes down hands* I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I had to confirm that I understood! But it’s okay… I don’t have a husband.

Class: *collective gasp* it will kill your fiance?

Me: Nope. No fiancΓ©.

Class: *makes mental notes about Madame Biia’s personal life to tell other students and family* It will kill your mother?

Me:πŸ˜πŸ˜‘ really… that’s false… I’ve done this many many times and my mother is still alive.

Class: πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”

Me: So will people die if I do that? πŸ€”

Class: πŸ€”no…? 😲