Tag Archives: Africa

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˜‰

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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:😊

PP:😐

Me:☺

PP:πŸ˜‘

Me:πŸ™‚

PP: NO

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*

Class: MAADAMEEEEEEEE

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…? 😲

Teaching Diary: January 2018

  • On my birthday (January 10th) all of the schools in Benin decided to take the day off in CELEBRATION!…coincidently fete de voudon is on that day as well
  • Lotsa kids started to become possessed thanks to witchcraft and sorcery… it was wild
  • There was two prayers that happened to combat this issue, also lotsa salt was thrown everywhere. Also at one point a pastor was at the school because so many kids had fallen out.
  • One day 15 kids were possessed
  • My 6eme A had their coloring party. They colored flowers.
  • I finally got to talk and meet my scholarship girls.
  • There was another strike
  • That being said I was the only teacher showing up to school those days
  • During that time done kids took advantage of the strike and didn’t come to school and it was amazing! I had normal like 25 kid sized classes πŸ™‚ i… I miss it…
  • Had my second wellness day
  • I finally met my scholarship girls
  • Also i finally got them their school books they wanted
  • I made some BOMB spaghetti
  • I found out my cat is actually a boy not a girl. It was wild.
  • I made tapioca for the first time
  • I had a coloring party with my 6eme D
  • I got a new student in my 6 eme A class… he joined 2 weeks before the semester was suppose to end
  • In class, while waiting for more students to show up because of the strike, I taught them how to play Tic Tac Toe… I demolished all of them…I am the champion