Tag Archives: Blast of Benin

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…

SILENT SCREAMING!!!

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)
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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…? 😲

Blast of Benin #10

Strike! Strike! Strike!

There’s a strike happening at my school right now. This is the second strike of the school year. When a strike happens the teachers don’t teach Tuesday through Thursday. This means there’s a full day of class Monday and a half day of class Friday.

The students are SUPPOSE to still come to class. As said by the Vice-Principal during Monday Morning Annoucements, ” The teachers are on strike, you are not.” But that doesn’t stop some kids from not showing up to school.

The strike is happening because the teachers having been teaching but the government has not been paying them… talk about awkward…

The situation sucks. It really does for all parties here. It sucks for the teachers because they are not getting paid so how will they feed themselves and their families and live life. It sucks for the students because they are missing school even while at school and are getting behind in their studies. It sucks for the school administration aka the Vice-Principal and accountant and now secretary because there’s only 3 adults to manage over 500 Students. It sucks for the government because Hella kids are missing out on education. And it sucks for me because I’ll be the only teacher at school and my kids are like why should we be learning right now when all our friends are having fun and they have started becoming a bit raucousy and acting out.

Blast of Benin #9

So at school the was a two week period where students were being possessed left and right. It was not fun. It got to the point where more than 15 kids were possessed in one day. There was even a couple in my class and a few times class was canceled because of it (which sucked because it was in between the two strikes that took place so the teachers lost valuable teaching time.

For the first student in my class to be possessed there was sudden yelling and twisting around and a girl started yelling in Bariba. At the same time she was crying and her arms were twisting into very uncomfortable positions. In Bariba she was yelling about how she wanted to possess and would kill another student in class. Now this other student who was standing started stiffening up and had a death grip on a desk. Then her head started bobbing and jerking around. And she started making a low guttural with each bob. Luckily for me, my first possession took place in my Co-teaching class so I didn’t really have to do anything. The Vice-Principal and accountant came told the other students to carry the 2 girls out and put them in the teacher’s break room.

In my solo teaching class, the girl got possessed right before my class started. When I arrived the priest had sent everybody home and was trying to exercise her. She was walking on her knees yelling in what I can describe as only a high pitch dolphin short burst scream. I stayed until she was exorcised. That means the priest said a bunch of prayers while also throwing salt on her. Afterwards she came out of her trance she had to wash up before she could go home.

Let me yell you… it was a lot to soak up.

Possessions ranged from students collapsing and yelling in different languages to students having seizures and acting all crazy. It got to the point that there was 2 school prayers (each 5 hours long) held and a priest spent a day at school helping students and throwing salt in front of classes. Only girls got possessed which is strange because both boys and girls can get possessed

I asked the vice principal if this was normal and he said every year 1 or 2 students get possessed but never to this many at once. Allegedly a couple of villages in an hour range had 1 possession as well. A teacher told me that something was wrong with the school grounds but no one knew what. Possessions are not because of voodoo. Possessions happen because there is a witch/sorceress and decides to possession someone to try to force them to do her biddings which is usually to kill someone. Just about all the possession at school had a student saying she was going to I’ll another student or teacher

My host mom asked me how I felt and what would I do if a student tried to kill me. I told her that it felt a little bizarre to me and I don’t care who is trying to kill me but everybody will get punched in the face. They could be a student, a teacher, an elder or a baby I’ll punch everybody. If I die I’m taking the other person with me. My response caused my mom to cry from laughing so hard. She then told me I didn’t have to worry about it because sorcery didn’t effect strangers. That made me feel a little better but I would still feel creepy at night sometimes. (Side note: apparently you should try to stop the child and get help for them instead of punching them in the face… look you guys I’ve seen too many movies and read too many books to do this. You just got to end it right away idc idc idc idc)

ALSO one last thing… when I asked the teachers why this was happening the answer was “It’s Africa”. They found it amusing that I was not satisfied with that answer and how I didn’t think it was an actual reason.

Possible Reason why this might have happened sourced from the mind of Biia:

  • Sorcery
  • Students not wanting class
  • It being an elaborate school prank where every year a student gets possessed but since there’s a stranger here this year they decided to go all out
  • Some type of environmental trigger like lead paint, tainted soil, too much dust, trash strewn all around
  • Some scary insect Bourne sickness
  • It’s Africa lol just kidding

Blast of Benin #8

It’s 10:30pm. After spending a couple hours earlier worrying about my house flooding after watching the water seep from under my doorway and slowly fill up my hall. I was able to just leisurely lay in bed reading one piece I got really into it but I started to get sleepy, since tomorrow  is Wednesday  (my free day) I was like hey why stress I should just go to bed. I prepare to go to sleep I see the biggest greenest meanest insect of my life and immediately I felt my life force being drained away from me. I went through all my possible options and eventually decided to walk to my host family’s house and ask for help. I made the 10 second trek through the rain to their house. 

“Ko Ko Ko!” I said to let them know someone was standing in the dark, in the rain, outside of their window.

My brother came out so see me perched on a rock, hands folded like I was praying  covering my nose and mouth. I tried to force a light and breezy smile and asked “are you busy?” 

He smiled and said yes, looking very confused because I’m known for discouraging people from walking around at night and I don’t leave my house when it’s raining.

“Well there is a big big big big big insect in my room and I will die. Can you help me?” -Me 

He goes back in the house to get his shoes and I instantly groan inside because now the whole family will know, which means the concession will know, which means everyone in village will know about tonight.

My mom comes out and asks what is it? What did I see? Her face grows a little concerned when she sees me in my praying hands covering my face stance (That I subconsciously go in apparently when I feel extreme fear or anxiety) which reflecting on makes me look quite serious and withdrawn and probably a little frightening  especially since I’m always laughing and smiling.

“I don’t know. A monster?”- Me 

10 second trek back to my house. 

“Keep your shoes on.”, I say making sure my best line of defense is fully prepared for battle.

I scurry to my hallway so I can just barely see the monster posted on my bedroom wall and I whisper, “There!”

AND EMMANUEL GRABS IT WITH HIS BARE HANDS AND SAYS SEE YOU TOMORROW AND WALKS OUT MY HOUSE LIKE NOTHING HAPPENED!!!

I can’t deal man… 

Blast of Benin #6

I ate fresh peanuts for the first time. I didn’t realize that I’ve never had fresh peanuts before coming to Benin. They’re always dry roasted and lightly salted. I definitely prefer fresh peanuts over the other ones. The roasted ones are always too dry for me and I can’t eat more than like 5. When I first tried it I didn’t know it would be covered in white skin lol

 “ummm do I just peel this white stuff off or do I eat it… Oh why is it damp?”

“You’ve never eaten Peanuts before?!”