Tag Archives: PCV

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 Côte 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 français 😉

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Wellness Day

Every now and then the PSN hosts a wellness Day at workstations for the volunteers. It is basically a day where you get to focus on your well being and also relax and have fun. This wellness Day was super fun. We talked about being an ally to other volunteers and ourselves.

And my favorite part was that afterwards we went to a… SWIMMING POOL at a hotel! Who would’ve known there was a swimming pool 2 hours from my house!! We sat at the pool, played at the pool and ate at the pool. We ordered “fancy” American food! I got a cheese burger (that came without cheese 🙃) and mozzarella sticks. C’EST DOOUUXXXXX.

Unfortunately I can not upload any pictures they were on the phone that was stolen.😢 so please just imagine the following images

*insert image of beautiful and relaxing pool with shimmering water*

*insert photo of a juicy burger that sadly lacks cheese and tantalizing mozzarella cheese sticks dripping with cheese toasted to perfection*

*insert image of Biia lounging in a pool chair in a purple swimsuit in a purple towel reading a purple book with a big purple smile*

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.