Saturday, 22 June 2013

Zoe writes: children in Benin

These are some things I noticed about children in Benin. Not every child is like this, but this is what I saw in a lot of the children there.

  1. They never complain to adults that they're bored.
  2. They respect their parents and people older than them.
  3. They take responsibility.

  4. They don't have a lot of toys.
  5. Only adults have cellphones - even teenagers don't have them. And they just use them basically as phones, not really for games or for texting.
  6. They don't have a lot of extra-curricular activities.
  7. They really enjoy school and work hard. 
    teenage boys at La Casa Grande on vacation - keeping up their studies together
  8. They like to sing and dance.

  9. They don't have to be asked twice to do something, they just do it -- even praying out loud or doing chores.
  10. They don't have a playground at their school.
  11. The adults are more strict and sometimes kids get hit if they're misbehaving.
  12. They don't have adults patrolling them all the time at recess.
  13. The children and teenagers know how to make meals. They serve meals to guests first before eating. 
    Bonaventure's family (2 of the kids are gone to university)
  14. In Ganvié, children learned to swim, fish, and drive their own boat when they were about 6 years old. And they don't wear life jackets!


  1. Welcome home ... Each post has been so interesting, informative and inspiring, and ... and ... and ... - a chapter book with beautiful photos (and videos too!). From slates with chalk to this technology to chronicle such a magnificent journey - it's mind boggling! Thank you for all the sharing you've provided on so many and varied topics. What a GREAT READ! (and a link I'm passing around.) - Marcia :-)

  2. A big and hearty AMEN to what Marcia has written!

    Zoe, you've made some interesting observations about children and their life in Benin. Thank you! Sue S.

  3. Zoe, I find that picture of the girl driving her own boat the most striking. Kind of scary! I can't imagine Eli being out on his own like that less than two years from now.

    Wouldn't it be great if we could take the best parts of Beninese culture and the best parts of Canadian culture and put them together? :)

  4. Zoe,
    Those are great observations! I love the smiling faces in your first picture. The children are filled with song and dance. Do you find yourself singing and dancing more since you were in Benin?
    I'm glad you're still writing about your trip.
    love, Bethany

  5. Zoe -

    I can't wait to share this with my grade four students and Me to We action committee in September.
    I love the way you shared these differences in list form, it will be great to analyze and discuss.
    You have a gift for writing already at such an age, Zoe! I hope you continue. I have truly appreciated reading about your insights and observations.