Monday, 10 June 2013

Zoe writes: La Casa Grande jobs and organization

La Casa Grande is very organized.

They have a schedule posted by every kids house. Maison Shalom, Maison El Shaddai and Maison La Grace all have schedules posted by the door, a new schedule every month. We also get a schedule for the two weeks we were there. Before and after meals is also very organized. There are three groups, and they rotate around jobs.

When we were there, the groups were called Bonté (Bounty) Les élus de dieu (Representatives of God) and La lumière (The light). I volunteered in Bonté. One group would set the table and get the soap and water ready.The cook would always make the meals, but on weekends the kids would help out. Someone would ring the bell and everybody would come to eat. Someone would put the food on the table, right before we eat. 

the cook making the meal
When people came to the dining hall to eat, there would be two buckets with soap in one and water in one. There will usually be people there to help you. You go to the soapy water first, and then go to the next station and rinse your hands. 

washing hands before the meal

After the meal there is a clean up crew that brings all the dirty dishes downstairs to the kitchen. Then another group washes the dishes and then stacks them, ready for the next day.

the meal and clean up crew
putting away water after the meal
washing the dishes
me and Pascaline hanging up the dish towels to dry
The houses are also organized. One house is for big boys, one for small boys, and one for girls. They hope to build a house just for the older girls. In addition to these houses, there is also an office building (le bloc administratif) and the dining hall (L'Arche de Noé) and also Maison Ebenezer for guests and some staff. Some of the staff live in Allada and come to La Casa Grande to work. Other staff live with the children in their houses. There is one adult per house: Tanti Hélène, Tanti Chimène, and Tanti Esther.

Their rooms are very organized and clean. They spend their time when they're home from school cleaning and sweeping their rooms. Every day, they sweep the outside of the houses too. Lots of the kids helped with the younger kids and also volunteer to help with the babies. They are very independent and responsible but they also used a lot of team effort.

When the kids are on vacation, the girls make necklaces to sell and raise money for the children's home. They taught me how to make a necklace too.

I was really impressed by the responsibility of the kids there. I think that a lot of kids in Canada don't have to take that kind of responsibility.

À toute à l'heure,


  1. Zoe, I'm impressed that you're impressed by organization - (I like organization of tasks and planning :-) - except don't look at my house! Keep up the great blogs! - Marcia

  2. Wow - this post is full of thoughtful reflection of the roles the children fulfilled - how everyone has a job and is part of a larger thing. It is something for me to think more on - we have become so individualistic in North America. I will have a lot to learn from your experiences and stories, Zoe. I can't wait to talk to you about them more! Much love, Aunt Melissa

  3. Hi Zoe! Thank you for teaching us all about the jobs that kids do where you are. "I like how they made the necklaces. I would like to buy one" said Megan. "I would like to buy one!" said Erik. Your reflections remind us that we all can take responsibility for our homes no matter how old or young we are.
    Love Shauna, Megan and Erik xo

    1. Thanks, Shauna, Megan and Erik! I really liked the necklaces too! Zoe

  4. Zoe,
    It is interesting the things that you are observing during your time in Benin - such as organization. Will you be implementing any of these ideas when you get back to Canada? Such as cleaning your room daily??
    Thanks for sharing about this and hope to hear more again soon.
    lots of love,
    Bethany, Madeline and Amelia

    1. I'll try to carry on these things when we get back to Canada. Maybe not cleaning my room daily, but I'll try to put my clothes away neater, and probably washing the dishes. Zoe