Architecture in Porto Novo

Cinder blocks (made locally) and concrete dominate as building materials, especially in larger towns and cities. This building is down the street from our host family’s house in Porto Novo, Benin’s capital. The store on the bottom right of the photo sells cell phones, the store to the left of that sells baby accessories, and the next to the left is a locally made shoe shop. The sign on the cell phone store, “Operation Un Beninois Un Portable” roughly translates to “A cell phone for each Beninoise”. Cell phones and cell phone stores are ubiquitous. Most people have a cell phone. Lots of people carry multiple cell phones, each with a sim card from a different cell phone company to maximize coverage. Land lines are rare. A Peace Corps volunteer who served here ten years ago and recently returned to visit said that the proliferation of cell phones is perhaps the biggest differences between Benin now and Benin ten years ago.

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