Monthly Archives: June 2013

Drawing Pump Water

Drawing Pump Water

Water from a tank (see yesterday’s post) is usually filtered and drawn from a covered well so is cleaner than normal well water. In addition, its much easier to fill a basin or a bucket from a tap than to pull up buckets of water from a deep well. Thus, homes with water tanks sell the water to neighbors. Jen and I pay 10 cfa ($0.02) per bucket that we use for drinking water. Jen and I carry our bucket with the attached handle as done in the US. Most Beninese carry their buckets and basins on their heads as seen below. When I try to carry our bucket like that, half of the water sloshes out onto my head to the amusement of my neighbors.

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Running Water

Running Water

Running water inside of one’s house is still rare in Benin. My estimate is that less than 10% of people in our town, only 15 minutes from Benin’s capital of Porto Novo, have running water. Like Jen and I, many people draw water from a well. As there is no city water system, running water is achieved by pumping water from a well up into a tank like this.

Profile: Eugenie Assiba Agoli-Agbo

Eugenie Assiba Agoli-Agbo

Name: Eugenie Assiba Agoli-Agbo

Age: 58

Occupation: High School Assistant Principal

Lives With: Her daughter, age 31, and son-in-law, age 34

When I think of America, I think: The US is the biggest force in the world. It is the strongest economy in the world. There are lots of resources there. Because of American films and television, we see lots of images of violence, theft and drugs. Students use guns to kill people in schools. We’ve seen that on the news.

Americans should know about Benin: Benin is a country of about nine million people in West Africa. We share a border with Nigeria, Togo, Burkina Faso and Niger. Our country covers about 114,600 square kilometers. In the north, we have mountains. In the south, we have forests. We are a nation of more than 80 ethnic groups, each with a unique language and culture.

Languages spoken: Torri, Dengbi, Mina, Yoruba, Goun, Fon, French, English, Spanish

Education: High school diploma plus five-year teaching certificate and professional license.

Help from the Neighbors

Jen with Neighbors

Unless they are at school, our neighbors’ kids are in the yard doing chores and playing from dawn until bedtime. They get particularly excited to help the adults in our compound with work. Jen’s use of the mortar and pestle to grind some spices was a well attended event.

Anywhere Benin

Photo by Lynsey McGarry

Photo by Lynsey McGarry

The colors, landscape, flora and architecture in this photo are how I will remember Benin. A friend took this on a multiday bike trip we took. I’m not sure where this is but it could have been taken almost anywhere in the country.