Return to Toronto after an unforgettable trip
By Ludiwine Clouzot
January 30, 2015 – Summary of trip to Benin
It’s hard to summarize in one article everything that happened on my trip to Benin. It was enriching from both a professional and personal point of view. I’ll never forget this first stay in Africa and I hope to be able to return to Benin soon.
This trip would not have been so much fun—or even have been possible—without Mélaine and her incredible family. They welcomed me instantly and I very quickly felt right at home. Thank you for everything you did to make this an unforgettable trip and allow me to discover authentic Beninese culture.
I particularly would like to thank Mélaine for her exceptional organization of activities, papa Awassi for helping us benefit from his contacts and coming with us on all our travels and Arnaud for all the photos and videos he took.
I also experienced the warmth of Beninese hospitality outside the Awassi family. In the schools, we were welcomed with songs or dances, and sometimes the whole school gathered in the yard just for us. It was so moving, each time I had shivers and tears in my eyes.
In Djougou and in Pobé, our stay was completely coordinated by the municipalities, and hosted by the organizers. Often, food and drink was provided to enliven the meetings. NGOs also received us with open arms.
To better understand Beninese culture and see how Ecoloodi could help, it was important that I live like a Beninese would. So I adopted the famous traditional dress. I noticed right away that the Beninese really appreciated it and it made our exchanges easier.
Mélaine had me taste a great variety of Beninese dishes and I can assure you they are all excellent. I learned how to cook a few, especially my favourite, pounded yam, the preparation of which is very athletic.
New projects for Ecoloodi
I’m coming back from this trip full of new ideas for Ecoloodi. Educating children about water was received with lots of enthusiasm and teachers are ready to help us develop new teaching tools adapted to their needs.
Education is seen by Beninese as the key item towards living healthier lives. Certainly when it comes to water, and the environment generally, there is work to do and numerous problems but each small action can make a difference and it is education that problems will be resolved completely and for the long term.
We have formed a great team with Mélaine and I can guarantee that you’ll be hearing about some new projects soon. Stay in touch!
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