Kitty Voodoo Protection – photos

I previously wrote about how pet owners in Benin protect their animals from being taken and used in Vodoun (aka Voodoo aka the local animist religion) ceremonies: they cut off a tip of the ear or tail, so that the animal is no longer “perfect” and therefore of no ceremonial value. Below are some photos of my host family’s newest cat, Minou.

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Photo Update to Voting Post

I posted a while back about how a country deals with voter registration¬†when the majority of the population is illiterate. Now that I have fast internet and no grant proposals to take up my internet time, I have a photo update to that post. Below is an example of a voter registration location. It’s occasionally used as a Koranic school, and on school days you can often find students there, relaxing during breaks from school if they live too far to walk home for lunch.

Unfortunately a petite accidentally deleted the close-up photo of the registration rolls, which is mostly just a black and white photocopied head shot, I believe taken from the national ID card photo rolls, a name, and a village/neighborhood.

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Camp GLOW: now with 100% more photos!

I’ve finally finished my month and a half of crazy traveling, AND now own a computer that has the letter “e.” Yes, this entire time I’ve been writing my posts on a laptop while having to copy-paste every time I wanted to use an “e.”

In any case, I now have enough internet to finally share some of the fabulous photos from Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World). Once again, a huge thank you to all who donated to make camp possible. The 51 girls are poised to become leaders of their communities, and they are the future leaders of Benin and of the world!DSCF0415

(above) The girls show off their new mosquito nets, which they got to take home!DSCF0434

(above) Showing off our arts and crafts project – tie dye!

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(above) playing games during down time

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(above) Taking notes at the field trip to the Royal Palace of Porto-NovoDSCF3504

(above) game time in the evenings

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(above) PCV John helps girls with tie dye.

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(above) one of our amazing tutrices (role model/counselor) works with her teamIMG_0348

(above) PCV Taylor, our “energy specialist” since she always has fun songs and games ready to go at a moment’s notice!

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(above) Strutting their stuff during our fashion show!IMG_0402

(above) Dance Party!

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(above) showing off the fabulous outfits we found at the local market.IMG_0442

(above) learning about their history at the Royal Palace

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(above) one of our tutrices, who is training to be a health professional, adds comments and information during a session on family planning.

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(above) PCV Mike leads a session on family planning, where each of the girls had the opportunity to practice how to put on a condom – in this case a glue bottle standing in for the phallus.

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(above) a PCV “men’s panel” where girls had the opportunity to have real men debunk myths (such as “it’s impossible for a man to be faithful” or “if a man doesn’t have sex regularly, he will die”)

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(above) PCV games master John supervises a relay race/tag.

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(above) PCVs getting in on the action for a wheelbarrow race

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(above): Career Panel! Girls got the opportunity to speak to women in professional roles about their jobs, their education, and if it’s really possible for a Beninese woman to have a career and a family (hint: it is!)

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(above) the Blue Team speaks with one of our career panelists

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAlots of smiles at Camp GLOW!

Happy Belated International Women’s Day!

Most Americans are probably not aware that yesterday was International Women’s Day, but in Benin, it is a big deal.

Development will only come with full and equal treatment of women, including through supporting women’s health and safety. And this will only come with the participation of men in the fight to achieve full participation of women in the workplace and in the home.

I have many, many more thoughts on gender and development, but for now I’ll just say Happy Women’s Day! I leave you with a photo of the “Women of Daagbe” from last year’s cultural day celebrations: myself, my neighbor/a French teacher, the librarian, and the school secretary. All of whom, since the photo was taken, have given birth to healthy babies!

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