How is the school in Benin?
The children in Benin start primary school at the age of six and attend it for six years. Those who then continue to school attend secondary school for four years. After another three years you can do the Abitur.
Not all children go to school
But only 47 of 100 children in Benin ever visit the primary school to the end, although compulsory education is for them. Some of the children who do not go to school have to work for their parents, others live in very remote villages where there is no school at all.
Only a quarter of boys (25 percent) and even only 13 percent of girls finish secondary school. 42 percent of people over the age of 15 cannot read or write; they are illiterate.
Teaching is in French. At home, many children initially only learn the language that is spoken there, for example Fon, Yoruba or Bariba – depending on which ethnic group their parents belong to. They only learn French at school. The school classes are very large, with 50 children or more in one class.
There are grades from zero to 20. Whoever reaches 18 to 20 is very good. A 10 is required to pass a test. Classes start at seven in the morning. The primary school students are at school until noon, the high school students until 7 p.m. That’s already a very long day!
What are schools like in Benin?
In the country, a school can simply be an open hut. They are not very weatherproof and if it rains a lot, it can drip into the “classroom”! But there are also schools in permanent buildings. Sometimes there are no benches in schools. Then every child has to bring a stool from home, otherwise they cannot sit. There is no play equipment in the schoolyards. There is still a lot going on during the break. Everyone is laughing, dancing and playing.
How are the children in Benin?
Sick and without clean water
Many more children die in Benin than in our country as babies or toddlers. Three out of 100 newborns die, six out of 100 one-year-olds and nine out of 100 five-year-olds! There are many reasons for this: not all of them have clean drinking water and then get sick. Many die from diarrhea. There are also diseases, especially malaria, from which children die. Doctors are far away and there are no medicines either.
About half of Benin’s population lives below the poverty line and has less than $ 1.90 a day to live on. It affects even more people in the countryside. They often don’t have enough to eat.
Benin was the first state in Africa to outlaw the circumcision of girls.
Another problem is that some children get married before they are 15 years old. In Benin this affects seven out of 100 girls. For those who were married at the age of 18, the proportion is even 26 percent (youngsters: 5 percent).
Child trafficking and child labor
Child labor remains a major problem in Benin, even though the number of working children has decreased. Children work for their parents or on plantations for strangers to whom they are like slaves. Traffickers buy their children from parents for little money and promise that their children will have it well. But that’s a lie. The number of working children in Benin is around 40 percent. These children are between 5 and 14 years old.
Children are also abducted to neighboring countries. They then have to work in quarries in Nigeria, for example, toil on plantations in the Ivory Coast and Togo or as maids and farms in Ghana and Guinea.
Eating in Benin
What do you eat in Benin?
Grain porridge is a staple food in Benin. In the south it is made from cornmeal and in the north from yams. One eats spicy sauces with it. They are often cooked from peanuts or tomatoes. Rice and beans are often on the menu.
If you have the money, you eat fish or meat with it: Chicken is eaten most often, but beef and goat meat are also popular. Incidentally, you can also find roasted opossum rats, monkeys and snakes. Fruit is in abundance, such as mangoes, oranges, bananas and pineapples.
Warm dishes are preferred to be eaten. Breakfast with bread or cornflakes is not known in Benin. Porridge or rice is eaten with the right hand and shaped into a ball. You then dip it in the sauce. A bowl of water is provided so that the hand is also clean or clean again after eating.
Wagasi cheese is a specialty in northern Benin. It is made from cow’s milk.