Women of Benin2

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Women of BeninWest Africa: 

Women of Benin West Africa As seen by Netiva Caftori 2004

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First impressions: 

First impressions Colorful bombas and boubous, all traditional dress. Babies on back. A load on the head. Beautiful balanced walk. Feeling mostly good about their looks. Cooking and selling along the route. Mostly women in market places.

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My women students: 

My women students Few female students in science and math Well respected by peer Mostly single DESS: Nike, Marlene Doctorate: Laure, Uguette Engineering: Pelagie Computer science: Nellie Math instructor: Atinuke

Wives of colleagues: 

Wives of colleagues Not equal partners Some are from polygamist families Many are business women on their own Usually they are not academicians Girls are there to help mothers Girl slaves under disguise

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Children: 

Children Always held and carried on backs as babies and young children by mothers or siblings Very happy and content Big families. Many orphans Children are often raised by other family members, elsewhere Many mothers don’t talk to their children Work at a young age to learn a trade despite compulsory education

Children: 

Children

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Rural women: 

Rural women The feudal system is predominant Many kids are encouraged: They are the wealth of the family. Women are mostly home with children and chores, but Some women work the fields and manage the farm with the help of loans. Uneducated.

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Education: 

Education 50% of the population is not educated (analphabets), or illiterate. Most 'educated' ones do not finish high school. Many dialects. In school one learns French. Some study abroad through grants. Grant money is hard to come by. Visas to leave the country are hard to get. The rich, usually are educated.

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Politics: 

Politics Kerekou is the same president in the last three regimes Old French colony French are still there committed Some but very few women in politics People close to the government get the money Corrupted regime, but peaceful and safe country

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Health: 

Health My own story: Torn ligament Broken crown Broken glasses Unsafe water Life expectancy = 50 Preemie story Malaria Typhoid fever Bend back to do laundry or clean No garbage cans Pollution Beautiful teeth

Family life: 

Family life Red earth stone or cement brick houses Life happens mostly in interior court yards No running toilets most times No paved roads: Hens, goats, and pigs run free Cooking on a small charcoal stove Mostly no refrigeration, no electricity Zem, taxi or foot transportation

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Life celebrations: 

Life celebrations Communions (confirmation) Births Weddings Funerals Dance on Sunday nights Salsa on Wednesday Dinners at home or mackys Voodoo celebrations

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Meals: 

Meals Everyone is invited to join if dinner time Women prepare all day with the help of neighbors Fresh fish, chicken or meat Staple food: manioc, corn, rice, potatoes, platens, served with sauce made of hot peppers, pimento, special red dates and tomatoes No desert most times Beer or wine (vine, palm, corn) Eat with hands or silverware Dishes washed by hand. Sometimes share dishes (guests eat first).

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My friends: 

My friends Radegonde: cashier Pauline: artist, crafts Janine: crafts, seller Guirlaine: tennis, shop Jocelyn: jurist

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Professions: 

Professions Most women are selling and buying in markets Hair dressers/ Manicurists Lawyers or jurists Seamstresses Midwives Secretaries Librarians Financial bankers Computer teachers

Customs: 

Customs Phones are extremely expensive so people buzz you and hang up. People are often late or just don’t show up. Houses are not decorated, and usually walls are in need of paint.

Religion: 

Religion 30% are Muslims: women are head covered 20% are Christians 50% voodoos Most people still practice voodoo which is not just a religion but a culture and a way of life. Old secrets though are dying with an aging population of wise men. Women are left out, though they do consult the féticheur.

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The weather: 

The weather Two rainy seasons, water flocks, people just don’t go out. Temperature drops from 90 to 80 and people wear coats. One dusty season when the Armattan, wind from the Sahal desert blows. All is white. Sun is red most day. This lasts one to 2 months. Everything is very dry then. In Burkina Faso in April, it was 100-110 degrees everyday.

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Summary: 

Summary Women hold their place in society, mostly second to men Advances are slow to come by In educated families women are becoming closer to men We have lots to learn from Africa. Concentrate on their cultural wealth. There is hope

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