By: Zandria Johnson

 In June 2019, 18 volunteers visited the country of Benin to give back to the community. Here are the top 5 questions about the trip, answered!

Q: What did you do there?

A: The root of the trip consisted of teaching sessions at ISM Adonaï University on software engineering, design thinking, podcasting, and entrepreneurship. Additionally, we installed solar panels, distributed technology to local villages, and donated to two orphanages. We also supported local businesses around the city by purchasing goods, food, and souvenirs at various markets.

Q: What is the native language/were the students able to understand English?

A: The native language of Benin is French. The students that we taught, however, were from Nigeria and understood English. Many local CodeToHope team members are bilingual and translated for those of us who do not speak French.

Q: Where did you stay?

A: We stayed in a hotel called “Djibson Hotel” located in a quieter part of the city of Cotonou, Benin. It had AC, Wi-Fi, a pool, and an indoor restaurant but what sets this hotel apart from the rest is the beach that sits on the Gulf of Guinea, within walking distance of the hotel.

Q: What was the food like?

A: We mostly ate chicken, fish, lamb, and beef for the meats, which came prepared in various forms. We also had plantains, rice, brochettes (i.e. skewers) and pasta, flavored with many spices. For beverages, ginger juice—this can cure anything, I swear—pineapple juice, and bottled water were staples in the community. There were various street foods and snacks as well. My favorite dish was fish brochettes and rice topped with stew.

Q: What is the experience like in Benin?

A: From the moment we arrived, there was a sense of community that we experienced right away. Throughout our visit, we witnessed hard-working families coming together and the happiness that comes with being fully immersed in the culture of Benin which includes good food, music, and dancing.