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Photographer's Note

Being my first trip to Benin (and to West Africa in general), my first impression of Cotonou - a city of about one million inhabitants - was that of chaos.

I was quick to see, however, that Cotonou was a particular type of chaos... it was a chaos that WORKED!

It worked in a way that was difficult for my Canadian mind to understand. Even so, it was quite clear to me that it worked well all the same.

I drew much inspiration from this newfound world of mine: seeing that it was so different from anything I had previously known, I became convinced that Cotonou has a lot of important lessons that the 'west' (or at least Canada) can learn from. After all, differences help us to better ourselves and our societies.

A couple of notes on the photo itself:

1) The drivers with yellow shirts are kekenos (bike-man). Kenenos and their zemidjans (motorcycle-taxis) are uniquely Beninese and very common in the country's urban areas. Notice the Kekeno on the far right, he is supporting an intitive to put all girls in school.

2) Also on the right, you can see a black canister with 450 marked on it. This is a gas station (notice the brown bottles on the stools). The price of gas is 450FCFA, which is very similar to the price way pay here in Canada (a dollar a litre). It is procured in a slightly different way though (Nigeria is very close).

PS: After three months in Benin, I don't think Cotonou is so chaotic any more.

Manamo, worldcitizen, BennyV has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Caleb Ficner (kwekwekan) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 127 W: 10 N: 165] (1022)
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