Years 10 and 11 Geography field trip to Akpakpa Dodomey
Adam Assou, Year 11
On Wednesday, October 12th, 2016, Years 10 and 11 took a trip to Akpakpa Dodomey. The intention was to view the difference between our community and the community over there and how their lifestyle, education and quality of life differ from ours. So, at 10:15 our class teacher, Mrs. Akinwumi accompanied us on the trip and our journey began.
The first realization that came into perspective was that the lifestyle in Akpakpa Dodomey differed from my own. The area was notably poverty stricken evidenced by the majority of the houses that were unpainted, which is a scam used in Benin to avoid paying taxes while providing shelter. In addition, the shelters and huts were built with cheap materials just so that people can have a roof over their heads and enough money for food. At some point a landlord named Ben acknowledged us and was kind enough to show us his area. Ben’s area housed five families, with each shelter made out of tin, bamboo and straw, and the rent was simply ten thousand francs CFA. What struck my attention was the lack of tap water. Instead, the five families shared a well, which proved my point on the ill-equipped utilities.
Another valid observation was the variance in education. At E.I.S., Years 10 and 11 are combined and only make up fifteen students, while as in the public school there, the students in one class are over forty-five in number. In the public school the students are clustered in groups of three per bench and have neither air conditioner nor fan, just open ventilation. In our school we have so much space, yet when someone approaches to sit down we sometimes complain while remaining seated in our air conditioned room. In our Years 10 and 11 the ages range from fourteen to sixteen, but at the public school in Year 5 it ranges from nine to fourteen. Basically, the education standards in Akpakpa Dodomey are low, and this is due to the poverty and inactivity of the students’ attendance. Many students have to help their family so that they have basic necessities like food or water, and even then, sometimes they don’t obtain them.
Finally, I monitored their quality of life. Every area we visited had poor sanitation; there was so much trash littered that it turned the sand grey. There were different districts in Akpakpa Dodomey, but the one we visited was the Ghanaian district, which meant people migrated from Ghana to come to Benin. Their means of income was fishing, since they were near the coast. That same coast had been through coastal erosion due to the destructive waves taking away sand and not placing it back ashore. Furthermore, the Ghanaian district had numerous children due to poor family planning. Although there was a school available in the district, not every child attended; the fees were only two thousand francs CFA, but many parents still couldn’t or wouldn’t pay.
In conclusion, there is a vast gap between the life in Akpakpa Dodomey and the life in Haie Vive, for example. Akpakpa Dodomey suffers from overcrowding, poverty, poor sanitation and cheap accommodations. This field trip was very informative because it wasn’t just printed words in a textbook; it was reality...their reality.