Advocate Linda Ellis in Benin

June 11, 2012

Benin

I went to visit the deaf Christian private school in Benin.   They have about 45 students.  Only 2nd/3rd graders and 4th/5th graders are combined into one classroom because of lack of teachers of the deaf.  Most of the students do wear hearing aids.  Some students live at the school because the school is too far from their home.  They go home on weekends.  Bottom middle picture, this teacher is deaf and is teaching first grade.  They use workbooks, not like Burkina Faso deaf school.  Their signing is a little different than Burkina Faso, but I was able to catch on to what they were signing about.

Stilt Museum

This is the place where the African slaves were caught by the King.  The first picture upper left, once you go through that, you don’t come back.  They were sent to America or other countries.  Bottom last picture is where the slaves were sold.  David and I took a motorcycle taxi.  I’m wading in the water.  Gosh, the water is so warm.  Quote John 1:16 said “From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.”  It was very interesting.

Stilt Village

This place is very unique.  It takes about twenty minutes to row from the city to the village and vice versa.  It costs around a dollar each way.  Bottom middle picture is where the people from the village work in the city and others pick up fruits and vegetables to sell in the village.  Top middle: his name is David.  He is my friend and also a translator.  He is learning English and did his best to interpret for me.  He also works with Pastor Lucien and Pastor Josque.  Top right:  People can only live their house for 15 years and then have to move out because the stilts get weaker.  They have to build a new house.  Bottom left and second row middle:  The children go and get water.  You can see the water containers in their boat.  Middle right:  I would like to challenge any of you to stay for a few days in this motel????  They have a hospital, a school, churches, and a souvenir store.  Many people fish on the lake.

Two presentations

First picture on the left is Pastor Lucien who is my friend and a translator.  I had unexpected presentations to give in Pakatou and Benin.  First, Pastor Lucien and I took an 8 hour bus ride to Pakatou for two days.  Before my trip, Pastor Josque asked me if I would talk to one of the pastors.  I said sure, no problem.  Anyway, about 2 miles before we arrived to Pakatou, we had a flat tire.  Pastor Lucien was able to contact his friend to pick us up.

When we arrived, Pastor Lucien asked me if I’m ready to give a presentation for the next day.  I said, “What presentation?”  Lucien said, “Didn’t Pastor Josque tells you?”  I’m like, “Well he said just to talk, but not presentation.”  I had to give a presentation about deaf ministry in Africa for one hour.  You all know me that I don’t do well giving a presentation.  I was in a nervous wreck!!!  Here I am with no information about this town and am writing about the deaf missionary on the PowerPoint.  There was no time for Pastor Lucien to look it over.  I sure prayed and asked God to replace my nervousness with confidence.  Pastor Lucien called me to give the presentation.  My heart was beating so fast.  When I started speaking, I felt so relaxed and was able to focus.  I was talking about how important it is for the deaf/hard of hearing and other challenged people to be involved in the church.  My quote was God gave us deaf/hh and other challenged people as a gift to teach you to accept, socialize and to have patience.  I was so proud of myself and so happy.

We came back to Benin that night.  David came over to see if I finished my other presentation.  Again, I said “What presentation?” “Didn’t Pastor Josque tell you?”  He said to talk, not the presentation.  What was I supposed to talk about?  He said toilet training.  I’m like, “Are you kidding? The children pee and poop anywhere they like to. They have no routines, and also many families do not have toilets in their homes, so how am I supposed to help these African moms?”  Pastor Lucien and David just smiled and said that they were leaving me and would see me in the morning.  It was 8 pm and I didn’t finish it till midnight.  I was going crazy trying to write.  Again, I had no information or clue what parents did for their child’s toilet training.  I had to brainstorm and imagine as if I was an African mom.  Pastor Lucien and David didn’t have to time to look it over.

We arrived and there were 30 ladies from the Women’s Group of the Church.  This was my biggest challenge of all.  Pastor Lucien translated into French and David translated into a local language.  Here I go.  One of the moms mentioned that most of the families do not have toilets in their homes.  I told them I was aware that they do not have toilets in their homes, but you can be creative how to toilet train your child.  Guess what? They loved it and want me to come back to talk about other things.  The quote I gave them was Proverb 22:6.

That week was amazing.  I had change to become more confident in myself.  Pastor Josque, Pastor Lucien, and David kept me very busy.  I thanked them for giving me the chance to get the experience in their ministry.   Isn’t God awesome???  I really had a great time in Benin.

Posted by Bill Walsh in AHI | No Comments

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