Posted October 26, 2016
Today is a public holiday in a very small African nation.
Benin is a small country next to better-known Nigeria, in Western Africa next to the Atlantic Ocean. It's a tropical nation, and it's quite poor. Most people are involved in simply growing the foods that they themselves, and their families, need. This is called subsistence agriculture.
This is in contrast to the sort of big-farm agriculture we find in many advanced nations. Many farmers around the world grow cash crops that they will mostly sell to others...whether it's oranges in Florida or raspberries in Serbia, olives in Sparin or rice in India, coffee in Brazil or flowers in Uganda.
In Benin, people might grow yams, millet, corn, rice, cassava, peanuts, and cabbage. And they might eat all or almost all of the yams, millet, corn, rice, cassava, peanuts, and cabbage they grow!
Here are some unusual things about Benin:
Apparently there are not enough licensed petrol stations in the country – and the licensed stations charge more for gasoline than the same product costs in next-door Nigeria. Because of that, a bunch of people started buying petrol in Nigeria and illegally transporting it to Benin, where they undersell the legit product.
That's a really dangerous situation, actually, because the petrol smugglers typically carry the flammable stuff in any old container; if they have an accident, the petrol often explodes!
Petrol traffickers are even called human bombs because they go “boom” so often!
The biggest cash crop in Benin is cotton.
And cotton is made up into gorgeous fabrics, and gorgeous fabrics are made up into amazing fashions!!!
Ganvie is Benin's “lake village.”
Ganvie is home for about 20 thousand people. Stilt houses, wading, and boats are all common there, and the people who live in the village fish for wild fish, grow farmed fish, collect pineapples and other fruits, and – most of all – welcome tourists!
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