Tuesday, August 24, 2021

2021 Travel the World - Week 33

I started a 50-week series in 2019 that I called Travel the World. Each week of the series I visited a randomly-selected country, sharing bits of information about that country. I then chose one tidbit of information about that week's country as inspiration for a card. As I explored those 50 countries in 2019, I knew I would continue on until I've visited every one of the 195 countries in the world, so I continued the series in 2020 and here I am in 2021, the third year of traveling the world. 

This week's country is...

Benin

The Republic of Benin is a small West African country. It covers an area of 44,310 square miles and is home to about 11 million people.

Benin is bordered by Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east, and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north.

It is the 100th largest country in the world in terms of land area 

In terms of area, Benin is slightly smaller than Pennsylvania. 

The country measures about 202 miles at its widest point.

It gained independence from the French on August 1, 1960 and celebrates independence day on August 1st every year.

Formerly known as French Dahomey (or Dahomey), on November 30, 1975 it was renamed Benin, after the body of water on which the country lies.

Benin is one of the most politically stable countries in the West Africa.

The terrain of the country is mostly flat to undulating plain with some hills and low mountains.

The country has about 75 miles of coastline.

Benin’s only seaport and international airport are in Cotonou, which is also the largest city in the country.

While other West African countries export oil and cocoa, Benin's largest export is cotton. It accounts for 80% of its exports.

The high prices of legal petrol forces the locals to buy it illegally for cheap. Petrol is illegally sourced from Nigeria and is sold in the country. Petrol stations are scarce in the country.

Mont Sokbaro is the highest point of Benin, with an altitude of 659 meters, or 2,159 feet. It’s located on the border between Benin and Togo, and is part of the Atakora Mountains.

Forest cover accounts for 40% of the land and agriculture accounts for 35%.

Benin is a tropical nation that’s highly dependent on agriculture, with substantial employment and income coming from subsistence farming.

The country has fields of lying fallow, mangroves, and remnants of large sacred forests. In the rest of the country, the savanna is covered with thorny scrubs and dotted with huge baobab trees.

Because of the extreme heat during the summers in the country, people tend to wear jackets to protect their skin from burns.

The village of Ganvie, located on Lake Nokoue in Benin, has been dubbed the “Venice of Africa” as it was built entirely on stilts.

There is at least one open-air market in every town of the country.

With a median age of just 17 years old, Benin has the 10th youngest population in the world. Almost 65% of the population is under 25 years old.

People generally eat rice, vegetables, and meat. Food is prepared at least twice a day. A variety of fish is eaten in the south while beef is more popular in the north.

Young Beninese like to eat packaged food items that are mostly imported. They perceive their traditional diet as monotonous and like to eat imported food, instead.

Unlike in most parts of the world, snakes in Benin are revered, particularly the Royal pythons. They even eat and sleep in people homes. (FYI, news sources say that Royal Pythons are not dangerous.)

The Temple of Pythons is in Benin. It has 50 Royal Pythons. The Temple measures 130 square feet.

It is considered a sign of good fortune if a snake crosses one’s path.

Benin is also home to Fulani herders who move their livestock over long distances in search of grass. These herders are locally known as the Peul.

The largest religious group in Benin is Roman Catholicism, followed closely by Islam, Voodoo and
Protestantism.

The voodoo religion originated in Benin where National Voodoo Day is celebrated annually on January 10th.

Benin has a literacy rate of 38.4%.

Due to illiteracy levels, only 4.5% of the population can access and use the internet.

When leaving or entering a room in Benin, it is considered respectful to shake everyone's hand.

Benin has a high fertility rate with approximately 5 children per woman.

One of the largest collections of carved wood is found in Benin.

Benin woodcarvers are well known. Their work is extremely authentic. It is a tradition handed over from one generation to another spanning several centuries.

The country is famous around the world for its carved masks.

Crime rate is low in the country. However, theft is a problem and many wealthier homeowners generally hire a night watchman.

There are two national parks in Benin.

The Pendjari National Park lies in north western Benin, adjoining the Arli National Park in Burkina Faso. Named for the Pendjari River, the national park is known for its wildlife and is home to some of the last populations of big game like elephants, West African lions, hippopotamuses, buffalo and various antelopes in West Africa. The park is also famous for its richness in birds.

The W National Park is a major nation par in West Africa. It derives its name from the River Niger that meanders through the area in a shape like a "W". The park includes areas of three countries - Niger, Benin, and Burkina Faso - and is governed by the governments of all three of those countries. The park is known for its large mammals including aardvarks, baboons, buffalo, caracal, cheetahs, elephants, hippopotami, African leopards, West African lions, serval, and warthogs.

My inspiration for this week's card is based on this fact about Benin... People in Benin don’t like to be photographed as they believe that a photograph can be used to cast a spell or a curse.



Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp Sets: MFT Picture This and Red Rubber Designs It's Your Day stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Paper: Cougar 110# White and SU Calypso Coral CS and DP from my scrap file

Dies: MFT Stitched Rectangles and MFT Stitched Rounded Rectangles

Embellishments: SU Faceted Gems

3 comments:

  1. A fascinating country Jeanette - and a wonderful card too. Love the way you have added the two panels to the background
    Stay safe
    Blessings
    Maxine

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  2. Such a fabulous mix of papers, layout, and image on this sensational card, Jeanette! Benin is a country I have not heard of before! Thanks for expanding my knowledge.

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  3. Very interesting facts here! Your card is super cute and even more fun when you think about how this country views pictures! Hugz

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