My sister and I have been planning a trip together for years.
It has always been a trip through Africa. She loves Africa — has lived there for three years, and studied there for half of one.
When I tell her that Africa is too large to call by one name, she reminds me that she knows more of the continent than I do. And, she adds — the immensity is reason enough to keep returning.
After four years of this back-and-forth, one or the other of us backing out, we are here. We landed on the Northern tip of the continent — Tangier, Morocco.
My sister Christina and I both read Americanah at the same time. Since I never got around to writing a full review of it, I asked Christina to share her thoughts. Since she lived in Benin, a country neighboring Nigeria, I feel she has a more interesting perspective on this title. I enjoyed it quite a bit, and “Americanah” did make my list of “11 Books That Will Kickstart Your Wanderlust.” Here are Christina’s thoughts:
This was the first book I had read of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s, though I knew of her as a strong female Nigerian author. I was quite impressed and my “want to read” list on Goodreads now contains all of her books.
Adichie does a remarkable job of weaving together many different experiences of identity, coming of age, race, love, and the idea of “home” in this compelling novel.
Click to read on:
Last week, you heard Dan’s arguments against becoming a digital nomad straight out of college.
It just doesn’t do to talk someone out of something without providing a suggestion for an alternative, so today I’ll tell you about why joining the Peace Corps straight out of college is a great idea if you have a wandering spirit but you don’t think the digital nomad lifestyle is for you.
[ed. note: I’m off exploring Taipei. Our ski town correspondent is skiing pow. In the meantime, here’s a guest post about general travel in Benin, West Africa. The writing’s courtesy of my sister, who served 2.5 years of Peace Corps service there. It’s a fascinating piece—I guarantee you will learn something new!]
I am a geography nerd who loves maps and learning about the world, so I knew about the country called Benin, but I probably would never have visited had the Peace Corps not invited me to serve there. (More on Peace Corps service later!)
Benin was colonized by the French, and there is still a small contingent of French voluntourists who visit the country, but in the English-speaking world, it is largely unknown. It deserves more recognition.
Benin is a small, key-shaped (or so they say) nation on the coast of West Africa. It is bordered on the east by Nigeria, and on the west by Togo (which is one country over from Ghana, perhaps the best-known West African nation and a poster-child for international development).
Yes, you will need to have some French language skills to get by here. Very few people speak English. Though once you get out of the capital, you’ll find that many of the people you encounter don’t speak French either. They will be thrilled to teach you a few phrases in the local language, though.
Here are some interesting facts about Benin and advice for your travels there.