Week Three

9 06 2012
By Ben Ramsey
Sorry for taking so long to write a post!  Internet connection has been rough… Anyways, I’ve learned a lot since my last post.  I heard how loud rain can get on my tin roof.  I saw how kids here can climb around 30ft up into baobab trees outside my house.  I realized how startling it is to return home and find a rooster in my bedroom. Also, after getting caught outside in  a storm, I discovered how fast of a runner my Kabre (language here up north) translator can be, despite his age.  Several more interviews have also revealed more about youth migration, specifically migration to Benin.
While youth travel to Nigeria for year long stays, Benin appears to be a destination with only 1-2 month long durations. Students therefore use Benin as a quick way to make money for school during the summer.  One interesting discovery about Benin is that while boys can easily find month long work in the fields, girls have difficulty finding short term domestic work and therefore have less opportunities to find work to pay for school.  This could be one of the reasons that girls apparently drop out of school more often here. Benin appears to be a better deal than Nigeria on all levels. The compensation is significantly better (maybe twice as much in some instances). Money is equally divided among a waka (intermediary) that works with the people he guides. Migrants are also given food and shelter as opposed to the Nigerian situation of having to sort these issues out oneself.
The community seems to agree that it would rather have youth remain home, but I’m remaining open to the idea that travel abroad for work may not be negative.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, while youth going south do not return, youth going abroad to Benin or Nigeria often remain in the community afterwards.  Nigeria seems to be a bad deal, but word of this is spreading, and alternatives for work abroad, such as in Benin, could help youth and young adults receive an education or even save money for building a house here in the village from which I write.
See you next week!
-Ben Ramsey
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