When you talk about Benin, no one knows what you're talking about.

It's a whole new world; it's a dream I begin to doubt I even dreamt. It's a lonely planet write up that doesn't being to touch the surface of the richness and barrenness of this unknown land. I love it. I hate it. It's a place where waking up to the sound of drumbeats passing in the night is commonplace. It's a place where everyone greets their neighbor and men can touch each other in public.

It is a place filled with so much life that it slaps you in the face every day, that you are forced to breathe it in along with the heat and dust and noise of passing motorcycles, the music in the distance and the children shouting as you pass: yovoh! o-ibo!! WHITE! It is a place where children reach up to touch your hand with a swollen belly filled with the common meal of pâte - flour and water, cooked and cooled. No one dies of starvation that I know of.

It is a place with a rich and fascinating history, a people filled with pride and music, a land where everything is red like the earth or green like the lush foliage. It's a land of picturesque landscapes and always some deeper mystery lurking under the surface.

That's Bénin.