By clicking any link on this page you are accepting the website's Terms and conditions. OK, I agree

Stories from the field


GVC - Gruppo di Volontariato Civile

This experience was not my first in West Africa. So I thought I was ready to deal with a new deployment. However, I did not consider the country which was ready to welcome me: Benin.

Since the end of March, I have worked in Cotonou, Benin, as a Junior EUAV Project Manager within WeWorld. Eight months in a shared house at the end of a crowdie street in front of the sea.

Before coming here, I was not concerned about the possible cultural shock caused by moving to another country, and I did not have one. However, Benin surprised me and asked me to question what I knew.

This experience challenged me from different points: people are different, the culture is different, the languages are multiple and working here means changing, again, your perspective. Here things happen following other rules and times, so hurry is not a solution: you can get your result, but you know you cannot run; you have to enjoy the path remembering that “On est ensemble”.

Working in Benin has meant learning how to respect time and cycle but, mostly, how valuable adaptation is: Benin is ready to welcome every person as soon as this person is willing to adapt and create a spot inside it with time and respect.

These eight months taught me much more than I could think: I improved my knowledge and expertise in cooperation; I learned the importance of representing someone every moment; I developed new skills. But mostly, I challenged myself; and I understand the importance of adaptation.

Benin and WeWorld were two great teachers. They aided me in confirming the future I want for myself. A “little” country, mostly unknown in Italy, ends up being my new starting point. Together with WeWorld, an organisation that welcomed me since the first day always saying: “rappelle-toi, on est ensemble”.

So forth, as I prepare myself to leave Benin and reach a new country, I can only say: “Énantchè nouwé*”.

Énantchè nouwé Benin, Énantchè nouwé WeWorld, Énantchè nouwé EU.

It will be impossible to forget this experience.


*Merci in Fon, the most spoken language in Benin.