CIAMO is a center founded by Anglophone Americans, and though the name DuPont might be deceptive, as soon as any of us start speaking, it’s pretty clear that we’re not French. This is why we were particularly proud when the Maison de la Francophonie invited us to participate in French Language week this year. CIAMO is truly an international center and we recognize the important role that a common language like French plays in cultural sharing in a country with over 40 ethnic groups. So, we signed up!
All of the activities that took place for the French Language week involved “les dix mots,” a list of 10 words with the overall theme of “solidarity.” These ten words can be roughly translated as “hands,” “welcoming,” “chord,” “team-work,” “with,” “trustworthy,” “familial love,” “harmoniously,” “chorale,” and “to form a network.” Six high school students used ‘slam’ to express their understanding of the words while three groups of local musicians wrote songs relating to one or two of the words presented. The students of primary school Ganvé presented their understanding of the 10 words in living sculptures.
Before and after the variety show, the beautiful library of Ganvewas open for an art exposition that reflected the 10 words. Photographers from our photography class had their photos displayed and students had collages that they had created to represent each of the 10 words out for viewing as well.
Altogether, the afternoon was a great success where the population of Ouidah was able to learn and celebrate the solidarity that comes with having a uniting language. Thanks is also due to our collaborators, La Maison de la Francophonie, located in Cotonou. Enjoy the photos and look for a special section in our March video about the event!