Abomey, benin

about the community

Abomey is the historical capital city of the republic of Benin in West Africa. The town covers 54 square miles and has 78,000 people.  It has a wonderful rich culture known for 12 famous palaces, each belonging to one of the 12 different kings that ruled the country from 1600's to 1900 (Ghézo, Glèlè, Behanzin, Agadja, Houégbadja just to name a few). The brilliant civilization which characterized Abomey in the past is still a very important part of the daily culture making it a UNESCO world heritage. The largest Benin museum is located in Abomey and also houses the artisan market. The country of Benin is known to be a peaceful and beautiful place to visit filled with warm and inviting people. Like all communities, Benin has faced challenges which you can learn more about from  the students of Abomey and their teacher Charlemagne Edjekpoto who works directly with the students and runs programs that support education in Benin.

  • About the community
  • A story without paper?
  • The birthplace of Voodoo
  • The Challenges 

Abomey’s culture is the richest in the country and also appreciated in international exhibitions and performances. In Abomey, some families specialize in specific arts  like  sculpture, weaving, and ironwork.  In the past, most  things were made only for the kings but today,  the museum yard has become an artisan market where hand crafts are sold. This is very popular for tourists.  

The children of Abomey are warmly connecting with tourists and want to share their culture and learn about others. 

The local children like to learn the arts from the local merchants. Here 3 boys are learning how to sew a decorative felt hat.

The original empire was a society without written documents, so decorative bas-reliefs were used on the palace walls, illustrating the most significant events of the empire, including the wars they won and customs and rituals.

Can you think of other civilizations from history that used painting to share stories from one generation to the next?  Ancient Egyptians, American Indians, Christian Churches, Islamic Mosques, Buddhist Temples are  just a few examples. Take some time to research the art from these amazing and diverse cultures that all used paintings on walls to share their story.

Did you know that Abomey, Benin is the birthplace and center of voodoo worldwide? Voodoo is a community-centered religion and supports individual experience, empowerment and responsibility. Those who practice Voodoo believe that there is a visible and an invisible world, and that these worlds are intertwined. Voodooists believe that death is a transition to the invisible world, so loved ones that have died are still with us in spirit. They watch over and inspire us. 

In addition to our ancestors and loved ones we knew in life, the invisible world is also filled with spirits that have different personalities. they are called Lwa, and they are looked up to for inspiration as well. Below are  painted examples of some of these spirits.

These students enjoyed sharing the local culture and customs of thwir community in Abomey, Benin. Zangbeto and the other spirits of Voodoo  are an important part of their culture and they are proud to share. As a night watchman and spirit, sometimes Zangbeto may seem a bit scary, but using 3DuxDesign modeling sets and their own local recycled materials, these students were able to show a more fun and playful side of their religion. 

 The Lwa are represented by masks with names: egun egun, Zangbeto...Here, the students wish to share an example of the Zangbeto. Zangbeto is one of the most famous spirits and functions in Benin much like a policeman. Zangbeto is a night watchman and catches criminals in the night.

Fun fact #1: Kenya is known for the wide array of wildlife animals especially the big five; Lion, Elephant, Rhino, Leopard and Buffalo. These are the most dangerous animals in planet earth.

Fun fact #2: Mbita is a cultural name depicting a shallow water canal/land. It is believed that River Nile starts flowing from two of the eight small islands of Mbita in the heart of Lake Victoria (The world’s 2nd largest fresh water body). Unfortunately, it is hard to rescue people who fall into the canals because of the rough currents.

The Challenges 

Fun fact #3: While Kenya is know for the big five, they also have domestic animals like; Donkey, dogs, cats. These animals help with daily tasks; for example, donkeys help with water collection and carrying heavy luggages. Sometimes, they fix two donkeys in a cart and have them carry heavy luggage. Dogs help by keeping wild cats, hyena and human intruders away in addition to hunting. Cats are helpful in keeping harmful animals like snakes, rats and other dangerous insects away from the home. You may not think that bugs can be dangerous but in Africa, mosquitos actually kill more people than lions! That is because they can give you an infection called Malaria. But if you come to visit Africa, don't worry because there are medicines that can prevent yo from getting malaria.

design  •  build  •  share • collaborate

Architecture, Design Thinking, and the 3Dux Creators

Architecture brings open-ended creativity and design thinking to traditional STEM learning. 

We are a team of designers, educators,  architects, engineers, artists and other thought leaders having some serious fun educating the next generation. Our project-based workshops inspire children to define problems, collaboratively explore solutions, create, and reevaluate. 3Dux classes incorporate a wide range of topics including sustainability,  urban planning, and social equity for a more holistic approach to STEM learning.

NYU Medical School trained pediatrician and co-developer of 3DuxDesign, Marci Klein, M.D. brings over 20 years experience in both clinical and academic medicine with a focus on community health, patient education, and early childhood development

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