It’s been 3 months since I arrived in Natitingou so it is time to give you news of the project.
To be true, the past weeks have put a strain on my patience. I will spare you the details but we could summarize the whole evolution of the project with the saying “one step forward, two steps back”.
To give you a glimpse of the difficulties, let’s talk about land acquisition. Foreigners cannot acquire land in rural Benin, so we have to contract a lease with the owner. There is also no land register in Benin which means it is impossible to be absolutely sure of the agreement reached. It is the responsibility of the owner to obtain a Customary Property Attestation which requires a prior field investigation with a town crier so that third parties have the opportunity to claim their rights to the land if they also consider themselves to be the owners. A topographic survey is also required, while all accredited surveyors’ offices are based in Cotonou or southern Benin. Finally, it is necessary to obtain a Status Certificate, proof that the land does not belong to the State. When all these documents are produced, we can proceed to the signing of the lease.
So far, we did the topographic survey a month ago, but we had to stop working with the surveyor and have to start all over again. Plans are now signed but they have to come all the way from Cotonou to Natitingou. we hope on this Wednesday.
On the other parts of the project, we did receive all documents related to the creation of the company and we can say loud and clear that One World Together SARL was born in Benin!!!
To deal with administrative delays, we plan to start organizing small trips / motorcycle hikes if only to cover part of the expenses related to my presence in Benin since the resources of the project are far from inexhaustible. Thus the real bad news is that We won’t be able to build the entire lodge before rain starts, which means a part of it has to be postponed after October!
The other good news is that two friends who help me on the project came: Thomas, stayed a month to take the temperature but mostly help me drafting the lease, and Boris then accompanied us a fortnight and took care of the realization of a small video clip to promote motorcycle tours.
The heat is beginning, normally also announcing the first rains in April … I have not seen a drop of water falling from the sky since November 12th.
As usual, here are some pictures too.
I hope to rewrite you soon with a lot of good news,