This is the man in charge of the centre’s functioning and relations with the Beninese society. “There’s no problem” is his favourite phrase and he is well known among Villa Karo’s scholarship holders and visitors for his warm presence and deep insight into the local culture. But don’t offer him any cold drinks! Since his first visit in Finland in November of 2002, he decided to never drink anything cold again… Kwassi is also one of our bloggers.
Chief of program
Sylvie’s the person who conducts the cultural program of Villa Karo. Her main responsibilities include booking artists for the monthly concerts and managing affairs related to the Finnish scholarship holders. Among Finns, she’s famous for her great sense of humour and love for dancing.
Alphonse, also known as “Général”, is in charge of moving people around and getting things. And he’s really good at it! You may easily relax and take a little nap while sitting in Alphonse’s van while he is driving on the tricky roads of West Africa. He also knows what’s going on in Benin. So, if you need information, something hard to find at the markets or to get to places, Alphonse is the right man for you.
“Riku”, as the man is known in Villa Karo, is in charge of the centre‘s finances. Originally from Lomé, Togo, Riku knows where to get those cool Togolese leather products. He is also the one who takes care of the scholarship holders’ bills. He loves to have conversations about what’s happening in the world and he knows something very important: where to get change for the zemidjans (motorcycle taxis) and restaurants. You’ll know what we mean once you get there…
Georgette has got a fantastic smile and amazing understanding in cross-cultural matters. If you have trouble understanding local customs, she’s there to help you. Georgette is also managing Villa Karo’s museum collections. Ask her to take you on a tour to the museum, you’ll hear many great stories and be much wiser on local culture afterwards!
Boniface keeps things working in Villa Karo. If something breaks down, he’ll fix it. He’s also a movie fan and takes part in choosing the movies for the weekly Friday movie night. And when Friday night comes, he operates the projector. “Boni” is a great chap who starts his day before dawn to work in his garden!
Villa Karo’s cook
Yvette loves cooking. You can easily tell that by tasting one of her dishes. She’s responsible of preparing breakfasts and sometimes lunches and dinners for the scholarship holders. A lovely lady, in fact so lovely that a painting of her made it to the cover of Villa Karo’s 10th anniversary book!
No more soap in the bathrooms? An ant invasion in the rooms? She’s the one keeping the place clean and tidy and the scholarship holders’ clothes clean. When you meet her, just to say “hello!” and you have got yourself a new friend.
Edoh Kodjo Amoussou
Edoh’s “bonjour!” along with his wide smile beats morning coffee in getting you in a good mood in the morning. His job is to keep the garden nice and green. He’ll gladly also show you how to make goats and sheep go away from eating the flowers in the garden, because that’s his work, too!
Papa Komlan Adanou
This man, little in frame but huge in heart, takes care of Villa Karo’s garden with Edoh. Meet him in Villa Karo or on Grand-Popo’s main street in the evening for a nice chat.
Aboubacar Boubé Amadou
“Boubé” as friends call him watches over the place as everybody else is resting. You’ll find him at night in the garden: if you have troubles, he’s always eager to give you a hand.
Abdoullai guards at daytime. He is a Fulani, originally from the Niger. When he sees you coming, he’ll always shout you warm-heartedly “Bonne arrivée!” (good arrival!) as the locals say to welcome people.