Cotonou, Benin, --- November 15,2015

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January 13th 2016
Published: January 13th 2016
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The entrance into the Sacred Voodoo Forest

Togo and Benin are the original home of Voodoo. What better opportunity to visit a sacred forest, see some voodoo statues, watch a voodoo dance and meet the chief priest. One discovery from this visit was that statues that I had previously seen and assumed they were just African art turned out to have been voodoo statues. After antiquating ourselves with voodoo we were off to the Temple of Sacred Pythons. Snakes are considered to be good in voodoo.

The Portuguese were the first to arrive in Benin, followed by the French, English, Dutch etc. All built forts to protect their share of the slave trade. With the exception of the Portuguese all the forts were destroyed. In 1990, the Benin government asked that the Portuguese fort be returned to Benin. The Portuguese refused and were given 32 hours to vacate, so they burnt down the principal residence when they left (poor losers). Since then it has been restored. The fort was a major holding centre awaiting ships to carry the slaves away. We stopped at the 'Gate of No Return', once a person pasted this point there was no hope of returning to Africa.

I don't know if it was because of what happened in Paris or if there was another reason, but each of the two buses we had on the tour had an armed police man, plus we were led about by a police truck with six armed police.

One particular thing that was noticeable was how many people were selling gasoline in wine bottles or large jug. The government taxes gas at petro stations. Next door to Benin is Nigeria, people cross the border buy large quantises and come back to Benin and then resell it for less than the government stations.

Additional photos below
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Statue of the God of Fertility

The Gate of No Return -- At this spot the slave traders had to pay a tax to the African King for each slave they were transporting

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