Blogs from Ouidah, South, Benin, Africa

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Africa » Benin » South » Ouidah January 10th 2017

Before I write about today's festivities, I would like to apologise for the brevity of yesterday's. I had a minor contact lens incident and so didn't do as much as I usually would. I will be watching the rest of the full procession later in the week. And will write more about it at the weekend. Fête du Vodoun is celebrated n Benin on 10th January. It is a national holiday that celebrates the country's Vodoun (voodoo) history. I have found a couple of videos from previous years showing different elements of the festival. It takes place all over the country, but especially in Ouidah, a coastal city. It's a relatively new festival, becoming a national holiday in 1996, but some of the traditions are ancient. The evening before the festival starts, the Zangbeto dances. Men ... read more

Africa » Benin » South » Ouidah June 16th 2011

Soft sand with crashing waves and coconut trees blowing in the breeze. The more you travel Africa the more mixed your emotions become. Sure you feel sorry for them but than you feel like its time for them to take ownership for their problems. Yes the western world requested slaves but how did they get them? And how did those slaves come to such a tranquil place? I arrived in Cotonou Benin’s capital not that impressed. Unlike Lome in Togo the capital here is a block or two from the beach. So instead of the pollution of the cheap Chinese motorbikes and other fumes escaping along the coast. There is no escape. No sea breeze from the low rise buildings. In fact my first claustrophobic thought was ‘Oh no this is not how I’m going to ... read more
2 - Abomey kids
3 - one of the statues along the road
4 - fertility statue

Africa » Benin » South » Ouidah November 23rd 2008

Benin, Benin, a stable democracy and what seems to be a good president investing in healthcare and education. lots of NGOs working all over the place,roads are crumbling and it doesn't seem any much better than it's dictator ridden neighbour that get no funding whatsoever, ok, not looking at numbers, just the visible signs. Granted, Lome in neighbouring Togo is really not tidy, if you see what I mean. Throughout my journey in Benin though, I was constantly bugged by one statistic, all the economic progress made by it is rendered null on a per capita basis because they have so many children!!!! so the population grows so fast that all the economic growth just goes to sustaining the current level and conditions the population lives in! talk about giving out free condoms!!! In fact, correct ... read more
Chemin des esclaves view of the marshes.
Ouidah, after the gate of no return.
Sign Language

Africa » Benin » South » Ouidah June 24th 2008

Our first stop in Benin was Grand Popo, a small beach town not far from the Togo border. Grand Popo has lots of hotels but seems to lack tourists this time of year. I think we were the only ones staying at the beautiful Auberge de Grand Popo; they were so desperate for our business that they invented a 25% Peace Corps discount. The Auberge has a beautiful beach with thatch shade huts and a swimming pool. It also has a beautiful outdoor restaurant that we couldn’t afford, but we found some great seafood in town. There are several kinds of fish and lots of lobster available. Each day we could watch see fishermen, 20 or so people working together to slowly tug a giant net up on to the beach. After a few days of ... read more

Africa » Benin » South » Ouidah April 27th 2008

Woke up thinking it was 10:00 when it was actually 11:00 because of the time change. Weird to think there's a time change when Benin is only 90 miles from the Ghanian border. We headed off to the Python Temple which is the voodoo place of worship. When we arrived there was a morning service taking place which was completely unexpected as we were informed the temple was more of a museum than anything else. It was really awkward walking in and I thought they would be osmewhat annoyed with us, however, they offered us chairs to sit down and observe the worship service. Voodoo worship even sounds different than any other African worship music. It's enchanting and feels like it's casting a spell on you. After the service we were escorted into a private room ... read more

Africa » Benin » South » Ouidah February 25th 2008

The House of Joy We could not miss a visit to Justine during our journey in Benin. We knew that she was giving a shelter to some women who had been kicked out of their home by their own husbands, together with their children. In general, a wife is kicked out because she did not accept that her husband brought home a second one. Also, the income often too scarce to maintain several wives and all of their children. Harsh quarrels begin, that most often end with the elder woman being kicked out. In general, she leaves her children to her parents and looks for a better life in the capital or in Nigeria, where a middle class exists that needs domestic work. Justine was managing a maquis - a local restaurant - along the road ... read more
the house of Joy

Africa » Benin » South » Ouidah February 25th 2008

LET'S MEET BENIN: The country of the amazones, of the historical slave trade, of the children new slaves today, of the voodoo. A journey to meet, understand and share a culture. Also, a bit of adventure! The Africans say: “The world knows very well how people die in Africa, but knows nothing of how people live there”. With this journey, we would like to repair a historical and cultural injustice that makes the economic injustice even worse. The drums boom unrelently, dancers and young adepts staring at nothing out of fatigue, tribal kings with their courts of wives and dignitaries receiving honors from the natives. It is not a film on Africa but the Voodoo festival that takes place every year on the beach of Ouidah. Not just touristic folklore, but a real religious feast. Likewise, ... read more

Africa » Benin » South » Ouidah February 25th 2008

JOSHIANE Each time we go to Africa there is some novelty. Sometimes pleasant, sometimes sad or even dramatic. This time Maison de la Joie looks quiet. Children are growing up, their number is growing as well, from ten to twenty and others are waited. My wife and my daughter are there since one month. My arrival is welcome with a breakfast based on rice and chicken at 5 am. After a few hours sleep the noise and the kitchen smell wake me up. I meet the new children, there are stories to learn and to tell. Among them, a child of about twelve who behaves like a little mama for my daughter. She never attended school, so I can only communicate with her with a few words in French. And yet, she seems to understand my ... read more
Ouidah voodoo festival

Africa » Benin » South » Ouidah January 17th 2008

The border is just over an hour away from Chez Alice.We were given 48 hour visas at the border, lots of food vendors on both sides of the frontier. We drove to Ouidah, stopped at the Immaculate Conception church and had a few hours to walk around town, we decided to go to the Snake temple nearby and Chrissy, Ingrid, Mark and Jo had their photos taken with a phyton round their necks, I opted out. Then we went to the Museum of History, quite interesting place, but cant take photos. We met up at an outside bar next to the church and a few people are getting drunk. We bought some tasty pineapples on the street, very sweet. We drove to our campsite for the night next to the beach with a very nice swimming ... read more
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