Blogs from Benin, Africa


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 » Abomey November 7th 2016

The roads of Benin vary from once-good-but-now-potholed to dirt tracks, so the going is slow. We often stop in villages, either just to walk about and talk with villagers or to set up our picnic lunch. There are always children running about, some scared by our white faces, others keen to shake a hand or wave. One lady has her tiny twin girls laid on a mat in the shade of her mud hut. She gave birth in her hut, helped by some of the older women. There is, effectively, no medical care for the villagers but mother and twins seem to be doing well. Most houses are just round, thatched mud huts. All the villages are poor but they welcome us into their midst without seeking money or other reward. Around every village, they grow ... read more
Drinking water supply
Python temple

Africa » Benin » South » Cotonou January 13th 2016

Cotonou,Benin, 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 ... read more

Africa » Benin » West March 4th 2013

This blog is about a trip to the West African countries of burkina faso,benin and togo. This is a video of a mngo in sierra leone The next is a picture of me running the marathon ... read more

Africa » Benin » South » Cotonou February 13th 2013

My vacation in the Republic of Benin was a much needed one. After 3.5 months in Nigeria, I really needed a time out – Benin was it! I went overland from Nigeria to Benin. It was my first land border crossing in Africa and I was sort of nervous. But it went well. I didn’t have to do much; the international bus I took from Lagos to Cotonou got our passports stamped. I guess that is one of the benefits of the ECOWAS agreement between West Africa countries. The journey took 6 hours. I did not go alone; my Nepali friend came to visit in Nigeria so we went to Benin together. Cotonou is my favorite city in Benin thus far. Although it is not the capital, it has way more things to do than Porto ... read more

Africa » Benin » South » Cotonou June 5th 2012

**photos have been added! Tuesday June 5 It was a stroke of luck deciding to sleep on the truck as a huge storm arrived in the middle of the night without warning, catching everyone off guard and flooding tents before people were able to get their rain covers on. I lay on the seats under my mosquito net (first time it's been used!) watching the lightning and torrential rain and jumping when the thunder crashed directly overhead It was an uneventful morning until we were all on the truck, ready to hit the Benin border late morning. When the truck wheels first spun, barely anyone moved; it happens occasionally and we're used to the sound. But then the front right hand side seemed to drop and that got our attention. Jumping down we saw the source ... read more
Voodoo village chief
Fetishes in the chief's room

Africa » Benin » South » Athiémé March 3rd 2012

rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr... read more

Africa » Benin » South » Cotonou January 16th 2012

alive and well in cotonou! a whole hell of a lot has gone on since moving into kpovie. firstly, this is a french keyboard so expect many spelling errors. secondly, there is no electricity or running water in kpovie which means i quite awesomely go get water from a well and carry it back to my house on my head. not going to lie, it took me a good 2 weeks to actually be successful and not spill water everywhere. the first few weeks were pretty difficult especially being completely cut off from everyone back home. my homologue and i are both citygirls so village life and all the rules set in place by SYTO benin were a lot to deal with. there was a lot of not adapting, some yelling, a minor mental breakdown, and ... read more

Africa » Benin » South » Cotonou December 12th 2011

HI ALL I'm in AFRICA. It's 28 degrees celsuis and the SUN is beautiful (ok it's night right now, but ... yknow... it's winter where y'all are right now. Sucks to be you?) Arrived in Cotonou 3 a.m Saturay morning convinced it was Sunday morning. The plane got delayed and detoured to Marseille France making an already super long journey 6 hours longer. But, the all in all went pretty well considering. So Cotonou. Firstly, I am very much loving the city. It's nice to see people out and hear cars go by and just listen to the hum of citylife. We're staying at Cotdiam which is a... religious... housing.... unit? of some sort. They host a lot of weddings and SYTO doesn't feed us very well. :( The food here so far has hardly been ... read more

Africa » Benin » South » Cotonou June 18th 2011

There is a sick perverted truth about all this - I do like hating travel sometimes, it can get quite addictive! But eventually over time that is what Africa can do to you. It requires time and patients, more so than any other region and it was here in Cotonou, Benin my patients was starting to wane and my African Journey was about to finish. Hate is a harsh word (they say) but when you have been stuck in the trunk of cars, been in a bus that’s burnt out, caught up in the Egyptian revolution, unable to get money out countless times and VISA problems. Whilst deep down I do love it, it gets to a point where you have an attitude change towards the place. And that was what happened when I reached the ... read more
2 - West African Cuisine
3 - Me drinking Obama Beer
4 - The only regular African Cheese available - the laughing cow, cream cheese

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