June 18-19

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June 22nd 2010
Published: June 22nd 2010
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Friday June 18: Benin

One thing after another has been happening to the bus. First the front window had a crack in it that had to be prepared and put us back one day. On this day a tire from a truck bust and the impact of it broke out one of the side windows in our bus so we were stuck at the hotel until about 11am, when we were supposed to leave around 9am. We had a group session that morning; it was somewhat tense for many people. There have been some issues on the trip between roommates, races, and people just picking out things to get irritated about. The group consists of 20 girls so there is no way to work around girls being girls.
I am glad we had the session because it pointed out some things that had been issues. I am one of 6 caucasian girls on this trip and we have seen racism against us by an individual. I did not think that there would be any racial issues and as the program assistant said, “you brought the racism with you”. I have been thinking about that and I agree because everywhere I have been this entire trip I have not seen or experiences any racism for my skin color. I have only experienced nice and welcoming people who are glad to see foreigners experiencing their country that they have so much pride in. Enough about this because it has somewhat been resolved/ignored because no one is ruining my experience. It is only one individual person but everyone else in the group is great!
So after finally getting on the bus and driving for a few hours we made it to the Songhai center in Benin. This center is completely self sustainable and has no waste because everything is used for something. The electricity is even produced by the waste for the entire center, including the hotel I stayed at for the night.

Saturday June 19: Benin > Togo > Ghana

Got on the road early that morning to head for Ouidah and more of the Dahomey Kingdom places. We went to the sacred forest, a place where the king would go when he needed to be alone and what not. There were many voodoo statues there with all different meanings. There was a tree that I could put my hands on and make a wish, many people of the voodoo religion go there to make wishes and also give money to the tree as thanks for the wish. After the sacred forest we moved on to a fort that the Portugal used to trade with the Dahomey people. Last was the python temple, which was creepy because of all the snakes in this one room. I can’t remember how often they let the pythons out, but every so often the snakes are let out to roam and if they get out of the area then people in the town just pick them up and bring them back to the temple. I found it interesting how people were not scared of them, they would just go pick up the snakes.
After touring the last things in Benin we got back on the road to head to Lome, Togo. In Lome we went to a fetish market where people of the Voodoo religion can purchase items (sacrificed animals, good luck charms, and other things they may use for the religion). It was interesting to see how the religion worked. Next stop was a hotel in Ho, Ghana for the next two nights.


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