Thursday, February 7, 2019

Abomey, Benin to Suavé, Benin, February 7, 2019

It was a touring/sightseeing kind of day.  Most hopped on the back of motorcycles-

But I went in a cab.  Our driver was stylin-  

This is not a joke or a costume.  This is very normal African dress!

Abomey was the capital of the Dahomey kingdom from the 1600s to the early 1900s.  During this time, the 12 different kings pledged to leave his successor more land than he inherited.  They fought with their neighbors and became rich by selling slaves to the Europeans, mainly the Portuguese.  10,000 slaves left for America annually.  Each King has an emblem-

Akaba, who ruled from 1685 - 1708, had to wait a long time to become king.  He made many rules that changed society, hence the chameleon-

Agadja 1708 - 1732, traded slaves with the Portuguese - 21 women or 31 men for a cannon-

At the entrance to the voodoo temple, the cockrock represents the spirit of Legba, the God of fertility and protector of the village -

The voodoo priest welcomed us all by hitting a rock on the step while he said a prayer-

Inside, the altar-

sported a pregnant woman at the center that represents fertility- 

He also played a maraca-

He said a few prayers here too.  Then we moved outside to the agriculture altar.  He rubbed water all over his head then spit mouthfuls on everything.  There's a bowl of Piriquita-Piriquita in front-

We also had to put water on our heads and make a wish.

Back in another room, we saw the spell/remedy area.  It looks like a lot of garbage to me-

The bowl in the centre is filled with palm oil and meat that was cooked 30 years ago-

He waved the broom over the statues to chase away the evil spirits and welcome the good ones-

One could buy a ring, kind of what we used to get on wedding scrolls (real cheap metal) for a mere $23-

After, we went to the museum where as Brian Smith says, sometimes you just can't explain the meaning of a statue-

I chose just to shop rather than visi the museum because I couldn't take pictures and I can't remember anything anyway.  There were weavers-

Making beautiful cloth into tablecloths-

And hammocks-

They also sold beautiful hand stitched wallhangings and pillow covers-

bought a fairly large map of Africa-

  They also served a soup with complete eggs floating in it-

After, we saw the Palace of Prince Heritier Guezo.  It's only a couple of empty buildings that looked reconstructed to me-

The monuments at the entrances tell stories of the kings escapades.  They are very weird-

The museum is situated in the Palais do Roi de Guezo (1818 - 1858) who was a reformer because he reorganized the state and the army to re-unite his kingdom and develop the production of Palm oil while abolishing slavery.  He also made Catholic prisoners build a cathedral-

Agonglo (1789 - 1797) changed the system of taxation, reinforced voodoo traditions and supported the arts-

After the museum, some went to another Marché de Feticheurs but I went back to the campsite.  It's a nice place with a huge garden-

And many statues-

We had a bit of trouble leaving town and ripped down a few wires.  Usually someone has to get on top of the truck and use a broom to lift the wires or move the branches-

We travelled towards Ganvie, a village built on stilts.  Rather than lights at intersections, it's usually a roundabout and there are often interesting statues in the center-

We stopped in a town so I could do cook group shopping.  Terry has a bad leg again and I think Norm was probably sleeping so I ran around like a chicken without a head.  Will helped put stuff in the truck. Meanwhile, Richard was making a deal with a couple of guys from Suavé for a trip to Ganvie tomorrow so we drove to their village and set up for the night.  We caused quite a stir - there was a lot of arguing going on and negotiating.  The mayor wanted $115 for administration fees but we'd already cut a deal with our 'guide' so we said we weren't paying and that we'd pack up and move along.  Eventually we were allowed to stay without any further payment.  Inspite of their arguing, the men still had time to pose for a photo. I love their suits-

Looking forward to a visit to Ganvie tomorrow!

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