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BENIN 2013



Benin is known as the former Dahomey, which was an African kingdom with its 
heyday from the early 1600's to the late 1800's, where it played a key role in the 
extensive slave trade. The monument behind us is called ...  


...Point of No Return and stands in memory of the 12 million slaves, who through 

many years were shipped off from this coastal area near the town of Ouidah. 

We were told by ...  



...our guide, that the number amounted to no less than 20% of all slaves on that 
time, who were shipped across the Atlantic to perform the hard work in the 
plantations.  



In 1721 the Portuguese built a fort in Ouidah, which today is a historical 

museum, where past dramatic events are documented and...  



...you can see some of the iron chains that the slaves were held together with.  



This illustration shows the slave trade. The king of Dahomey on his throne at 
the top of the image, and the white slave merchants seated on the left. 
A major part of the sold slaves came from neighboring countries, where they 
were taken prisoners during the many wars and conflicts, which Dahomey 
was involved in.  



In 1894 the Dahomey dynasty was ousted from power, and the country became 
a part of French West Africa, as several of its neighbors. Only in 1960 the 
country again became independent and took the name Dahomey back, which in 
1975 was changed to Benin.  



The Voodoo religion with black magic and zombies comes from Benin, and has been 

practiced on African soil for over 6000 years. Religion is developed and inherited 

through stories, so there are no sacred writings. The slaves took their 

faith and rituals with them across the Atlantic, where Voodoo today is religion in 

for example Haiti. 

 

Over 50 million people around the world believe in Voodoo, where The Great Lord 

is the supreme God, and under him are hundreds of spiritual Gods with impact on 

 each their part of life on Earth. Voodoo was In 1996 Voodoo was recognized as 

religion in Benin on equal terms with Christianity and Islam, and the number of 

 Voodoo followers is steadily increasing.



The fluttering white flag are signaling that here lives a voodoo priest, who is 
open for those who may need to get in touch with the spirits. 

 

Ouidah is to Voodoo, what Mecca is to Islam, so the city is the place to visit on 

January the 10th, which is officially Voodoo Day in Benin with parties all over town.  



We drove from Ouidah to Cotonou, and checked into the excellent Marina Hotel, 
which ...  



...according to this rusty sign isn’t far from the Danish Embassy.  


A half hour drive from the center of Cotonou is Lake Nokoué, where you can visit 
one of Africa's largest villages on stilts, Ganvie. With our guide we jumped aboard 
a Pirogue (West African fishing boat), and...  



...before long we arrived at the first cabins in Ganvie village that has...  



...20,000 residents. Among those surely a few national swimming champions.  



The Tofinu people put the first poles in the lake 300-400 years ago, so they could 
be out of reach from the Dahomey warriors, who according to their religion wasn't 
allowed to fight on the water.  



When you grow up in a city on water…  



...you learn how to build your own boat made of plastic bottles.  



If you want to spend the night here, it can be done by Raphael, who rents out rooms.



We settled for a cold Coke on the patio and watched...  



...the hectic life on the lake, where pirogues were heading in all directions. 

A bit to much to call Ganvie the ”Venice of Africa", but it is certainly worth visiting.  



Not surprisingly, fishing is the main industry…

 


...whereas rearing up goats is less successful. 
I recommended they'll try the water buffalo instead.   



Dry-shod back on the mainland, where a few unsavory experiences waited, 
which we couldn't help but laugh at. 


First an elderly lady stopped right in front of us, lifted up her dress and pissed 

babbling streams on the middle of the road. 

 

Immediately after Peter slapped a mosquito in the taxi, just to note that his palms 

were now covered in blood. We had no more water, so he had to clean his hands 

with his spit, and he missed more than ever his hand sanitizer.  



Benin is one of the poorest countries in the World, and one of the most serious 
problems in the vulnerable communities are child trafficking. It is estimated that 
over 50,000 children are sold each year by their parents. 
Some of them end up in Nigeria to do hard...  



...and dangerous work in one of the quarries in the neighboring country. 

Many of these children are severely injured, while others never see their parents again.  



From the plane our last images of Benin were villages and reed houses...   



... and a meandering river through a lush landscape on our way to Ghana. 


 
 
Så skal du skynde dig til Cuba.
Observerede en del mænd i Egypten med noget, der lignede et numsehul i panden, men fandt ud af...
...end nogensinde før!
...det mozambikanske flag!