11 march Ouidah (BENIN)

[Stefy]: "Last night has not been an easy night... the heat of the mosquito net has oppressed me so much that I have felt dry throat... not even a breath of air.
Every 10 minutes we opened our eyes... an endless night !

After a good breakfast with pineapple jam but the taste of apricot, we go on our stilts and from the window we launch some t-shirts, colors to the family who lived in the nearby stilt... for each object given the girls sent me a thank-you kiss.

We return by spear to the mainland... It’s so great to navigate on the lake this morning... the canoes laden with fruits and vegetables led by women with at least a little child on her back; boats headed by children who 4\5 years old, another boat full of school children, fishermen unload their networks and now they are soon ready to try a launch."

More and more often I find myself surprised by the places we visit, the things we do and the experiences that we live eeryday... as today: after a wonderful day, even after a long night in Ganvie, we end up at Ouidah at the Maison de la Joie, a structure designed by an Italian layman to help and give a future to underprivileged kids in the area. Great project!

We leave our backpacks and we move to the famous beach of Ouidah, high waves and strong tides while a group of cows led by a peul, the nomadic herdsman of the place, grazing lazily on the shoreline...

We visit the Portuguese fort where we admire a beautiful and interesting photo exhibition with shots of the 50’s that showed the parallels between Benin and Brazil (where the slaves were deported in the past) in terms of daily life, rituals and festivities.

[Stefy]: "We arrive at the Temple of  Pythons. We are told that every night pythons are released around 3 am to seek food and a couple of hours later they return to the temple... but it is normal to find one of these sacred reptiles at home... if it happens: just bring it back to the temple!"

We return to the Maison de la joie where we spend a wonderful evening.
After the shower I was called by the little voices coming from the backyard... children were studying, reading, writing on the blackboard on the wall, others were taking a bath in a bowl... of course I went right away from them.
They made ​​me write my name on a small slate and everyone came to read it. The children hugged me tight as long time friends, so sweet, so tender!

Sitting next to them, watching them all together as they read the same page in French aloud... I felt part of them...
Meanwhile, the two women cooked cassava, before they cut the tuber into pieces, then boiled and finally transferred all the great "mortar" and, with plenty of "sticks", first one and then the other have reduced the compound to a sort of Italian polenta.

We had fun playing with them and let them twirl, play football, or frisbee while they laughed... they laughed so much!

Suddenly Mark came in hand with a small T-shirt and went straight to a two years  old child, he  takes away the orange shirt, a little worn, and shoved the new one… he goes away smiling satisfied! After dinner, we handed out candy... not without a performance of each one of them!"

12 march Lomè (TOGO)

We leave Ouidah and we head towards the border.
Customs formalities are very slow, a couple of hours to transcribe names, last names, passport details, nationalities...

We say good bye to Benin and on foot, in the African borders chaos, we cross the two countries...

We stop at Aneho to let Rosy meet his "little brother"; we chat with the nun who accompanied him to the meeting and she tells us how hard life is on a mission in Togo.

In the late morning we are in Lome.
The journey is almost at the very end.
We visit the fetishes market, we are witnessing yet another voodoo and get lost among the stalls of the central market of Lome... for several hours !

What a journey, what beauties observed, what emotions experienced ...

Thanks Africa because every time you welcome me you make me feel full, you make me feel good just like your red earth and your big sky can do it!

 

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