Glorious land with fascinating customs
Submerging into cultures is a passion of mine. Being in West Africa opens an opportunity to learn a little more about their world known black magic fascination.
I visited the fetish market in Lome, Togo. Place arranged by the government for tourists. To enter you have to pay 3000 CFA, about 5 Euros. If you desire to take photos you have to pay an extra 2000 CFA. This money goes directly to the government, not the people there. To tell you the least I was upset and discourage to enter as I felt as a walking wallet. Plus I feel so bad about dead animals. After almost half an hour ride to get there and little thinking I say why not? I am already here.
I got a guided tour with explanation and decided not to take photos. I have always preferred to give money directly to people instead than a crooked institution.
The market people describe, as the biggest fetish market in ALL West Africa is the size of a small courtyard. Measuring about 30 x 30 meters with vendors in three sides of the square.
Fetish was born and is applied by people from Benin. The government established the market for the nomad Beninuar families to come sell their fetish goods. Here you can find all kind of dead animals. Rats, lizards, chameleons, birds, monkeys, gibbons, armadillos, cobras, and among many more.
The smell is strong. The heat does not help. As you can imagine walking thru all this dead animals is quite the shock. I am happy Mateo is sleeping in my front carrier.
People here believe that sickness is a sign of shakatu (black magic). To cure such you need a Fudono, a spiritual priest.
If you are sick you visit the fudono. He will feel your spirits, see the future and tell you what animals you need in order to treat you. Once you have the ingredients he will grind them in a Ete, which is a big mortar. Later you will mix this powder with clean water and wash the affected area until the disease disappears.
Some of the questions I asked;
Where does the animals come from?
They say; National parks and reserves where they die by natural causes.
What happens if a person comes bleeding, can the fudono treat them?
No, he/she is sent to the hospital.
Can I become a fudono?
No, is pass generational knowledge.
Do you make Voodoo dolls? Do you pinch them with needles?
Yes we make but only for decoration. We don’t use needles in the voodoo dolls. We use amulets that are connected spiritually to the read voodoo dolls that live with the fudono.
---- Then I am directed to the enforced visit to the market fudono. They seem bugged by my curiosity.
*** Photos from wikipedia