Tuesday, June 30, 2009

On Our Way

Tomorrow morning we are leaving for the city of Lome in Togo. We will be on the move for the next month, spending a couple of weeks in Togo, Burkina Faso, the north of Benin and finally returning to Cotonou at the end of July. We have several contacts that we are following up with and so should have some good help in navigating our way.

On a quick side note, we spent last Saturday in a couple of villages west of Cotonou. We canoed on the lake where most of the botttled water here comes from and visited the village of Se, known for its pottery. I was very excited to find a potter. We spent some time with Margarette, a potter who rather than using a wheel, literally spins her body around the pot on the ground to give it shape. Ive got photos of her working, along with some 50 kids from the village in the background.

Ive also learned more about witches here in the last couple of weeks. One night a friend screamed as a small lizard crept around her bathroom, so rather than kill it, Ray and I caught it and released it (a harmless reptile, right?). Afterwards our friend asked, but didnt you know that creature is really a witch, who listens to what you say and then uses it against you? I had no idea.

And then while photographing a family I noticed a small child inside their home who didnt move much or talk, but appeared to be about 3 years old. I came to learn that this child is actually from another world, and her mother is waiting to get enough money to do a special cermony where she will get alot of money and the child will return to the other world. And, then I came to find out that the woman across the sand street from their food stand is actually a witch who can steal the money they make selling food by simply pointing her toes at the end of the day. But they can guard against this by putting the coins in salt water.

Witchery and magic are a lived reality here, even for people who believe in one God, be they Christian or Muslim.


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