Benin, West Africa

 

Benin from West African countries. We finally found a place where the Benin customs officer was located. We’re somewhere outdoors. We’ve got an official entry into Benin. Since these are not the most commonly used customs doors, sometimes such problems can occur. There are many villages that live in this area, they do not have such problems, they go to and from the morning and evening, and perhaps many do not even realize that this is another country border.

You will land from north to south to the ocean shore.

The roads are dusty and bad enough to force the car. We want to get to Natitingou before dark. We decided to visit the Koussou tribe in Detamunibe village a little inside the road. In the past, they escaped from the northern border neighbor, Burkina Faso, forcing them to become Muslims. The faces of women and men have patterns of thin lines. When the children are six months old, the sacrificial goats are scratched with a knife. Can you imagine the pain, all day long with a knife cuts in your face. People meet pain in those ages, and their future lives will always be about being resistant to pain. After this process, they do something like an ointment made from herbs on their faces for ten days against infection. When you look at the faces of all the faces to the eyelids, such as thinly drawn patterns. They believe that these lines drive evil spirits away. On the fires burning around the village, pots are boiling, obviously everyone is eating together in the middle .. imece method ..

**

We go south, to the village of Tanekasowa, where 260 people live, which can be reached on foot among the mountains. During the slavery of the people of Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria escaped from places such as pressure and came here and established a common life. Here the tribal chiefs are called king, between us they are king in the air .. We sent news to the king to accept the king will accept peace! Yes, we are going, gazebo is waiting in the six-ton ​​office with plenty of colorful king clothes, beside him. First of all, the reason for our visit after the greeting or something, souvenirs for sale in the middle of nowhere. The King is also selling, you have to take advantage of opportunities. There is a serious price difference compared to peers. First speeches, explanations and so on, then taking permission to take lots of photos. He’s never been photographed in his life. The places we visit in this region are not touristic places, they are excited to see us because they do not encounter too many foreigners, maybe for the first time they see someone who is not their own. Here the kingdom is passed from father to son. In the past, when the king died, there were serious problems among the sons. When they did, they made minor changes to the system. When the king dies, his sons are lined up side by side in the village square. Democratic elections with open voting. The king’s two wives have ten children, and he seems to do even more. His older daughter’s belly was marked with a knife right after he was born, just to make sure he was the king’s daughter. There is a healer in the village as well as a healer who is on duty against diseases and there is a team of three people who inform the future of the spirits and protect the village from the dead souls, like the clergy. Everything is under their control.

Benin, the poorest of West African countries, 70% of the population live near the sea in the south. The poorest part of the country is the central and northern parts. In particular, most rural people do not have an identity, they are not registered in the population. Aids and tuberculosis are common diseases. Health is one of the biggest problems, there are around 40-50 hospitals in total, health centers throughout the country, but there are no local doctors. Healers are the most common solution for health. The treatment is done with their spells or herbs. The subject of education is not very heartwarming, the literacy rate is at the lowest level with 42%. There’s one university in the country. Despite all this, the crime rate is very low.

Africa is often the place where polygamy prevails. But not for pleasure, as in the Middle East, or because women have no place in society. To share a common life, to be together in terms of common defense or labor for all, especially in rural areas. Every woman is here with her individual identity, not crushed or humiliated.

The belief in wodoo is very common in West Africa. Shamanism and Amenism are very similar to their beliefs. So spirits, their power, worship of spirits. Their wishes are conveyed to the souls through the totems called fetish, and these wishes are conveyed to the Gods by the souls. The big difference from other beliefs here is that concepts like witchcraft and fetish come to the forefront. If you have a wish and wish, you go to one of the known fetish places, pray, dedicate, and if you do, you will come and do what you need. In fact, these are not foreign to us, there are a lot of shrines, so we do the same way.

We’re going to the most important fetish in this area, Dancoli. Extremely bad roads, whatever you wish, if you have remained intact on these roads! It was said that it was a very important place like the place of pilgrimage. We were able to come to Dancoli after a difficult journey, you know, between us, a place of slavery, filth. A big dried tree tied around shoddles, this male, next to a smaller dried up tree, lots of crap and stuff, the female Danconi. These two are connected to each other from their heights. You keep your wish “vodounsi” with the help of a competent person in this subject called three small stakes, then a small bottle of animal blood mixed with the red oil obtained by mixing them on the stakes weaving prayers. Then you take the alcohol from the other bottle into your mouth and spray it on them and the environment. During this process, you keep your wishes and dedications. You wish, you come here and cut your vow and shed your blood. This is the case .. Soils pouring black and black due to the blood of the blood, stuck to each side of the hairs of chickens cut or something … Such a landscape. Since we have come to the most important sacred fetish, we have dedicated our offerings, and if so, we have burned! Come together again and we’ll cut the veal. Let’s see what happens.

After fulfilling this important task, we continued on the road and finally we came to the city of Dassa.

**

We are going to the Yoruba tribe in the village of Don-Some, which has migrated from Nigeria in the north, near the border with Nigeria. We will come from them to communicate with the souls, or we will attend the ritual ceremony to convey them.

 Initiated bokononu, who are competent in this matter, communicate with the souls of the dead people, can temporarily guest in their own bodies, and from this moment into the trance is completely under the control of the soul. This body is not understood who is masked faces and different clothes are worn. These clothes are chosen by the souls, if the soul does not like the clothes of the body does not come.

In this ceremony, more than one person at the same time entered into their bodies with another soul in the face of each other in an interesting costume dancing in the middle of the trance. Touching them, opening their faces is absolutely law. There are those who direct them around so that they do not harm the environment while dancing in the past. A different ceremony with the rhythm of the music, the fact that the soul finds peace like entertainment. Drums holding a rhythm on one side in the square in the middle of the village and the people of the village coming to watch. Today, the crowd is a bit too much, normally because the foreigners do not come here, the village people are watching us curiously, we have them. In fact, it is an interesting ceremony that describes the fine line between life and death, where death and life are the same body.

The meaning of this ceremony is to make a wish for God through the souls, to ask questions about the future, and to create the environment for receiving messages from the souls. The dancers in trance are sometimes standing in front of someone and mumbling something with a strange voice, sometimes people are close to him and transmitting messages. At the end of the ceremony, when people started to dance with the music going on, we all came together in the middle.

People who carry the trance of someone else in the body and who are in a trance are usually chosen from the same families, but bokononu says the last word. These dancers are called Egunegun dancers.

**

We are going to another bokononun with a religious identity that governs the ceremonies in the Wodoo faith, let’s see what is happening. The age doesn’t matter when you pass by your father. He’s going to give us information about one of us, the future, exactly. A tiny stuffy room, a little explanation about lots of objects surrounding it first. How the spell is made, how it is broken, treatments and so on. There are forty stone games in Anatolia, you distribute the stones, then you make them tired or another version of pods fortune. He told us that we listened to our fortune tellers like similar stories and then pressed the money. We’re going to a fetish right next to you. You make sacred objects, things, wishes for them, and if you do, you come and fulfill your vow. Just like our shrines. All religions and beliefs are similar. If you feel comfortable, do it.

**

We go to another village Gelede dancers. In the 12th century, men treated women very badly, women became unable to endure and complained about their husbands to the god of the earth. Then the god of the earth gathered all the women and moved them to another place. Husbands searched for women for a long time, but couldn’t find them. When they finally realize that women cannot live without them for what they really need, men go from the god of the earth and ask them to find women. The god of the earth says, “women come back on one condition, you go around with women’s clothes and do what they do. In the course of time, these events have taken the form of giving constructive messages to the society through the changed dances.This tradition continues as before, so it was included in the list of Unesco cultural heritage. it is necessary to continue life without forcing them to behave badly or the god of the earth is coming! … Actually, such activities are a very important form of social socialization for the culture of keeping people together and living together.

The weather was seriously hot, day long, evening, people started to fall bayonet. It was at this time that we came across another funeral, with people wearing colorful masks in front of thatched skirts dancing and eight people dancing with white coffins on their shoulders. Very interesting indeed. Every society lives with faith and truth. Religion and beliefs are shaped by the geography you live in. Death in the Wodoo belief means that the soul begins to rise to the sky. This is the way the soul sends off to the sky

All ceremonies and dances are behaviors with a religious and religious basis. It is based on a blessing and communication with God.

**

West Africa ruled with the Kingdoms for many years. We go to Dohomey Palace, which was built in the 13th century and used by all kings in the following period. The palace is a place with its own layout, like the front yard where everyone is accepted, the backyard where only guests can enter. The temple, which was built by making mortars with hundreds of human blood, was the place where the 400 wives died and the 41 wives could not bear this pain and sent themselves alive. The remaining belongings and objects belonging to the Kingdoms period were turned into a museum. The palace is located on a very fine sandy terrain. As such, the museum is all inside and out of the sand. This is a UNESCO World Heritage site because it is an important place in the past.

In fact, most of the rules here have been with the colonists on slave gathering issues and supported them. Opponents of slavery also fought the king, but failed to succeed in the arms supremacy provided by the colonists.

In the Caranou region we go to the village of Ganvile, where the Tofinou tribe lives on the Nokwe goal. Where they hid from those who escaped slavery in the past and did not want to be slaves. They crossed the lake with their own primitive rafts and built houses with piles on the lake. Although it may seem a bit advanced today, it is the same simple and primitive way of life. We walk around the lake by boat, people don’t want to be photographed. We go back for a little wandering after lunch.

We came to Cotonou, the second largest city on the coastline. This is one of the most important settlements in Benin, where trade returns. From a slight city tour, we saw a bit more of a bit less of the same life style. More tourists come here than in other places, so when prices became touristy, five to one increased

 We said, let’s go to the richest part of this place, big embassies, tall buildings, smoother roads, less poverty in the middle, order and grocery stores with everything we know.

We are in Quidah, at the end of a bad and bad road by the sea.

**

In the morning we go to the slave gate after enjoying some sea. For many in the past, this place has been the end of the road. The collected slaves were blindfolded seven times, blindfolded around a large tree in the square, so that they would forget everything about their past, and were brought to the door on the shore, shipped to inhuman conditions where they never knew they would ever return. Slave shipment, “let’s go friends,” is not in the form, hands and feet connected to each other with dozens of people strapped to the ship is stuck.

Here is the scope of such a slave shipment. A monument was built here today.

From the 16th century onwards, slavery was first started industrially by the Portuguese. Realizing that there was a lot of money in the slave business, the Dutch took over and took control of the slave trade. The slaves were forcibly gathered from their villages by the indigenous people and tribal chiefs, and sold to the countries that engaged in slave trade. So the people here have made the biggest betrayal where they’re going to fight, selling their own surname for money. We are in the city museum of Quidah, which was used as a slave collection center in the past. The area where slaves are gathered under inhumane conditions and the shipment starts when sufficient number is reached, document pictures and objects belonging to the period. There is no such thing as a creature for money. today, the situation has become even worse by changing the formation.

Noble who has made a lot of money in the slave trade in the past! He goes to the art museum donated by a rich man. Unexpectedly beautiful and original works.

Like all religions and beliefs, Wodoo belief is a form of belief that has very different behaviors according to the region and conditions. We go to the Temple of Python, a sanctuary where the snakes, which are about 1.5 meters tall, are sacred and are worshiped. When the members of this sect were three months old, a knife was made on the cheeks and a cut on the forehead. Thanks to these signs, they know each other, like an open identity. This place is worshiped by python snakes. Snakes are released into the garden at certain times and are fed with animals such as mice they catch around. Every seven years, a big ceremony is held and a big animal is sacrificed to the snakes and served to them.

We came to the most important place, fetish market. A place in extremely poor conditions in the poorest part of the city. Everything is sold. We’re finally here. Smoked, dried, shredded animals of all kinds of arms, legs, head, skin, internal organs, such as blood things. According to faith you can do magic with these depending on what you want to do. They also have the address of those who cast solid spells. Keep in mind, your favorite! if need for someone. A place that smells extremely bad. You don’t feel comfortable here.

This place is difficult to understand without seeing Africa, without experiencing. The lands where the conditions are shaped according to the geography lived and those who can win the struggle for survival under difficult and bad conditions where nature is unfair.

Fate is where you are born, nature determines the rules of life …

 Religion and beliefs are desperate.

Here you can read the revolts and screams and screams of desperation from the eyes of women. Those who can show great heroism after a healthy birth can survive in the fight for life with unending pains from birth.

In Benin, 30% of the population is below the poverty line, meaning that it goes hungry every night, malaria. Cholera, AIDS, Respiratory diseases and diarrhea are very common, circumcision of girls is still being done in many regions, if the born child is disabled or the mother died during childbirth, these children are excluded from society, 45% of children have to work, it is difficult to find an educated girl at a young age Most of the children marry before the age of 16, 45% are not registered in the population, where there is a lot of child trafficking to work in homes or agriculture or to be used in sex trade.

Half of the world’s population lives on the hunger line, 1.2 million people are below the hunger line, and 900 thousand people go hungry every night and in the process of starvation.

Marriage in tribal life usually happens with the consent of the families. The girl family wants head money, payment can be in exchange for money, animals or services. If you don’t have money, at the end of the bargain, for example, you work in a man’s field for five years, or you help with housework.

On this trip we visited very different tribes in West Africa. They are all part of the wodoo belief that is shaped according to the place where you live. Since these beliefs and traditional behaviors are not based on a written document, they continue to change according to the circumstances over time. The direction of this change is unclear.

With a surface area of ​​112,600 km², Benin’s population is estimated to be 10 million. Official language French and regional languages ​​are used, with a life expectancy of 50 years per capita income of around $ 1,100. The economy of Benin is about agriculture and animal husbandry. The most important products, cashew, cotton, coffee, palm, peanut products, such as the traditional parts of the coastal fishing is done .. There is not much development in the industry. Investments are being made to strengthen the tourism sector.

 

Even the cultures, the customs of which we have difficulty to understand, are places with tradition. Living conditions, economy difficult places with everything from start to finish. To be condemned to live as Africa as African, I think God’s justice should not be such a thing.

The fact that the majority of African countries are poor is the result of the exploitation of these countries by Western countries for years. Today, these are the places he ignored and ignored.

 

yours affectionately

Hayrettin Kağnıcı

March 2019

www.hayrettinkagnici.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

error: iletişim : hayrettin@ozka.com

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