Monday, February 22, 2010
Benin, West Africa
I have been wanting to go to West Africa for a long time now and Benin was as good a place to start as any. In fact, Benin was filled with rich sites and experiences and had quite a lot to offer. Benin is the place voodoo comes from and was home to one of the larger slave ports. Its Northwestern region has dramatic landscapes and is home to a group of people called the Somba and their homes, Tata Somba houses, have a particularly interesting design that brings traveler to see and study them. It’s also an interesting place to begin to explore French colonial culture and see that they French are keeping a strong grip on the Francophone countries of West Africa.
What I particularly loved about Benin’s people in comparison to Burkina Faso where I also visited were the men who wore traditional African fabrics. All the color was amazing. The unfortunate reality of most places in Africa is that they have been drowned in our used clothing that we all have donated to Goodwill. That clothing is sent in bulk to Africa where it is sold cheaply in the markets and that has pretty much destroyed the demand for local tailors and stamped out men’s traditional dress, but in Benin African fabrics are still widely visible.
All in all my quick trip, felt like a great way to start to get to know West Africa.
Posted by Cordelia