D’you do voodoo? Sounds like the start of a kids limerick, but its a rough approximation of what I found myself asking in the small village of Grand Popo in Benin, West Africa.
Voodoo or Voudon, is the state religion on Benin and neighbouring Togo, and I was hopeful of tracking down a genuine, non tourist focused ceremony.
It became apparent that I needed to talk to what the locals called ‘voodoo people’. I asked around but drew a blank. Unusual for a country where the majority of the population are adepts of the voodoo ‘god’ Baron Samedi.
I was giving up hope as I walked along the wind swept beach of Grand Popo in the late afternoon. Then I saw a wizened man observing me from the battered seat of an ancient Chinese motorbike. His name was Gaston. “You want to see Voodoo?” he questioned, removing his shades to reveal bloodshot eyes. I nodded. “Meet me here at 5”.
He turned and chugged away up the bumpy sand road.
To be continued...