Lome, Togo


December 13

On the way back from our tour today, our guide, Mark (or Kwame, as he told us is his African name – because he was born on a Sunday), led us in a song – “I will never forget Togo”, and for sure we never will. People of Togo, Ghana and Ivory Coast typically name their children after the day of the week they were born.


West Africa is a place that most people never get to visit, and it has been extremely interesting and educational, if you go as an explorer and not a tourist.  We have heard people saying things like “why did they take us to this country?”, “this tour was a rip off”, and even heard the story of one supposedly educated person who was convinced she got colitis from being at a voodoo ceremony!

Well, we have really appreciated visiting this part of the world, with all of its poverty, some countries’ corruption, unusual practices, delightful people and more.

Today was no exception.   First, we were greeted by dancers and people in all sorts of costumes and three characters on stilts.

IMG_9835 IMG_9836 IMG_9840 IMG_9845 IMG_9846

Then we continued our day at Togo’s capital city of Lomé which is the birthplace of the largest Voodoo market in the world – a kind of super supply store for fetishes, charms and anything else one might need for a ritual. The Akodessewa Fetish Market, or Marche des Feticheurs, is a place where you can find anything from leopard heads and human skulls to Voodoo priests who bless and create fetishes or predict the future and make medicines to heal whatever ails you. Mark said that they don’t actually sacrifice the animals, but they die of natural causes and are then brought to the market.  In the practice of Voodoo every single creature is potent and divine, whether alive or dead, and in the Akodessewa Fetish Market you may find them all – monkeys, alligators, goats, leopards, gazelles, porcupine skins, snakes, hundreds of birds and many, many more – in various stages of decay and stacked up in macabre piles for blocks. Very unusual and for sure we won’t forget it.

IMG_9417 IMG_9421 IMG_9422 IMG_9423 IMG_9426 IMG_9430 IMG_9433 IMG_9434 IMG_9436 IMG_9439

Although the population of Togo is largely Christian, many of the people remain faithful to its religious ancestry of voodoo.  Most of the items here are ingredients that traditional healers use for rituals or to make magic charms and potions, including herb-garnished animal parts.  We even saw cages of live rats. (I don’t know what they use those for).


Want to know more?  Click to read all about how this “white magic’ works. Click here

We then went on to a rural school.  Although today is Sunday, they knew we were coming and the children were waiting, some in their classrooms reciting lessons or singing, and some outside.  One guest brought balloons and the children delighted in seeing him blow them up and send them afloat – they all tried to catch them. Another guest brought lollipops.  We were discouraged from giving the children money – in fact, adult guards were there to send the children away from us if they begged for money.


IMG_9482 IMG_9493 IMG_9513 IMG_9523 IMG_9528 IMG_9532 IMG_9547

The big hit was my iphone!  Every time I took a picture, the children swarmed around to get their pictures taken and then just loved seeing the pictures of themselves.  They loved swiping the screen to look at all the shots.  I have hundreds of pictures but will share just a few.  We did leave a donation for the school  Primary education of 6 years in length is mandatory here.  The children go to school from 7:30 – 11:30 AM, go home for lunch and a rest and then come back from 3 – 5. Parents are not allowed to keep their children out of school.

IMG_9535 IMG_9538 IMG_9543 IMG_9555 IMG_9557 IMG_9569 IMG_9578

We had two security guards on our bus, but there was never a hint of any problem at all. Our last stop was a rural village where we went to the ceremonial grounds and met the village’s royal court – a distinguished group that introduced us to the local monarch.  We watched a folkdance performance to traditional drum music.  I bought a necklace and bracelet made by the local women (in fact, one of them sized the bracelet for me while I waited.)


Again, the beautiful children here delighted in having their pictures taken and then looking at all of them.  It was really fun to see the happy faces.

IMG_9807 IMG_9797 IMG_9793 IMG_9789 IMG_9783 IMG_9775 IMG_9763 IMG_9756 IMG_9753 IMG_9748 IMG_9745 IMG_9741 IMG_9728 IMG_9724 IMG_9705 IMG_9692 IMG_9676IMG_9679 IMG_9677 IMG_9644 IMG_9641 IMG_9638 IMG_9622 IMG_9599 IMG_9453 IMG_9448

Yes, we will never forget Togo.  I do hope we see some of the colorful fabric tomorrow in Ghana or on Tuesday in the Ivory Coast.

By the way, I didn’t mention that our artist in residence this segment is Anna Smith, the wife of David Smith who was our photography lecturer on the first segment of the tour. He is back as a lecturer and she is doing the art classes. She is a specialist in fabric art.  I have made my very own voodoo doll, done fabric transfer from photos, made a wine bottle apron and more.  Lots more projects to come.


This entry was posted in Africa, December, Excursions, World Cruise 1. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Lome, Togo

  1. Sharon Krohn says:

    How fascinating … And some amazing photographs of the children !


  2. Rick & Marilen says:

    As always………. so very interesting about everything,,and we are with you….. learn love the culture even if it seems strange,
    any pictures of your projects???


  3. Y. Brown says:

    You have the best attitude about travel and exploration. You can learn and experience some thing special everywhere. We also heard people complaining about Luderitz and St. Helena on our trip. I found interesting and lovely things in both places. Your blog makes every place seem interesting and a place to see. Your view of Luderitz and Walvis Bay where a little different from mine and it gave me a different perspective. Maybe some of the traveler on the Insignia should read your blog. It would open there eyes and maybe give them a way to look at each location differently.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s