2013 Trip to West Africa

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Ghana

 

Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, burial place of the first president of Ghana. The people of this coastal region of Ghana are buried in coffins inspired by the deceased's passions. A lizard at the entrance to Kakum National Park. Walking between treetops in the Kakum National Park canopy walkway.
 

The Gold Coast is punctuated with European forts and castles that played pivotal roles in the slave trade. Here the guns of Cape Coast castle overlook the Gulf of Guinea. Hundreds of male slaves were held in these dungeons for weeks on end. These 'doors of no return' led to the ships that took them to the Americas.
 

Elmina Castle, another slave fort. Slaves that threatened revolt were cast into this cell to die.
 

Peacocks in the gardens of the Manhyia Palace, residence of the Ashanti king. Margaret weaving kente cloth. Margaret making a new friend in the market at Kumasi, the largest in West Africa.
 

Kintampo falls. Up close and personal with wildlife on a walking safari at Mole National Park.
 

Our hotel was in the park at the top of an escarpment, seen here behind the elphants. A warthog.
 

A male Bushbuck. A female Patas monkey.
 

Larabanga Mosque. The oldest mosque in Ghana. Cotton spinning at Sognaayilli village.
 

A fast learner. Sheep taking refuge from the midday sun in the lee of a wall.
 
 

Togo

 

Rural tribes came together for the funeral of the chief's mother. The local market was a hive of activity. A local grain drying in preparation for brewing. Brewing the local beer begins by boiling the grain.
 

 

 

 

     
 
 

Benin

 

Along the roadside. The Tamberma live in their fort-like Tata homes.
 

Monkey skulls provide voodoo protection to the house. The village's spiritual leader.
 

Chilli peppers drying roadside. A brief deluge drowned the streets of Abomey. The king of the Abomey presiding over a voodoo ceremony. Voodoo adepts performing ritual dances.
 

Visiting a village for a Gelede masked dance. Drumming and dancing herald the start of the Gelede masked dance.
 

Each mask tells a story instilling the tribe's values on the next generation. This mask promotes safe sex with unfamiliar partners. This mask warns of the dangers of prostitution.
 

Arriving at Ganvie, a stilt village upon Nokoue Lake, home to over thirty thousand people.
 

The beach at Ouidah, the voodoo capital of Benin. Temple of Pythons at Ouidah.
 

Fortunately, pythons are not venomous. Door of no return at the end of the slave road in Ouidah. The Zangbeto dance representing the spirits that protect the Fon village.
 

 

 

 

 

At various points in the dance the Zangbeto masks were turned on their side to reveal a range of mystical totems, including a live crocodile, but never a human dancer!      
 
 

Return to Togo

 

Welcomed by the chief's family, in state for a government visit. A voodoo spirit protecting a home in Togoville. Voodoo fetish market.
 

Monkey skulls
 

 

 

 

     
 
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