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I'm not much of a photographer and in general we didn't have much time for taking pictures. Most of the photos below were taken during our trips out of Cotonou.

The Bight of Benin from my room in Novotel, Cotonou. In the morning, egrets were to be seen foraging among the palm trees.

view from novotel


At the market, Cotonou: stuck in a traffic jam while attempting to buy cotton fabric.

at Contonou market


Songhaï telecentre at Savalou. We saw similar centres at Porto Novo and Parakou. Left to right: Lazetta Braxton, Brad Braxton, Sally Barbour, Herman Eure, Father Nzamujo Godfrey (founder of Songhaï), Jack Wilkerson, Sylvain Boko, Pia Wood, Allin Cottrell.

Savalou telecentre


Songhaï farm, Parakou: prize hog. Brad Braxton at left, Father Nzamujo behind.

Prize hog, Songhai Parakou


Loading a car in Parakou. On the road, we saw many vehicles more heavily loaded than this one!

Loading a car, Parakou


Street scenes in Parakou. The dirt road on the left is in much better shape than those in Cotonou, which were reduced to deeply rutted lakes of mud after the early-morning rains. The mopeds on the right are the characteristic means of transportation; the Contonou streets are dense with them and the pollution from their exhaust constitutes a significant health hazard. Parakou traffic is much lower-key.

Street in Parakou mopeds in Parakou


Children carrying goods on their heads, Parakou. I was not bold/rude enough to snap them from closer by.

children carrying in Parakou


Lunch on the road from Parakou to Abomey: we had a fine meal of fish and rice, washed down with Castel. Left to right: Sally Barbour; Herman Eure; Lucien (aka "Urgence"), a Songhaï driver; Pia Wood; another Songhaï driver.

lunch on the road



Ouidah was the primary exit point for the slave trade conducted between Portuguese slavers and the kings of Dahomey. Below is a memorial on the site of the slave auctions.

slave auction site, Ouidah


On the left: the "Gate of No Return", a memorial put up in 1992. At right: view to sea at Ouidah, where the slave ships anchored.

gate of no return the sea at Ouidah


Also at Ouidah: the Python Temple. David, one of the Wake students on the study tour, holds a python. Ouidah is a center of voodoo.

python temple

Songhai next: Songhaï