In August 2018, I made a solo trip to Benin. First time I was there was 9 years ago so I had an idea of the place.
My first visit was to Ouida [wedaa] town. It’s not so far from the big seashore. The trip was on motor as the main transportation was motorcycles. And that was a refreshing ride itself.
First stop was the Porte du non retour (gate of no return)
So this is the place where the slaves were marched through the town to and entered into the ships that carried them to be slaves in the states.
From this place, we went into the main town where we saw the place Chacha. This is where the slaves will be assembled under a big tree and females will be made to go round 9 times and males 7 times. It was believed that in doing this, they will forget about their past. They did this before they were marched on foot a few kilometers to the Porte du non retour.
The third stop was Place du Pythons. A sacred place where pythons are kept. They are not killed and are not harmful. They were seen as sacred.
A tourist guide took us to small shrines and told us the significance of the place and how libations are poured on the shrines on festivals and special days.
Indeed it was believed that the whole town of Ouida saw Pythons as sacred thus when one is seen in any house, they were not killed but gentle taken out.
The journey back home was indeed an adventurous one. As we had to pass a long stretch of road on a motorbike. Always insist on a helmet.
Back in the City, Cotonou, I and my tourist guide passed by the national stadium (Stade d’Amitie). This place is surrounded by shops, restaurants, and fairs where you will see all the African art craft being sold. I took the liberty of buying a few Benin souvenirs and art craft to keep and also give to a few family and friends back home in Ghana when I left the following day.