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Archive for the ‘Togo’ Category

When I arrived at the Voodoo ceremony in Togo in West Africa, two white powdered-faced women in grass skirts shuffled around and around to the beat of pulsating African drums.

In progress was a traditional Voodoo ceremony and hundreds watched the 10 participants performing in 3-ring circus style. Fifty million world-wide voodoo followers believe in one immensely powerful supreme god beyond their reach, causing them to rely on hundreds of spirits to communicate with their god.

During a ceremony, the Voodoo followers ask the spirits for advice, protection or assistance. The followers show respect to their god by performing rituals, some in the form of animal sacrifice.

A live chicken was buried with a clay pot in a 2-foot deep hole. Ten minutes later, they dug the chicken out alive. Then, the chicken was put on the head of a young boy and a sling shot rock caused the chicken to fall limp. The chicken’s head hung down to the boy’s nose and a final shot was fired at the boy’s face, hitting the chicken. The sacrifice was complete.

Then a 2-year-old child was taken from its mother and put in a plastic basket by the chicken hole. Screaming and crying, the baby was rescued suddenly by the mother. After weaving vines into a 5-foot rope, 2 men hang the screaming and crying young boy on the rope and carry him, then let him go. In another ritual, a grass skirted man heated an orange liquid on a fire and rubbed it over his upper body. Color, food and plants are used to pay tribute to their god.

Another part of Voodoo is possession and participants fainted, fell to the ground rubbing their faces in dirt, and ran screaming waving arms in belligerent manner. Witnessing the cradle of Voodoo for hours in Togo, West Africa, with Regent Seven Seas Cruises almost put me in a possessive trance, without the white powdered face and grass skirt.

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Meeting a former US Ambassador to Togo and his wife on a Regent Seven Seas Cruise turned out to be a major ambush. While stationed at the US Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, they told of an Embassy employee who had a “food’ experience.

The grandmother employee, her husband and 2 grandchildren decided to go to Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa for a noon picnic. They all agreed on fried chicken and all the trimming except the grandmother wanted to make her home-made potato salad.

They arrived on the mountain, spread the blanket, put out the food, soft drinks, and sat down to eat. While eating their first bite of food, they noticed baboons surrounding them and the baboons showed their teeth and screamed and waved their arms in the air. The 4 were so scared they ran to the car, locked the doors and rolled up the windows for protection.

So they sat in the car and watched the baboons eat their picnic. First, they ate all the fried chicken and moved to the next dish which was the grandmother’s homemade prize-winning potato salad. But after one bite, they spit it out. And, the grandmother screamed “they won’t eat it, they don’t like it!”

The baboons then ate the beans and they liked them and licked the bowl clean. They did the same with the Cole Slaw. All that was left was the potato salad and finally they ate it all. The grandmother was so happy now that even baboons like her potato salad.

But the final treat of the picnic was washing it all down, so each baboon grabbed a soft drink, popped the tab and chug-a-lugged it all down. Even though the family was robbed of their picnic, the grandmother was so happy even baboons love her potato salad.

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