|Mom kept herself occupied trying out my new guitar.|
|While Maddie worked away at a friendship bracelet!|
It was late afternoon when we arrived in Adourekoman, another 2 hours north of Bohicon. We were greeted with a swarm of happy kids who quickly became our village entourage. Daniel and his wife prepared a wonderful meal of fried ignams and pimant sauce with soja, giving the family a taste of village cuisine. Maddie and I camped out for the night while everyone else went to Dassa, excited for another village day.
Day 3: Market Day and Village Exploring
Having never seen, or ventured through, an African marketplace, the entire family was looking forward to participating in my Wednesday trip to the Glazoue market. As I've mentioned before, this market is the third largest in Benin, being a central location for vendors from Cote D'Ivoire, Togo, Nigeria, and other surrounding countries. We started the day with a stop at the attcheke stand, where everyone got their first bite of this Cote D'Ivoire delicacy.
|Enjoying attcheke in the Glazoue market!|
One of the highlights of market were the tissu stalls and the countless bowls of spices and foreign African foods that lined the alleys. We tried to take pictures of the goods at the Vodun (Voodoo) section of the market, but the vendor wasn't too happy with us.
|Mom and Dad at the Glazoue Marche|
After a couple hours in the heat of the African sun, we headed back to village where Dad promptly fell asleep in my hammock. The ladies cooled off with lemonade while getting acquainted with my house and playing with Wowo! We ventured out in the afternoon for a more complete village tour, visiting the church, health center and Peuhl village.
|Dad enjoying village life with a new friend|
|Maddie and Abby quickly made friends in village|
After another jammed packed day in village, we rounded it out with another delicious meal chez Daniel. Fortune brought over pentard meat (another poultry) and Vincent joined us from Kpakpa!
Day 4: The Dahomey Empire
Maddie and I woke up and put on our meme tissu, the agreed upon family outfit for our tour of the Dahomey kingdom. After leaving the house to go buy doughnuts (the only hot food I can readily buy in village), we returned home to plates of macaroni delivered from Daniel's wife.
|Maman's infamous maca|
We finally left Adourekoman and met up with the rest of the clan in Dassa, where they had spent the night. From Dassa, we visited a settlement of underground dwellings that were used to hide from slavery during the reign of the Dahomey kingdom and wars of enslavement.
|Visiting the Essou "Estate" with Sebastian Essou, our fearless driver and wonderful guide for the week. The lion was the symbol of his great-grandfather who ruled over land outside of Abomey.|
We arrived at Grand Popo just in time to enjoy an afternoon of sunshine on the beach. It was Mom's first real tropical experience and everyone's first glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean from Africa! Despite not being able to swim in the ocean due to rough currents, we all soaked in the gorgeous views and poolside payotes.