Six months in Benin: Ghanaian student speaks about shrines, voodoo, education

Often, we hear of weird stories about places, people, and past events but as to whether these are factual, we really cannot tell. One of such unbelievable tales is the old and famous legendary international soccer game between Ghana and India.

The story suggests Ghana suffered a humiliating defeat of 99 goals to one because anytime the Indian side got hold of the ball, it turned into a lion and frightened the Ghanaian players and goalkeeper. We hear of these stories and they seem to as like fictions but it could be that some are real.

In today’s episode of the Study Abroad Series, we take you to the Republic of Benin, the West African country renowned for spiritual prowess. In fact, we are told, the most powerful fetish priests and shrines in Africa are based in Benin and anytime voodoo is mentioned, the country comes to mind. Voodoo Day is one of the biggest annual religious festivals celebrated by the Beninese.

Benin fetish priests are alleged to have the power to make people rich through rituals but the irony is, the country itself is still underdeveloped and depends largely on agriculture for its economic growth.

For the past weeks, Benin was trending on social media in Ghana for some strange reasons. Twitter trends had it that, some 77 Ghanaian folks who decided to go to Benin for money rituals were told by the fetish priest that 7 out of the number would be used as sacrifice to get the remaining 70 rich.

Actually, the trend followed an audio believed to be from one of the ritualists who became frightened and regretted embarking on the dreadful journey.

Now, away from that, imagine going to the market to shop for foodstuff only to see idols erected on the stalls, standing right on top of or beside the products. This is one of the encounters of Sheila Nortey in Benin as shared with vlogger, Selorm Helen.

Sheila just completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Education, Winneba. Before completion of school, she had to travel to Benin to do her compulsory exchange programme in French, as a language student.

What was supposed to be an educational visit, turned out to be an adventurous and fun-filled journey. Apart from the great education she and her colleagues experienced in Benin, Sheila tells us the six-month stay in the French-speaking country has been an “eye-opener” and full of discoveries.

Among places, she and her mates toured were shrines of snakes where people troop in daily to seek for protection and other spiritual help. “We visited the shrine of snakes in Ouidah. There were snakes as old as 50 years and we were told they feed them with meat,” she disclosed.

She also dismissed the assertion that Beninese are scammers and ritualists saying “they are friendly people and like having fun.”

Source: Helen Selorm, Contributor

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