During Pre-Service Training, we got to take a trip to Ouidah and it was so great. We got to see 5 things: the sacred forest, python temple, the French fort, the slave route, and finally the door of no return.
Super nice. There’s lotsa statues here and there is this tree which is like 300 years old and one day without warning like all the branches and fruit fell off and never grew back. There’s also a tree that fell down and then righted itself back up also. We could not go all the through the forest because it is sacred and they still use some parts of it for initiation.
Exactly what it sounds like…
One of the French forts where they use to hold enslaved Africans before they started their long march done the slave route to the door of no return. It is now a museum about some of the history of the fort and slavery. Also the area where they use to hold the enslaved Africans has been changed to a place where one can buy and sell art (locally made art from what I could tell.) We couldn’t take pictures of inside the museum which sucked. BUT one of my favorite exhibits was when they showed the connection between Benin and Brasil through side by side pictures of life and both places. I could barely guess which picture was from where. It was beautiful. It was amazing. It made me appreciate going to Brazil when. I was 7 years old even more. It also made me laugh a bit about how the ancestors guided me to Brasil and are now guiding me through Benin.
We didn’t drive the whole route but it was pretty intense. There was a couple of memorials which I was happy to see along the route. It was intense imagining my ancestors walking and walking and walking to the door off no return. There was a couple of stop points where there was a tree where they had to walk around it backwards a couple to erase their connection to their villages and country and to severe their connection to their history, heritage and culture. It didn’t work.🙃
Door of No Return (Port de Non Retour)
The beach where enslaved Africans had their final moments in Africa before being forced to leave and never return again.