It might be because of the gray sky and the humidity in the air, a clear sign of “Harmattan” ( a warm breeze coming from the sea) but in this part of Africa voodoo seems to be everywhere.
We are in Togo and in Benin, two countries that are politically divided but united by a religion where belief and rituals have strong characteristics of syncretistic and arcane nature, that then evolved with slaves leaving to America, Manila and the rest of Latin America. In 1996 Vodou was recognized as an official religious belief, and is the religion of 80% of the local population.
It is a religion that coexists with Islam and Christianity, without them decreasing in number. It is a religion that gives hope to the people that are suffering from famine and persecution and that guides them in life. The spirits punish those who do bad or evil things, and not only do they punish the person but also their future generations.
Because of this the population is excluded from traditional medical care as they put their trust in healers and sorceress instead of going to the hospital.
And this is the religion that I tried to captured in these images, taking part in sacrifices of animals, dance, healing rituals and contacting the ancestors. I attempted to capture the beautiful and magical atmosphere that the groups of highly involved and passionate people created while trying convince a skeptical European like me…