I write this post with the unsettling knowledge that I'm firmly ensconced as part of the problem. And I have no real solution to offer.

That said, it is never pleasant to watch the insidious descent of a group of people into the indenture of tourism.

Last weekend, in an effort to see the sights of southern Benin, a group of us took an hour-long, eighteen kilometer boat ride to Ganvié. Situated in the middle of a shallow lagoon, Ganvié has been around since the 1600s (at least), a village of refuge, built on stilts. According to the story, the Dahomey warriors were forbidden, by their religion, from entering the water. And, because their prey, the Tofinu people, were intent on avoiding subjugation by the warriors, they capitalized on this fact, escaped to Lake Nokoué, and set up their town.Ganvié has been minding its own business ever since.

However, a more nefarious sort of subjugation has begun—one which has no respect for the spirits of the lake. Supposedly (this is only hearsay; I have no corroborating evidence), Ganvié first became more widely known after it featured in a National Geographic special a couple of decades ago. Whether or not that is true, there has definitely been an inexorable incursion of tourism into the town.

Continue reading on mercyinafrica.blogspot.com

Comments by other travellers

There are no posts. Why not be the first to have your say?

Post a comment

I want to
Question
My comment - optional
Rating - how would you rate this place or experience?
 

About this author

  • Mercy in Africa

    We are two physicians who spent a year travelling the world in 2007-2008, and repeatedly return to West Africa to work with Mer…

Also by this author

  • Faith

    Augustus was dressed in black when he walked into the admissions tent. Odd, since we were not in New York City, but then who am I to comment on Monrovian fashion?

  • The congregation of the sideshow

    I have mentioned ward church in a few posts in the past, but I've never really written about it. After today, I must.

  • Chewing gum diplomacy

    You can now buy chewing gum in Singapore.

  • The Kidney Stone(s)

    So... We're writing this from Bishkek, where our plan was to stay a single night and then to head out to Issyk-Kul, the world's second-largest alpine lake (second only to Titicaca, whose very name can never be surpassed).

Latest travel blog posts