Togo: Marche de Fetishes in Lome
This was one of the most shocking, appalling, unusual, bizarre, and weird things I have seen or experienced. Fetish markets are illegal in both neighboring Ghana and Benin, so the one in Togo is the world largest and only fetish market. Wild and domestic animals of all shapes and sizes and species are here – dried up and ready to be used for fetishes (various voodoo medicinal and magical purposes) . There were more endangered animals and birds here that you could see on a week-long safari – pangolin (I have never seen one alive), monkeys, owls, turtles, eagles, chameleons, lizards, antelope skins and heads and horns, dogs, cats, bats, cattle, hedgehogs, hyenas and even cheetahs! Rats and frogs – still alive or slowly decomposing. So depressing! All this stuff is either used as is or ground into powder into various potions and fetishes (most of them for sexual distinction which seems of a bigger problem in Africa then malaria). You visit includes visiting a voodoo doctor and specialist in a dark room in front of a giant voodoo sculpture, where several voodoo fetishes are made to order for you. Job fetish – something made of feathers and you rub it against your forehead in circles and you get promoted in your job. Travel fetish – tie some weird rope around a stick and leave it in your luggage and nothing will happen to you while on the road. Eternal love fetish – drop some liquid on some piece of animal bone and animal hair and then say the name of your girlfriend and then go to her place and rub it on her arm and she will stay with you forever (you may wanna bring some Purell disinfectant for her as well). Naturally, all fetishes are for sale. For extra money you could do some voodoo on a doll representing your enemy (or your girlfriend that will dump you after your try the eternal love fetish on her). Tempting as all these fetishes were, I left empty-handed.