mama fixile...

Togoville is a village only about 30km east of Lomé if traveling by wing. By wheel the journey stretches somewhat further as the road kinks around the contours of Lake Togo.

Otherwise most of the traffic to and from the village is water borne. Wooden pirogues cross the lake shallows, poled from their sterns by muscled boatmen, carrying all manner of human and other cargo from sunrise well into darkness.

One Saturday morning we arranged to travel by pirogue to the village and have a look around. Togoville has a historical reputation for voodoo and the practice is supposed to persist to this day. A guide will walk you through some of the roads and back alleys for a fee, happily pointing out various blobs of clay, crude little shrines, faded painted images, and sundry other objects described as voodoo fetishes. During the tour, though, one feels a nagging sense of doubt: do these artifacts really represent a living and sacred belief system, or are they simply a revenue opportunity contrived by the local chamber of commerce for gullible foreign tourists?

The surreal apparition here is the largest voodoo fetish to greet us this day. She lives in her own little pavilion with an iron gate. She also employs the protection of tough human guardians who make sure her visitors deposit ample monetary offerings between her wide feet.

Sometime later I read this particular fetish may be a goddess of fertility. Indeed, shortly after this visit our little cat became pregnant!

Togoville, Togo, April 2007.

Rolleiflex T, Fomapan 200.