Saturday, February 25, 2017

A Whole Different Style of Living

Saturday Afternoon in Ganvie..........Home to some of our patients :)

The village of Ganvie, in Benin, is the only human settlement in the world, built on stilts, in the middle of a lake, several kilometers from the nearest shore.

But people don’t just go ahead and build themselves a home, in the middle of a lake, they must have a serious reason. And the reason for the existence of Ganvie can be traced back to the 18th century, when a peaceful African tribe, the Tofinu, tired of running from the slaver tribe of Dom Homey, decided to build themselves a home, on Lake Nokoue.

The Dom Homey believed a terrible demon lived in the lake, and their ruthless warriors dared not set foot in its waters. The Tofinu had finally found their peace. But fast forward to present day,and the people of Ganvie are still reluctant to go on solid ground, although the threat of slavery is only a distant memory. They’ve ground accustomed to living on the water, and wouldn’t abandon their unique lifestyle, for anything.

Ganvie currently has a population of 30,000, all living in bamboo houses, built on stilts. Moving around the village is only possible in pirogues (boats carved from tree trunks), and even if someone wants to visit their next door neighbor, they have to row there. The Venice of Africa, as Ganvie is commonly referred to, has one and a half pieces of dry land. the complete patch of land is the site of the village school, while the half will be the cemetery, when the villagers import enough dry ground, from the shores.

Mark, Our Tour Guide

The men catch the fish and the woman take the boats to shore to sell the fish to the locals

Woman prepare sandwiches and other foods to sell to those on other boats and to the locals

Our Boat :)

Jody and Emily, my Australian Co-workers

A little fella shading himself from the intense heat 

Fish Farm.......There is only so much fish to go around and this is their primary means of income. 

No fishing poles required.........They toss out the nets all day long

Our driver

Gliding through and soaking in the views! 
This is truly an example of living "one day at a time" building sheds and warehouses to store all of our stuff......They have what they need for today. 

Walmart of Ganvie.......Anything you need can be found on one of these boats in the central area of the city.

Local Church.......Voodoo is the primary "worldview" in many of the Benin Villages. Often the Catholic Church is also close by as they mix Catholicism and Voodoo together. 

Village Hospital

Twins!!!! Just born the day before :)

Kitchen for the hospital 

Everywhere you go, you must take your boat.......The whole village is connected only by waterways

We saw lots of, playing, paddling the boats, washing clothes

They understand the meaning of recycling..............Water, Soda and Liquor bottles are reused for many things :)

These pictures are on the way home. We stopped at a local homeopathic pharmacy. Many people have no money for medications, thus rely on local herbs and remedies. This little hut was filled with all kinds of herbs.

Life on the Streets

Our tour bus 

Lunch Time.........Local Food!!

Anyone for Goat?????

Actually is was quite yummy! 
You see in the background a sink....It is proper etiquette to wash your hands before eating, as it is also proper etiquette to eat with your hands........Right hand only :)

Rice, Goat, Fish, Vegetables with Onions and Pounded Yams.........Absolutely Delicious!!!! 

Lovely Day in Benin........Back to the Ship Hot, Sweaty, Stinky and Feeling Like I have Heat Stroke!!!!

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