The first thing that crosses one’s mind on thinking of Voodoo are the Voodoo dolls, black magic and needles. It’s quite common here and is said that the black magic isn’t used to do any bad for anyone. Rather it’s only done to do good and restore health of the people.
The Voodoo market in Togo is the first place to give me the knowledge on the religion Akodessawa. It’s definitely one of those markets which is quite unusual to visit but it does teach a lot about Voodoo and the Western culture. It is famous for its huge variety of products. Everything you need for a ritual can be found in this market. Although, most of the locals who visit this place do not come for fun but to buy ingredients and fix problems or to simply visit the priest of Voodoo.
How to get there
The market is called “Marché des Fetiches”. It is located in Lomé which is the capital of Togo in Akodassewa district. You can hire a private taxi or get a zem ( motorcycle taxi ) to get to the location. Zem is by far the cheapest option but never forget to negotiate the price with them. Most drivers in Togo cannot speak English so learning a bit of French can help in easier communication.
The entrance fees of tourists are 3000 CFA and an additional amount of 2000 CFA will be charged per camera in order to click pictures. A guide takes you around the whole places and answers all your price in the same amount you pay during entrance. I don’t remember visiting a market ever before and it was quite clear from the view that there was no need of the locals to pay so I too grabbed my chance and asked everything possible to the guide.
Visiting the Voodoo Market
There were heads of several animals in the markets such as snakes, cats, monkeys, bats, hedgehogs, chameleons, crocodiles, spellshelp and so on. I have never seen so many dead bodies of animals together ever before. The guard assured that the animals weren’t killed but they died a natural death. It was hard to believe so in Africa as they have a common ritual of sacrificing animals and is also considered sacred.
The number of stalls in the market are 15. They are all run by salesmen who come from Benin, a neighbouring country where voodoo is said to have originated. The guide told me what was the use of different animals as we went from stall to stall. The place is a little pharmacy where patients come once they consult s fetishist. The ingredients are a mix of herbs and powder mixed together.
Meeting a Voodoo priest
Towards the end of the market tour, you may visit a voodoo priest who sits in a small hut right behind the stalls in the market. Here is where the priest consults spirits as well as charges charms and fetishes. The locals also come here to find a solution to their problems. If the spirits approve then any of your wishes can be fulfilled. They also use certain spells such as voodoo love spells, voodoo love spells to get your ex back, voodoo love spells without ingredients and so on to help their locals.
On entering the room, I received some explanation and was also blessed by the priest. He also showed me fetishes and charms and explained how they were used. The priest showed four charms, one was for love, the other for safe travels, one for health and the last one to protect home. I thought of buying the charms but as I heard the price the spirits demanded, I almost fell off the chair and decided to buy none.