In the western world voodoo is above all associated with mysterious rites and blood sacrifices, with obsession and belief in dark powers. The traditional religious voodoo leaders are aware of this and are looking for ways to adjust that primarily negative view. For them voodoo is much more than an ancient ancestral religion. For them voodoo is a comprehensive view of the world, it gives meaning and direction to the events of life and forms a guideline for everyday life. At the same time they realize that the modern world inevitably enters their life more and more and that the demands this new world asks of them may clash with the duties that the old world imposes on them.
The project in Couffo is a fine example of looking for a balance between maintaining the old traditions without which people feel lost, and the new demands of modern life. The traditional religious leaders work together with the secular leaders in a typical West African way, with conversations that may drag on and on till a compromise is reached that all parties can agree to without losing respect.
We are given the honour to support them by reporting about this process in a way that justifies all parties.
An old lady tells, with tears in her eyes, how she had to stay as a child in a voodooconvent for ten years. “I am nobody, I cannot read nor write and wasn’t able to learn a trade. If only there would have been someone as mister Gilbert when I was young”.