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sunny 34 °C
View Benin, Togo and Cote, Ivory on curlygirl's travel map.


This morning we are joined by our guide for a very full day visiting the area, the artisans and the trades that thrive here.

The weather is amazing. A welcome break from the intense humidity we experienced in Abidjan and there is blue sky. We pull up to this empty field which is quite unusual with its large rock formation. Around the open area are cashew trees. Cashews are one of the major exports of Cote D’ivore. They are lovely.


This is a very sacred area and people come here often to make wishes and to sacrifice animals when the wishes come true. They are considered Animalists and we are told there is no voodoo but the similarities are many. It is pretty but as we approach there are chicken feathers and dried blood everywhere. We walk around and we see three people sitting below a rock performing some sort of ritual. Thankfully, no animals are involved. We find this all bizarre, this intense belief in the mystical and that the sacrificing of animals can solve problems is very difficult to understand especially when you see the way people live.


Understanding this faith becomes the most difficult part of our trip especially as we walk further into this area.

We follow a trail and break out into the huge opening and we are immediately wowed by the beautiful white granite banks. Our joy quickly turns to shock and then intense sorrow as we get closer. This is a granite quarry. A quarry that has a fully manual operation. For as far as the eye can see, there are people working to break the stone, while other carry it on their head to form large piles. Although there are men working, it is the number of women that stand out initially. This is hard work under the full sun. It is 9:30 am and already 26 degrees. I no longer find the temperature so pleasant. As we get closer, we stop cold and we are quiet. Working alongside the adults are children, many no more than 7 or 8 years old, helping one another to hoist the buckets on rocks on their heads.


I have seen a lot of sadness. I have seen children working too young instead of going to school but I am more horrified than I have ever been. This is slave labour and I cannot believe that in this day and age, it could be so bad. Côte D’Ivoire is a resource rich country but it has a long way to go. We walk here silently for an hour. I try to capture it in photographs but it is impossible to show the magnitude of this. I am wondering how, in 2020, in our world, this can be happening and I am racking my brain because I want to help. I don’t know how.


The drive to our next location was very quiet and when we came upon a family of smiling kids, we were lifted, a little.


We stop by the local weavers and to the bead makers. This was neat, in minutes, they use a chicken feather and natural dyes to paint they clay beads.
We also seem to pop into local markets.


markets. Always interesting characters


This guys is one of the civilian protectors of the highway. I wonder if they are like vigilantes. Apparently they are more respected than the police.


In the evening we got to see another dance. This was one of my favourites and had the best music which was both rhythmic and loud. This was the dance of the Bolpye or the dance of the panther done by the sénoufo people. It is a dance that is a right of passage for young men to become adults. A process that takes 7 years. So much energy.


By the way, there a larger than average occurrence of albinoism here. We have seen several individuals.

Posted by curlygirl 05:54 Archived in Cote d'Ivoire Tagged child labour

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Quite a day - very unsettling for sure. Although we are aware child labour exists this must have been so hard to witness. On an up note - that beadwork is Beautiful.

by Agnes Penton

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