Given recent visa woes I feel in need of additional support and head for Lome’s fetish market. A patch of sandy ground bleaching under direct sun holding a dozen or so rickety stalls bearing all manner of dried animal bits. There are parts from all sorts of probably endangered animals – elephant tails, crocodile skulls and skins, monkey heads, dried chameleons, and snakes (including one live Boa). I don’t think British customs would be very impressed.
Inside a shed, accompanied by a guide and the “son of Fetish” I’m shown a mound of clay shaped into a roughly hominoid configuration. This is Fetish. As the son of fetish rings a bell I’m told to say my name 3 times for good luck. I’m then shown a series of small charms. Fetish decides how much I will pay for the charm of good travels. My guide interprets the words of son of Fetish:
“Fetish says you have very good luck”. That will be the bell ringing I think. “The son of Fetish asked if you should pay 25,000 CFA [which by the way is a truly ridiculous sum] but Fetish say no. He ask if you pay 20,000. Fetish say no. He ask if you should pay 18,000. Fetish say yes – but if this is too much you can suggest a price”. We agree on about 10 pounds.
Though Agbodrafo is only some kilometres from Lome it felt like I had been travelling all day. The long wait at to depart was hot and sticky. It turns out that Agbodrafo is much, much harder to pronounce then it is to walk around in 10 minutes.
Lunch further east is almost as grisly as the fetish market in Lome, being the whole head of a monstrous fish. I first can’t place the taste, and then realise its the delicate blend of Chinese five spice. The best meal I’ve had since my birthday.