Filed Under (Beninese culture, General) by Rob on 29-08-2007

I walked out of my front gate and found a church service quite literally on my doorstep:


(Yes, that’s our wall on the RHS!)

So, what were around 100 people doing in our street, singing, dancing and praying? Not due to our spiritual influence, I’m afraid!! The old man next door died last week, so this is what is locally known as a veillé or night vigil. It’s running every evening at the moment for several nights, as a lead up to the funeral ceremony. It’s quite normal in Africa to take over the whole street on such occasions. The music starts early evening and goes on until around 10:00pm. Still, we get free music piped in through all windows (whether we want it or not!) and there’s no need to put any of our outside lights on. Also, we can walk down the street in the rain without getting wet!

Tonight, we went out to see some friends and when we came back, we couldn’t park our car! There was a ‘no entry’ sign at the end of our street and a parking attendant with a torch! So, we went round the block and managed to park a block away! Furthermore, there were easily double the number of people tonight – maybe as many as 300! Here’s the view looking up the street this time; what you can see is about a third of the people:


1 Comment posted on "A curious thing happened last night…"
Michael PZ on September 24th, 2007 at 10:25 am #

Consider yourself lucky that the vigil didn’t last two full days (plus nights!)