At dawn, I set forth on another escapade of adventure. I was up quite early cause I literally didn’t wanna miss my free breakfast the hotel was offering, (I didn’t wanna hear food has finished mistakenly)…lol
My breakfast was a simple English one with croissant, eggs and coffee with the famous Cotonou long bread. After breakfast, I headed out straight to a spot which I have been lingering to go all the while; Foundation Zinsou. On my way to Foundation Zinsou, while asking my way around from the locals, a bike owner saw me and stopped to show me the place- he took me there and guess what? He became my tour guide for the whole day, chauffeur, and took my pictures, he became my buddy in no time…we bonded well- and seem to know all the places I wanted to visit and even more-that was a major plus( I hope my boo doesn’t read this part) lol. He waited for me till I finished at Foundation Zinsou.
The Zinsou family created the Fondation Zinsou in Cotonou as a private initiative in 2005. The original goal was to create a platform and exhibition center for contemporary African artists, particularly those active in Benin’s art scene. The foundation’s activities extend beyond the realm of African art to include education and social development as well as the fight against poverty. This place really stole my heart as it’s a foundation that is all artistic- as you know Im so drawn to arts. It also has a workshop for kids aged 5-13 years, a mini museum, a shop where you can buy African artifacts, and a cafe. I was lucky there was an art exhibition going on so I tagged along….
My tour guide was very friendly and enlightened, he took me round, giving me detailed information on the art exhibition- titled ’Sharing of Territories’ by Dominique Zinkpe.
Dominique Zinkpè was born in 1969 in Cotonou, and is one of the most recognizable contemporary artists to emerge from Benin. His work is influenced by the country’s rich history and his immediate African surroundings. Zinkpè’s paintings have a surrealist quality – loose figures battle and swim on the canvas. Nurturing fertile women often appear in Zinkpè’s work recalling themes of desire and motherhood. He uses a mixture of oil, acrylics and found objects on his canvas and leaves large areas of empty space. He had some very lovely artwork displayed and I kinda resonate with the artistic talent of this fellow.
Next on my list was;
This is such a perfect place with water sports being held at this beach sight. You can view the stretch of the beach as it enters into the beautiful horizon of the sea. It is located at the port area of Benin Republic. It was serene and quiet, no sign of anybody as it was a working day and everyone was supposed to be at work. I stayed at the beach side for a while- watched the waves go back and forth with basking of water and sand mixed with riverside dirt. I played around and took pictures and then it was time to say goodbye.
I stopped by at the mall and the Presidential house (I wanted to give the president a handshake but I was told he was in a meeting)…lol
Place of the Martyrs
The place of the Souvenir formerly called Place of the Martyrs is a place of the city of Cotonou , located in the Haie Vive district. It occupies the corner between Rue 390 and the Route de l’Aéroport. It is a name given to an operation carried out on the morning of January 1977. This statue was created 16th January 1979.
Place d’Etoile Rouge
Also known as Red Star . It is at the hart of Cotonou in the center of a roundabout. It is an imposing reminder of former President Mathieu Kerekou’s dalliance with socialism. The Red Star, as its name indicates, is a monument formed by a giant circle in the center of which is drawn a five-pointed star painted red. At the epicenter of the star stands a tower surmounted by a statue of a brave man. He has a gun in his shoulder, a wooden bundle in his left hand and a hoe in his right hand.
The artisanal Center is a great place to visit if you are interested in checking out or purchasing arts and crafts unique to Benin. The center has multiple spaces built with an African architectural design. Each space has specific craftsmen selling goods or sometimes making goods to be sold. The prices are reasonable and the items are very unique. *I got this lovely African badge that can be used as a brooch*.
Last stop was a bar; I sampled some Beninese drinks and it was time to say bye to my friend –Leonce. He dropped me at my hotel, offered to pick me up the next day as I was to go back to Nigeria. Leonce did pick me up and drove me to as far as the boarder. I was very grateful and when it was time to say my goodbye – tears came rolling down as I was deeply touched by his kindness- a total stranger going all the way for me-such gesture I will never forget- H e did all this for free, I offered to give him money for his time and service, he blatantly refused.
Crossing the boarder was not so difficult but I had to pay a token for every pass. I was home in some few hours. I had a great time, fun memories and an exciting experience.
This is my Beninese experience. I hope you had fun reading as much as I did reliving my experience through writing.