Tag Archives: culture

One The Vodun Trail - Benin. A voodoo priest with a python wrapped around his head, Temple of Pythons, Ouida, Benin, West Africa. Image ©Jason Florio

On The Vodun Trail – Benin. Images ©Jason Florio

On the Vudon Trail - Benin. A Voodoo temple at the stilted village of Ganvié, Lake Nokoue, Benin. The walls are decorated with voodoo symbols ©Jason Florio
A Voodoo temple at the stilted village of Ganvié, Lake Nokoue, Benin. The walls are decorated with voodoo symbols. Image ©Jason Florio / The New York Times

On the Vodun Trail – Vodun practitioners in Benin worship a pantheon of gods and lesser deities that inhabit objects ranging from stones to waterfalls. They believe that the spirits of their ancestors dwell among them, and they employ talismans, or “fetishes” like dried animal parts, for spiritual and physical rejuvenation as well as for protection against spells cast by malevolent sorcerers.

A Voodoo temple at the stilted village of Ganvié on Lake Nokoue, Benin. The Voodoo priest Salako Hannyi in his temple, Benin, West Africa. Image © Jason Florio
A Voodoo temple at the stilted . Voodoo priest, Salako Hannyi, in his temple, in the village of Ganvié on Lake Nokoue, Benin, West Africa. Image ©Jason Florio/The New York Times

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“Le vodun is Africa. It is the faith of our ancestors,” I was told by Dagbo Hounon Houna II, the spiritual chief of vodun in Benin, where 20 percent of the population, or a million people, practice pure vodun and another 40 percent embrace a form that incorporates Christian iconography. A retired civil servant in his 50s, he received me in a rondavel, a circular hut, inside a compound on the outskirts of Ouidah…

Excerpt from: ‘On the Vodun Trail’ in Benin Published in The New York Times Words by Joshua Hammer and photographs by Jason Florio

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One The Vodun Trail - At the entrance of the Thron voodoo temple in Ouida, Benin a small hole is dug where a package is placed at the Thron temple, Ouidah,Benin. Image ©Jason Florio
One The Vodun Trail – At the entrance of the Thron voodoo temple in Ouida, Benin, a small hole is dug where a package is placed. Image ©Jason Florio/ The New York Times
One The Vodun Trail - Benin.A priest at the Thron voodoo temple and devotees handle a wrapped object they call 'The Source' at the Thron temple, Ouidah,Benin. Image ©Jason Florio
One The Vodun Trail – A priest at the Thron voodoo temple and devotees handle a wrapped object they call ‘The Source’ at the Thron temple, Ouidah, Benin. Image ©Jason Florio/The New York Times

See more of these images by Jason Florio

A female voodoo devotee dances and sings, with others who beat drums at the Thron temple, Ouidah,Benin. Image ©Jason Florio
Voodoo devotees dance, sing and beat drums at the Thron temple, Ouidah,Benin. Image ©Jason Florio/The New York Times

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Gender Equality Afghanistan – Secret Home School for Girls,

Gender Equality Afghanistan - Secret Home School for Girls - image © Jason Florio
Image ©Jason Florio: Secret Home School for Girls, Afghanistan

Gender Equality Afghanistan

Gender Equality Afghanistan – At the beginning of the 21st century, our world still didn’t get rid of the different evaluation between the genders. Our campaign’s purpose is to draw attention to this important issue of humanity and bring about the importance of change, with the collaboration of the world’s photo artists. We dedicate this work to UNICEFGender Equality 2019

World’s Photo Artists For Gender Equality

“In August 2000 I was smuggled into a house in the suburbs of Herat, Afghanistan – the Taliban were in control of the city and had put strict laws in place banning education for girls – severe punishments were meted out on those who disobeyed them. Inside the house a group of girls sat in rows, each clutching a book as a volunteer teacher conducted the class. But despite the intense danger, the teacher and the girl’s parents knew the girls must have the opportunity for education, whatever the cost.

I often think of this moment –  if these parents and teachers could put their lives on the line to operate a secret home school for girls, then we all must find the courage to speak out whenever and wherever we find  Gender Equality under attack. The work along with other photographers will be exhibited in Budapest, Hungary in August in conjunction with UNICEF.”  Jason Florio


Related: ‘An Afghan Diary – Talibanistan

My journey to the Taliban-controlled region of Afghanistan in August 2000 was in fact not planned. I was on my way to Kashmir to follow the ‘jihad trail’ when I got a call to join my colleague and writer Pepe Escobar, who was working on jihad stories on the Pakistan-Afghan border – he said: “This is (Afghanistan) where it’s really happening…” Jason Florio

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On Assignment in Uganda: public transport – ‘Boda Bodas’ ©Jason Florio

BodaBoda – public transport, Kampala, Uganda ©Jason Florio

Uganda ‘Boda Bodas’ – ‘Boda Boda’ is the name given to one of the most ubiquitous, and cheapest, forms of public transport in East Africa – motorcycles and bicycles.

Uganda 'Boda Bodas' public transport ©Jason Florio
Uganda ‘Boda Bodas’ public transport ©Jason Florio
Uganda 'Boda Bodas' public transport ©Jason Florio
Uganda ‘Boda Bodas’ public transport ©Jason Florio
Uganda 'Boda Bodas' public transport ©Jason Florio
Uganda ‘Boda Bodas’ public transport ©Jason Florio

Seeing so many of them on the roads, in and around Kampala, reminded me of the Moto taxis we used in the Fouta Djallon Highlands of Guinea Conakry, whilst on the River Gambia Expedition

Helen & ‘moto’ rider, Ebu, and River Gambia Expedition team member, Ebou, with his rider – leaving Mali Ville, Guinea-Conakry © Jason Florio

‘According to our main moto taxi man, Ebu, when we were trying to make the initial, extremely protracted, deal with him: “Come, we go now, now! We will get to Kedougou (Senegal) in two hours” he assured us – compared to 6-7 hours in a vehicle. In the end, we haggled a deal for roughly $28 per person – down from $35 per person. Hey, when on a tight expedition budget, every single dollar saved counts…

At long last, almost 5 hours later, we were ready to hit the road. Ebu is still adamant that we would make Kedougou by dark. So much so, he very convincingly stated: “and I will return tonight, to Mali Ville, with a passenger from Kedougou, too!”. In actual fact, we would not reach Kedougou until 10 pm that evening!’ extract from the ‘River Gambia Expedition-1044km source-sea African odyssey’ blog by Helen Jones-Florio


Jason Florio is available for assignments, and for image licensing – Contact here

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