It began to get really dark and we left as we still wanted to visit Rue des Esclaves (Thé slave route) before leaving Ouidah for Cotonou. I really loved that Rue des Esclaves felt like a living museum. It's not just one particular spot, but a whole few kilometers stretch that ends with the Door of No Return by the Atlantic. Our first stop was at The Forgetting Tree. It was a spot where slaves were first taken. The men were made to go round the tree 9 times and the women 7 times with the objective being to get them confused about where home was, but in reality preparing them for a future where they would never know home, forget their culture and origin and not be able to unite. I know on that long stretch we passed many more heartbreaking monuments, but for me this was the one that really got me...the finality that in one moment one belonged to a certain family, clan, community and suddenly in the next moment, they would be in the middle passage - which if they survived, they would be on their way to endure unimaginable horrors and be broken to not know where home was, who they were, that they once belonged somewhere...have their names taken from them, made to forget their languages, sold and resold till kin and family became a luxury for most.. I mean, I know the word sorry is not strong enough to make up for things of such magnitude, but I want to say that I'm so so sorry for all that the sons and daughters of our continent who were sold off to slavery have endured and I am sorry for the role that we played in allowing this to happen.
As we continued down Rue des esclaves we came across the most beautiful village completely on water. Benin has quite a few of these floating villages. I couldn't help but notice just how beautiful and breathtaking the landscape on rue des esclaves was and reflecting on the fact that for many, this was the last part of the continent they saw.
We finally got to the door of no return as darkness was falling.