51% of Togolese believe in African traditional religion – or vodoo – and here in Lome, is the worlds largest vodoo market.
They believe in a supreme god, who uses lesser god’s or ancestors to control the universe. The understanding is that if these lesser god’s are appeassed, then they will send blessing and prosperity to the family. In many parts of West Africa the people believe in the presence of a cheif deity Mami Wata. She is a water spirit. When asked what she looks like many Africans believe she is like a mermaid or a water siren.
So where does this link into my blog – onboard we have a starbucks cafe. We are all very familar with the stabucks logo of a green mermaid. So if we are thinking about symbolism – what is the image of a cheif deity of vodoo doing on a Hospital ship which models the 2000 year example of Jesus? What are the mixed messages being sent to the Christian day workers from West Africa that come onabord to serve?
In Saudi Arabia the logo which shows a woman with long hair and an unvieled face was rejected as being immoral and therefore Starbucks came up with an alternative which is a crown. The solution for the Africa Mercy was to replace our cafe with the crown logo. So something which seems so innocent as a worldwide recongised logo can actually cause problems to anyone not from the west!