Hugues Obiang Poitevin, also known by his Bwiti name, Tatayo, arrived in Gabon in 1971 and discovered the indigenous religion of Bwiti in 1976. In 1979, he was initiated into Fang Bwiti Dissumba. Then, in 1980, he co-founded the Association for the Promotion of Cultural Village Gabon. In 1994, after guiding nearly 70 Westerners to Gabonese villages for Bwiti initiation, Tatayo was initiated into Bwiti Missoko Ngonde na Dipouma and built his own Bwiti temple.
In 1999, following an intense Bwiti ceremony, Tatayo discovered ” Ngenza-The Spirit of the Sea,” a sacred mask that appeared between his feet in the ocean. He took this an omen and created the NGO EBANDO, and later the school of Bwiti Mboma na Ditsuala, using the most powerful and loving traditions from a variety of Bwiti ways.
In August 2005, when Tatayo was granted the right to initiate according to Fang Dissumba Bwiti, until the end of 2011, NGO EBANDO initiated 105 foreigners, as well as 30 Gabonese youth who were taken from the street to be put back in touch with their Bwiti roots, free of charge. These initiations earned the NGO about 110,000 euros, just over 1,000 euros per person on average for a three-week minimum stay. Those of you who have stayed with us know that this is not sustainable. So, how has EBANDO managed to pay the bills all these years?