Sports tournament, chickens and campaigning

Ok, once again, quite some time has passed since the last entry!
The soccertournament is over by now. Here a short description of the tours in the villages:

1st day

The first day in Kpimé passed quite nice. We had a lot of audience, but after the match
it started to rain, so we could not do the movie projection that night.
Kpimé – Kpalimé FC: 1:0

2nd day

In Yoh war the intereset was a little less, but we had a success nonetheless and reached some people.
The wooden penis to show how to use a condom was also quite an attraction :).
Yoh – Yokelé: 0:1

3rd day

In Kpodzi we had an excited chicken running over the field in the middle of the game
but the projection of the movie passed calmly with a lot of interest.
Kpodzi – Gbalavé: 2:0

4th day

Since we also had a team from the town of Kpalimé, this match was held in the local stadium
There was a little commotion due to a referees decision but it handled pretty quickly and we went on.
The sheep on the field also disappeared as quickly as it had come. :).
Kpalimé FC – Kpimé: 1:1

5th day

In Yokelé we had the largest crowd with about 600 to 700 persons.
Also for the film in the evening about 400 were still present.
Yokelé – Yoh: 0:2

6th day

Gbalavé was supposed to receive Kpodzi but they had not mowed a single metre square
of their field and proposed to play in one of the neighbouring villages. According to the rules
they had to be excluded, but we said, “Hey, we have come here to teach the people something, not to play soccer!”
So we tried to organize it but apparently they had not even asked in the neighbouring village and to organize
an authorization for the afternoon it was too late – so they were excluded, since they were also the
only one who had not payed their participation fee yet – they had not made ONE SINGLE EFFORT, which is sad.
We used the afternoon to catch aup with the sensibilisation and the movie in Kpimé. It was also raining
this time, but only at the end, whn we had already succeded!
=>Win by disqualification:
Gbalavé – Kpodzi: 0:3

Finals:

The Finals took place in the stadium of Kpalimé. We had some chaotic phases but nonetheless
we succeded. After the aftermatch party I just crashed into my bad. 🙂 We had touched about 2.000 with
our sensibilisation altogether. In between we still gave interview on the radio – an interesting experience
to speak to 45.000 people at a time! 🙂

Links concerning the tournament:
first day
second day
third day
fourth day
fifth day
sixth day
Finals
others (Interview at the radio, 2x)

Today also Faure Gnassingbé shoed up for his electoral campaign in Kpalimé.
There was some commotion and heavy arguments between soldiers and protesters but since Faure
is gone again I think that it will stay calm.

German Development Service, cheese and belgian lawyers

Yesterday I had been over at a friend’s from my volleyball team. He is janitor / gurdian for
the house of a belgian retired lawyer. The Belgian is living here 3 months each year.
He had already worked for “Lawyers without frontiers” in Africa and passed through here
during his stay. He fell in love with the countryside and the people and now he build a house here.
The whole neighbourhood profits from him, since it is a house open to all. The kids can study for school
at night, since his house is one of the few with electricity. Occasionally they even come at 2 am!
He even build a small studyhall next to his house now. They can also watch TV (Satellite).
The whole neighbourhood knows that if something is missing in his house it won’t be open anymore,
so there are no robbers. He is also financing a healthcare centre and collecting donations (hospital beds, etc.)
and bringing them down here.

So I talked a lot with the belgian guy and also had lunch there. We had salat and sausages!
Afterwards we still watched TV: Cartoon Network in French. – An interesting afternoon!

Today I helped a lady from the “German Development Service” (DED) to translate
documents into German (she is belgian also). She is married to a Togoian and has already worked in
Benin and the north of Togo. When we arrived, she was still having breakfast and in the end she
gave me 4 pieces of cheese – what a luxury in this country :).

The donations for the soccer project also arrived today – 1.600 € for the beginning –
and of course we already counted it, split off a part to put in a banking account and registered
the bills of the stuff already bought in Lomé the same day. (It was my duty to do the
last part as the cashier 🙂 ).

Meetings and election campaign

By now the policital climate has cooled down a little, since there are going to be elections
on the 24th of april , but the election campaigns are only starting on the ab 8th.
At least in Lomé, but also in the north of the country have always some people been killed
during the campaigns.
A member of the independent elections commission told me that the RPT (Eyadémas party)
has always exchanged members of the commission to gain votes.

The sports project is at full throttle now. Today we a meeting with all the representatives
of the villages (only 4 out of 6 were represented). Now we have to see if we exclude the others,
since it is already to late to invited new villages but we cannot wait for the lazy ones either.

Riding a bike at work and a refreshing rain

By now the preparations for the sports project are running. With Bruno (one of my
colleagues) I already went to several villages around Kpalimé to see, if there are
any soccer teams present and there are :). For our tour, we used a 125cc motocrossbike and went
around 100 kilometres over sticks and stones. The last six kilometres were even in the pouring rain on
thursday evening 🙂 we just did not want to wait any longer! When we talked to the representatives
of the village ealier, one boy always passed me candy – usually it is just the other way around :).
We also could not leave directly when we wanted to, since Bruno’s aunt was living in the village
and did not want to let him go before he had had supper at her house :).
It is fun and you can see that something is happening! Unfortunately the
bike was a little broke this morning but in Africa the most inportant skill is improvising – we
are going to get it done one way or another! :).
About Festesco: there seems to be some change! During the reelections the ministre of eduction
is going to be replaced in any case since already messed up big time not only in our case
– so the way is free again!

Canadians, Coco Beach and Uprisings


soldaten
lkw

I spent this weekend at Coco Beach, near Lomé with the canadians, who I got to know last weekend.
On friday on my way to Lomé I already saw some patrol jeeps with mounted guns and
finally arrived, a truck turned over and blocking half the road in the middle of the city.
The things looked worse than they were; besides, it is pretty normal now in Lomé.
After lunch and a few drinks with Fanny and some togolese I still gathered some information
(since I am already there…).

When the motortaxi stopped at a traffic light, where about 50 mototaxis (each with driver
and passenger) had found their way all the way to the front, a state convoi passed by and
a soldier was blocking the street. When the light turned to green for us, the drivers started
blowing their horns and shouting, since a convoi here consists of around 7 or 8 cars, not 3.
The whole situation reminded me of a soccer game, but when the soldier finally left the street,
the party really started with a lot of laughing and joking :).

That night Fanny, Emil, Martin and I went to the farewellparty of another canadian volunteer
(does this never stop?) where I also met the employees of the german embassy, who I actually
wanted to meet on monday. 🙂
They also gave me some
information concerning the current crisis.

Afterwards we still went into a disco until 4 am. The discos here are not much different
from the discos in Europe, besides the dancing rastas :). On the way back we still passed two
greedy military patrols which wanted money, since I did not have my passport with me, but also
from on of the canadians, since they did not accepted the authorized copy of his passport (all about the money!).
We sleeped in the next morning and missed the manifestation during which we were supposed
to stay at home.

That afternoon we left for Coco Beach. The night was nice with the sea, djembes (drums),
a camp fire, Canadians, French, a Nigerian and a German :).
We were about 15 persons altogether, slept in palm huts and just relaxed :).

strand

When we wanted to return back home on sunday afternoon (4 pm), the road was blocked by
the opposition, which we only noticed, because trucks started coming backwards at us!
We had to pass through a neighbourhood in which almost every street parallel to the main road
was blocked. At first it stayed calm, but when we wanted to turn back onto the main road,
a manifestant tried to throw a boulder the size of a head on the car in front of us.
While this car tried to flee and we had to evade it, the manifestant had already called upon his
colleagues to stop our car. So we found ourselves menaced by about 20 people with boulders
like the first one, screaming: “ARE YOU FRENCH?? IF YES, YOU ARE DEAD, IF YOU ARE
AMERICANS, YOU ARE OK!!”
Besides me there were fortunately only Canadians and a Nigerian in the car, but I had to
show them my passport. I was lucky that I still got it back at the end.
So we decided to return to Coco Beach but had to pass a second crowd who wanted money in
order to let us pass.
We had been one of the first cars entering the neighbourhood, we just had bad luck, but the canadians
also said that it had not been this crucial so far. If anything happens, it is still in Lomé,
thought. It stays calm in Kpalimé.

So we spent another night at Coco Beach, playing Yazee and listening to the radio. The
next morning I still got the most part of the Metal-CD-collection of one of the Canadians, since
he is leaving in three weeks and does not need them anymore :).
Right after that I returned to Kpalimé – what a weekend!

French fries and Gabun

pommes

Last night we had another campfire. We wanted to fry a chicken for some of, and french
fries for all of the volunteers :). The chicken had been slaughtered by Johannes, Constantin’s
brother (he had a relationship to that chicken – as a medical student, I hope that there
are no consequences 🙂 ).
Most of the volunteers already left at around midnight, so they did not eat too much.
So Michael, Daniel and I still fried and ate the rest of the french fries (really crispy !) – for 6 hours!
At 4 am we finally had enought and went to sleep – I had enough fries for quite some time now :).

At the same time it was the last evening for Johannes, who had only stayed several weeks
to travel with Constantin, but has become a part of the group nonetheless! This morning we
got to know that his flight has been cancelled, no clue why (political or economical reasons).

The president is now in Gabun, because he was invited there. There also reigns a dictator
who is trying to figure out, if his son can take over after his death. It all depends on the
African Union, which is still young and did not have such problems to solve yet. So this is
where it becomes clear what they are capable of. In the opinion of some the french are
supporting the regime in Togo and have always been. Maybe they had some influence…

The president does not want to let go

When Faure finally announced that he is going back to unamended constitution, meaning
that he will take care of elections within 60 days, but also
that he will stay in power until then and not hand the power over to the speaker of parliament,
it was not enough for the Westafrican Union: They raised an arms embargo, a travelban for
togolese officials, withdrew all embassadors of the Westafrican Union fom Togo and excluded
togolese officials from all offices within the union. It is still doubtfull, if the elections will be fair!

Demonstration and even more Canadians :)

At the oppositional demonstration in Lomé on saturday where about 25.000 participants,
but apparantly nobody seemed to be hurt. Since the situation is still not at ease some Canadians
from Quebec (also french – speaking) decided to take a break at Kpalimé over the weekend
We chatted a little on saturday evening and on sunday and they are spending the next weekend
at a cocospalm beach and already invited me :). Sounds like fun :).

The President is organizing elections himself and Manifestations with stationary machine guns

The president still spoke yesterday (we happend to have a black out during that time 🙂 )
and announced that he will stay in office but will organize elections himself until the end of
the 60 day period.
There has also been a demonstration in Kpalimé, some of our artists went there and
saw a stationary machine gun with sand barricades! For some time now you can also see
Jeeps with a mounted machine gun on top and a post behind it – it is really another country!!

It is not that we do not care about it, but live goes on and we are making the best
out of it. This morning we had some pancakes and they tasted as good as the european ones :).
Before I still played volleyball and afterwards we still went to the pool! 🙂

Everything takes it’s time and the new ones are not coming

By now it is for shure that the new volunteers will not come down here due to the current situation.
We do not know when the next ones will come, but we are still about 17 volunteers here.

The president has been invited to an conference with the president from Niger. Upon his
arrived he was not welcomed with all ceremonial manners, but directly taken behind closed dors.
Still he did not make any announcements about the current situation.

They called for another demonstration tomorrow. At least tomorrow it seems to be legal,
since the government is going to have one, too, so they made it legal for one day.
They are also paying 10.000 CFA (about 20 bucks) to every participant!
There is also going to be one from the opposition, which finally seems to rally for the cause,
in Kpalimé starting at 8 am.

The sport project for the sensibilisation about Aids is really starting to claim its time.
Yesterday and today we had sessions of 4 hours each. We are still working at the concept,
althoug we have several other people with us now. Still we are not done yet…