Lomé and Surprise party

Due to projekts and a motorcycle for Michael we went to Lomé yesterday.
We started at 5 am and it was actually cold, but with my new coat it worked.
When we arrived, we already whitnessed a car accident. Later on we still bought
burned DVDs for 5 € a piece: Kill Bill 2, Chronicles of Riddick and Last Samurai.
They are supposed to be in English with French subtitles, we will see about that! :=)

When we came back at 8 pm, my house was full of volunteers and campagne artists, since
another volunteer is leaving today and had already planned her farewell party, but most
had forgotten about it. This one was rather quiet and nice until some (drunk) Afrikans
could not stand it anymore and turned up the volume. I wanted to go to bed anyway. 🙂

It is a little strange, but for three days, there are no cokes, nor anything other than
beer in Kpalimé and even Lomé, so probably all over Togo! I don’t drink beer
that often!

New Year and new House mates

The next morning we were told that there would still be a dinner for all the
volunteers (who were not currently travelling) and their hostfamilies in the evening.
We had salad, peas and fried bananas. It was quiet and finally a change!

Falk, Swaantje and I still wanted to watch a movie afterwards. First we watched
Kill Bill 1 ( on Falk’s Laptop). Then it got too late for Swaantje and Falk brought her back
home while I was getting some Cokes for the second movie, Blade II. While I was waiting in
the cue (the bars only seem to become crowded around this time of the year) I saw an
African with a dark coat and asked him for the price. He said that it was 7000 CFA (about
15$). I asked him where I could one of those. He said that his brother sent it to him
from Paris, but if I would give him the money, he would give it to me right off his back –
and that he did :). Now Blade II had even more style :). By the way, the black guy was
named “Bismarck”

Yesteraday I still got to know that the room next to mine will be inhabited by
two Africans who’s dad has a mission in Cameroon. They will stay for at least 6 months
and are still going to school. They are between 18 and 20. We’ll see if I feeling more
like in a family after their arrival.

X-mas and New Year’s Eve

Christmas was a little differnt here. It was a rather big party. A lot of people still
went to church, but they all went to parties afterwards. Silent night is a little rare around here :).
Campagne also had a Party, although it was mostly Bob Marley and Celine Dion playing – not quite my
type of music. Besides that, it was a party just like all the others before, nothing special. A little
disappointing.

Between Christmas and New Year’s Eve I relaxed a little, but New Year’s Eve itself was quite nice!
Some still wanted to go to church, but they were a little late and ended up in the La Case just like us.
We stayed there until 11pm, and then went on to the rooftop bar, to see if there were any fireworks
in Togo. There were none. I rejoined the others a little bit later (but still before midnight).
Before I got here, I met a Togolese who told me, that there would be spontanious invitations,
so I should bring some nice clothes. So far I had never used my Tux, so I had a little fun showing it
off to the others :).

After midnight we still looked around, if there was any other possibility to dance, but there was only
one other bar where there was something going on, but the music was too loud (at least for me).
So Niklaus, Ursula and I went to another bar a little off, where a drumming group was supposed to
perform that night, but when we arrived, it was already over. We still had a nice chat anyway – a nice evening!

Aneho, the Rich and Voodoo

On Monday morning we finally left. Of course our bus to Lomé broke down
and so we had to wait for another hour. From Lomé it were still about 30 kilometres
to Aneho, but we need 6 hours to get from Kpalimé to Aneho. (Usually 3 hours).
That night we stayed at one of the most beautiful beaches of all of Togo (not only
based on our opinion). OK; there was a phosphate pipeline on the right and people
were taking a dump a little down the beach on the left, but it was still magnificent
with waves 3 metres high and water with 30 degrees. Somehow it did not really feel like
christmas 🙂
Aneho is one of resorts for millionars and party affiliates. One side consists completely
of luxury villas and since we had the phone number of one of the housekeepers we stayed there
for 1.500 a night (3 Bucks). We had complete luxury and even a decend matrace!
On tuesday we walked a little around the village, visited the oldest church in Togo
as well as the Benin frontier. The Voodoo festival, that we had actually come for,
had already taken place the tuesday before. Apparently we have to go to Benin on the 10 of
January to see the big one.;)
So we already returned on wednesday with a pizzastop on Lomé and picking
up visa for other volunteers. The visaemployee was pretty pissed, but at least we could
relax that night in the La Case!:)

Since today is christmas Campagne is going to have a Party until dawn, not really
anything in the family and stuff. Maybe that will come on the 25 th – we will see.

Volleyball, Folklore and Peace corps

On saturday morning my Volleyball club had his “end of the year party”.
Therefore the area had to be cleaned and prepared. That meant cutting the grass with machetes and
getting it off the concrete with little simple brushes. It was actually fun, as almost everything,
that you do with the right people. Then we still played a little. First we had mixed teams, beginners and
advaenced, but after some time they exchanged all the advanced for beginners – except for me. Then they finally
noticed that would probably not have that much fun to play with kids, 14 years old at the most, and exchanged me, too.
There you can see the preference of whites again. 🙁 We still got to play later on.
Finally we started with eating, drinking and the speeches. I also had to hold one, unprepared.
I kept it short. Thanks for letting me play – happy new year! After about 45 I had to leave
because I still wanted to go on a trip to the voodoo festival in Aneho with a friend (Michael).
Unfortunately he had Malaria, so we fixed the departure for monday morning since the festival is
supposed to be on tuesday.
So I still had time for the folklore festival of another NGO, to which their volunteer (Jia) had invited me.
It was a festival for the sensibilisation about AIDS. There were also soome pretty funny plays,
e.g. a dildo demonstration or actors playing an intercourse scene! You did not have to understand
a lot of Ewe to have fun watching it :).
With Jia and her friend, who was around at that time and is working for Peacecorps (an american exchange
organisation, that is sening out volunteers for 2 years) I still went into the Crémerie
to get some ice cream (with Spaghetti and Crêpes). Afterwards Mathew (her friend)
and I still went into the internetcafé.

This morning I got up at 11:30 (hey – it’s a sunday) and already had an invitation for
lunch at 12:30. I spent it again with Jia and Mathew in the Crémerie.
Afterwards we accompanied Mathew to the bus, since he had to get back to his village.
On the way back we went into another bar together with Gregory (an new volunteer at Campagne).
Then we had supper and did not really care for going into another bar that night – La Case. 🙂

Bondparty and Millions

Since I am planning on going on a trip for a few days, I had to withdraw some money
from the bank, but it was christmas season and and a lot of people also got direct money transfers.
Most of the Togoians are very bad in calculus and the customer in front of me had just received
2000 € – 1.352.272 CFA, which he had to count (the biggest bills are 10.000)! I had to wait for
about 45 minutes.

We’ve also got a cigarette brand around here which is called Bond and had a promotion
party last night. Of course there were several prices to win and after I had been
dancing for only 20 seconds, I already had another watch around my wrist. I’ve only
got to change the battery now :).
They also had a real DJ, so the party was quite nice. Most of the others here have
no experience in mixing.
I also met two French who are travelling from village to village to work there and teach
them new agricultural methods. Country live is a little different here and so one
of them has already eaten cat (it is difficult to refuse anything in the villages).
He reminded me of the lead singer of “System of a Down” :).
Bond also had several games for their prices: one’s objective was to grab your nose,
ears and stomach as quick as possible. One of my friends, Palino, also took part in it,
but he already had to leave after the first round. At the end there was still a beer
and baguette “destruction” contest, but I was already leaving at that time.
I had only come in the first place, because my drumming group had a performance that night
and they also asked me to take part in it. I was supposed to bring my Djembe and they
even gave me a costume 🙂 A really nice night!

Drums and Tears of the Sun

The bar fire is already over for some time now, but it still smells when you walk by.
Und das nächste Projekt steht ins Haus, diesmal das Anfragen bei deutschen Baufirmen, ob sie hier unten
Material deponieren wollen, weil der Staat seit 10 Jahren zu seinen Aufträgen nicht mehr die Maschinen
stellt und seit dem nur noch ein kleiner Teil der nötigen Straßenbauarbeiten realisiert werden.
Wenn jemand Ideen oder Sponsorenvorschläge hat, her damit ! 🙂

Gestern war ich mit Michael abends wieder in der Bar ohne Dach :). Diesmal war aber auch die Gruppe da,
in der ich sonst immer trommle, war schon interessant, die oben auf einem Dach spielen und tanzen zu sehen!
Es war auch noch eine Gruppe von Finnen da, die gerade eine kleine Tour von Benin aus machten, wo sie für
zwei bzw. drei Monate Kunstprojekte durchführen. Es waren eine Fotografin, ein Bildhauer, der auch Fussballtrainer war,
eine Malerin, eine Musiklehrerin und eine, die alles macht, was übrigbleibt :). Es war noch ein nettes Gespäch,
bis ich um 23 Uhr gehen wollte. Ich ging nach unten, aber dort fing gerade ein Film an, wie es ihn hier in den Bars abends
teilweise öfters gibt. Es sitzen dann einige Unbekannte mit um den Fernseher herum und gucken bis weit nach Mitternacht.
Diesen Abend war es “Tränen der Sonne”, der unter anderem über Flüchtlinge in Nigeria erzählt und
auch andeutet und zeigt, was die ethnischen Säuberungen und jeweiligen Überfälle für folgen haben. Das ganze
war natürlich in Hollywoodmanier, aber es hat mich doch den ganzen Abend an die Elfenbeinküste erinnert, wo so etwas
auch jetzt noch passiert und es nicht immer ein Happy End gibt! Um 1 Uhr 30 bin ich dann nach Hause gegangen und hatte zum ersten
Mal einen Film komplett in Französisch geguckt und auch den grösten Teil verstanden!

Bar Tour and “Burning down the Bar”

On sutarday night we went out a little to check out the local bars. At the end we stayed in a single bar,
but it quite cool, since it was a bar on top of another one, so the music was not too loud and you could still have a
normal conversation. It was on the rooftop on the 3. floor and open, so that you could see the sky.
There was also a thunderstorm passing by in the distance, so we saw a lot of lightning, but we only got a few raindrops, so we never actually had to “take cover” :). Altogether it was a awesome night.
On the way home I still chatted with Falk and so we got to bed at 3 am.

But Falk got up again at 4 am, since it got pretty warm in his room. It was also pretty bright and after a few seconds it was clear that the adjacend bar was on fire. Half the neighbourhood was busy putting the fire out (not me, since I live too far off).
There had been a wedding scheduled in that bar for the next day, which then took place in the “La Case”. It was quite crowded, but they were still having fun. During the day we still found out that there had been three fires altogether and and at least two, but probably all of them had been laid out. Due to the local police activity it will probably be never found out who was responsible, we are in Togo after all!

Scouts, Canada again and a table

Some time ago I heard about a scout group, so I planned to visit them some time. The father of one of the members
of CdH is a boss of one of the five big regions of Togo. I met him this week and we had a little chat. He had already been
to Germany in ’89 and showed me some of his pictures – also some of the Hamburg port ->time to get sentimental again 🙂
He told me about some scouts meetings and I will probably take part in one of them.

I also constantly get to know new people that come partially from Togo, but also from all over the world.
For example a girl, who was born in China, emigrated to Germany when she was 6 and finally moved to Canada when she was 13.
Her dad thougt about going back to China, but then they had the massaker in ’89 and so they chose Canada. It’s also another chance
for me to speak English :). She is also creating the webpage for her NGO, so we’ve got something to talk about.
Her boss is at the same time a employee at the United Nations Development Program and leading the NGO, “Vivre Mieux”
(live better) together with his wife as a hobby.

By now I have also got a new table for my room which looks a whole lot more tidied up by now :).
Now I find the things that I am looking for, because before I just had a little table and the bare floor.
The new table is 2 meters times 72 cm and is still looking pretty good, let’s see how long it lasts :).

We also have weather anomalies that are even unknown to the locals, since it is raining during dry season.
It is the first time that it does that and we will see how it developes.

Typhoid fever, Farewellsarties, Canada and Lomé

OK, long time no see, so a lot happenend!
By now I also ordered a Djembe and also got it, I just did not have the time yet to try it out! Since I got a little too cold during the last trip,
I had shaking fever several times, every three days, to be exact. When I went to the hsopital for the first time on a morning directly after the incident, they found nothing,
but when I went there the second time on an evening where I still had the symptoms, I stayed there for three days, because tehy discovered that I had typhoid fever!
That is not typhus itself, since I had a vaccination for that, but a prephase. Another volunteer also had it, but for the same sickness, everybody over here has different symptoms.
Because I stayed in the hospital, I unfortunately missed the farewellparty of Tine, another volunteer who already left by now. Julia, again another volunteer aborted her stay after
three months and skipped the other three remaining. So she left with Tine, but at least I still had a week after the hospital to do some last things with them.
When I am going to Berlin to the evaluation seminar, I will stay in Berlin a few days longer, since there were some problems with the tickets and we could not postpone them any longer,
but I think that I will spend them with Tine and some other volunteers, since quite a lot of them happend to come from Berlin.

On friday the artists and some other members of “Campagne des Hommes” prepared an african evening for us to show us the african traditions and customs.
That worked quite well, since an african custom is to start everything about 45 minutes after the official start.
Alltogether it was a nice evening with a full programm from 8 to midnight or 2:30 respectivly.
It was at the same time also the last evening of Julia and Tine, who took off the next day, it is always hard to say “good by”, when you know somebody pretty well…

So today we went to Lomé – Falk, Konny, Petra, Abalo and I. The others, to get their Visa extended (except for Abalo, who happens to be Togoian by birth), me primarily to get a cap for my hair, since it is starting to bother me
because it has grown quite a lot by now. The cap thing went quite well. At first they wanted to tell me that if I wanted a bigger cap than those which were available, I would have to wait another day, but when I said that I did not have
another day and did not know when I would come back, they made the cap a little bigger right then and there – but they did not raise the price at all.

Before we still went to get some Pizza – onions and eggs – that’s what I needed after four months without it 🙂
When I helped the others apply for the Visas in the morning, I also met an American, who wanted to pick up the Visas for her and some friends. Since her French was not quite sufficiant, I helped her a little bit.
Falk, Abalo, Petra and Konny had come to Lomé with two motos, so I had to take a cab – also in this case, so I shared one with the Americans (who happened to be two people from the United States and two from Canada
who studied all in Ghana) and acompanied them to the great market. I did not have any more time, since I had to get back to the others, but I got invitations to the United States and Canada – how’s that for the beginning? 🙂