09/15/04

Step by it is getting quite interesting

Since yesterday one of the employees of the Centre Culturel was sick, I typed a message for all the other volunteers, and spontaniously I was supposed to be the contact person. Later on I was also supposed to organize the bus for the trip, I have the feeling that there will be more work ahead.

Today I was supposed to order radio advertisement for the language courses we are offering ( and I am organizing). One of ht eemployees was supposed to give me the money and accompany me to the radio station, but since he was not there I went all by myself, which was also quite an interesting experience. After that I still went to the internetcafé, where I copied some sheets that are supposed to put up in the city tomorrow for advertisement.
Since my colleague of the Centre Culturel was still sick today, the meeting at 3pm concerning the theatre festival was posponed, but at 4pm I had the next reunion for “sports for the sensibilisation against HIV/Aids”. When I finally got done at 5:30 pm, I already went on to organize the bus for the trip. The evening was for nothing else than relax (until midnight, and going jogging again at 6am 😉 )

09/13/04

Yesterday was quite a usual day: (besides no jogging in the morning)
First, Falk and I went to the internetcafé, the speed was slow as usual, they could make a fortune selling coffee!
After that, Conny and I washed our clothes, by hand, of course.
Then we had lunch and I brought the pictures in order, together with Falk. (you will get to see them soon, the pictures from the preparation camp for the people doing the civil service will be there also).
Scheduled meeting with Bruno (an employée of Campagne des Hommes, who is working together with me for the “Centre Culturel”), but it was cancelled, because he had to deal with a electricity bill for the kids camp, that we had also taken part in. (He was on time though, which also did not happen very often up to now!). Therefore we (Conny, Tina and I) worked on the concept for the sports festival against Aids, that we were supposed to have the meeting on. The whole project just had be brought into an official form, we tried to do that.
Finally I still worked together with Falk on the homepage of Campagne des Hommes and had supper afterwards.
Since Tina had her birthday that day and some (me too) had scheduled an evening of stargazing on the rooftop, she did not expect the surprise party. It worked pretty well, we talked a lot and of course, gazed at the stars ;).
At 12 am I was finally asleep ( to start jogging the next morning at 6:15am 😉 ).

09/12/04

The weekend was dominated by sports and long promenades throught the countryside. On saturday we went jogging at 6 am and went for a wolk up and down the mountain, about 12 kilometres. We spent the evening in the “Afrobar”, there we had some pretty european music to dance to and it was quite nice!
On sunday we first went jogging at 5:30am, for about 30 minutes, because it was pretty humid and we went on a trip at 6:30am to the home village of one of the wood artists. There we did a little drumming, visited a Sodabi destillery, climbed the nearby mountain and learned some stuff about the old trade route of the Germans over the hill, since Ghana was on the other side. Who is not interested in history can skip the next paragraph ;).

The route, that was leading up the mountain was a former trade route of the Germans from Togo to Ghana, which is directly on the other side of the. On the summit was a watch post, to keep an eye on the traffic and be a communications relay between a post in Ghana, about 70km away, a castle on the next mountain to the south, about 80km away and the city of Kpalimé, about 40km away.
When the French occupied the country, most of the documents of the Germans where destroyed, that is why there are only oral transmissions left. Because of that it is not certain if the post was also used as a weapons depot. Right under the position of the hut the Germans found some oil and gold; to mark that place, they rolled a boulder down the mountain. But some secrets of the Germans where also well hidden. The French found a bottle with the blueprints for a bridge next to a river and built it immediately. 😉

Some, for example me, also went to the summit took a look over Ghana and made some nice pictures. The tour was between 3-5 kilometers long, we partially still had to cut our way through the woods with a machete ;).
Meanwhile the others were already back in the village to stomp some Fufu (traditional food, a luxury, because it takes a lot of time to make it). When we came back, some had already drunk some sodabi, some of them even little bit too much ;(! After that we still ate some Fufu, and were back at the bus, which had brought us there (from the drop off place we still had to walk about 30 minutes through the bush). After quite a noisy drive back home we arrived in Kpalimé at 7:30pm.

The evening I still went over to Falk, to see some pictures and videos. ;). After the following debate of about 1- 1,5 hours we were falling in our beds!

09/09/04

Let’s see! Yesterday we had a meeting with all the volunteers to decide which projects everybody can participate in. At first I missunderstood the meeting we had had the day before, where we (Bruno, the responsible for the projects, Eric, the new executive director and I) “prepared” the meeting. The following afternoon I was suddenly responsible for the meeting and the different subjects, at least I was supposed to be the discussion leader, eventually he made me one of the contact persons for possible questions. During the meeting he explained the several projects and I had to translate into German for those who did not understand it. A lot of the projects are not defined yet, and we have to make the concept, do the screening and all that stuff. One of the main things Campagne says, is that they need sponsors for a lot of things, but mainly human ressources (sounds a lot less abuse in French) and people who develop the project, so that there is something to present to the sponsors. They are not only our employers, there are a lot of project ideas that you can develop, you can even come up with your own ideas, but do something that lasts and stays long after you are gone!
That was a positive surprise for me and we already started to plan a big sports week with soccer matches and stuff like that. The topic of it would be the fight against AIDS and we will look for German sponsors. Since some of us know people in the pharmeceutical industry we are pretty confident that we will find some sponsors. 😉 The whole thing is supposed to take place in the local stadium, that can hold about 3000 people (Kpalimé is a city with about 40.000 inhabitants), so we are planning on quite a big scale ;), but the responsible for sports here has a deputy in our theatre project, so that point should be easy ;).
It might become a little much, giving evening courses twice a week, doing the theatre and the sports project, the webpage for Campagne des Hommes and maybe still English lessons in one of the local schools, but one growths at one’s responsibilities. Besides that I am also the “liason volunteer” between the other volunteers and Horace (the President of Campagne) whenever one of them is not present (I did not come up with that idea, that was Horace). I also help volunteers if they have an idea for a project. The local drumming group also sounds interesting, I will try to take part in it as well, about 3 times a week. There will be some interesting months ahead!

But there are also some relaxing ones, like yesterday:
We went to the internetcafé at 7:30pm and checked our emails or were chatting, when the monsun came and after about half an hour also the brownout that is mostly following the rain. When we decided that it was too long to wait, we put all the stuff that was supposed to not become wet in my backpack and walked home. After about 500 yards we were completely soaked, but it was fun to walk the two miles! It was quite refreshing and besides, we had not had an overhead shower for quite some time!
After that we still went to Falk’s (another volunteer’s) house and relaxed in the living room, where we enjoyed that his hostdad was the local bar owner and we got some big cokes! Since I had just picked up two new pants from the tailor, we sat there in just pants and watched the new photos. We got some pretty nice pictures there ( don’t worry, you will get to see them in about 3 weeks! 😉 So much for now, c y’all!;)

09/06/04

And the next (5) have arrived! By now we are 16 and the language teacher for the volunteers already has to work extra hours! 😉
One of the volunteers (Falk) even brought a Laptop with him, so handling the pictures might become a little bit easier! We have got to see about that one, but we have a passionate chess player more!

On friday and saturday we met two colored people in a bar, that spend a lot of mmoney there and even someon drinks for us, but they also already had a liter of the beer within an hour!One of them claimed to be a representative of the parleament of Togo, and the other one the boss of one of the few radio stations in Togo. At least the money proved it, since they spent more in three hours than a lot of people here spent in half a month. They also want to discover the local villages with us, we’ll see what is becoming of those proposals…

09/03/04

The jogging in the morning seems to become a tradition.
By now we (Peter and I) are also trying to start another tradition: playing chess every afternoon at 4pm. So far we did it two times and since we liked it, we will do it regularly.
It mostly started raining while we were playing, the first time we played during a thunderstorm, the feeling was quite fabulous! Together with a Coke or a Beer… A game lasts for about 60 to 90 minutes and since we are pretty even, it is a lot of fun.

This weekend three new ones will arrive and the lost luggage of the one of the volunteers seems to (fortunately) have reappeared!
At the moment we have brown outs every day for about 30-120 minutes because of the heavy rain. The power providers are turning off the transformators so that they do not get struck by lighning. That leads to “candle light dinners” almost every evening ;).
Only by now it seems like a monsun to me, since the rain gives a little warning of about 10 seconds, after that it is really pouring down! The sound really helps you to relax and fall asleep!

08/29/04

This morning I have been jogging for about 45 minutes together with Conny and Uscha, two other vounteers who just arrived. We seem to have started something, because tomorrow we will be about 7 to 8 volunteers and even our chef, Horace, said that he would like to join us later during the week. 😉 So far the whole thing is starting at 7:30 to 8 o’clock in the morning. After that we good cold shower and a loooooong breakfast.;).

Last night we went to the local afrobar, or I’d rather say that we stayed in the outer part facing the street. Inside they had the election of the “Miss Togo”, and we had no particular interest in that. Opposite our house there was a rap-battle at the same time, that lasted quite long, while I have been trying to sleep :). In between I had a little break due to one of the usual brown outs, but that lasted only half an hour ;(, but the jogging in the morning got me up again ;).

The, up to now, last volunteer from ICYE has now also arrived from Lomé, after waiting for her luggage that did not arrive until now. Therefore she will have to return to Lomé, which is about a 2 hour drive!
Now, after the last one of the new volunteers has just arrived, we already have news from new ones, that will arrive the next weekend. There are 3 more to come, and 3 more who applied already at EXPERIMENT, another exchange organisation, which does not have any preparational seminars, thought, and their stays only last about 3-6 months. There are going to be up to 20 Germans here at a time ;).

08/28/04

OK, so by now I also had worms, but I am pretty much done with them. Now we are preparing (mentaly) for the national holiday on Monday. There are rumors that the President will probably be here and hold a speech. When I asked a co-worker from Campagne, he said that the city is usually not cleaned so thoroughly and they repair all the street lamps. Besides that do cities that the president is coming to get a special fund for preparations! So It looks like it for shure. I will try to make some pictures.

The new volunteers have arrived! Five girls from all over Germany, of which 4 will stay for an entire year and one will go back after 6 months. We already a little party. 😉 Since I am organizing the language courses and am currently getting used to my new job in the bureau, I already found some volunteers for offering the language courses together with me. The “Centre Culturel”, where I am working has been founded for cultural exchange between Afrika and Europe. The language courses are part of that. They are especially intended for women, since they only pay half the price for the courses, which goes over three months, 1.5 hrs twice a week.
But the “Centre” is also trying to raise other projects, but it only excists for a year so far. It has already initiated a wood artists group, which is donating part of their gainings for the construction of a house for disadvantaged children, a group of drummers together with dancers (which consists mostly of wood artists) and a theaterfestival, that I already told you about earlier ;).

08/25/04

Today we had another meeting with the people who are responsible for the “Fethesco” (theater project in february). Now we are starting the search for sponsors and that will be the main objective for the moment. Some whites are always forming a group with some natives, because the chances are a lot better that way.

Horace, the president of Campagen des Hommes will hand over his job as the executive director to another person in about 2-3 months. After that he only responsible for correspondance and the volunteers. He is already trying to get Campagne recognized as an international organisation, maybe it will be a little bit quicker when he has more time. In that case we would get the renewals of our visa for free!

I am also supposed to start new language courses in English and German, but I will wait until the new volunteers arrive, because some of them might like to give such courses also.

Yesterday I have been to the hospital and in the analysis they did not find anything, so officially I am cured from malaria and amoeba, although I still do not feel good at times, but that might be because of eating a lot and the weather. 🙂

08/23/04

The camp is (finally) over! Three weeks are a little long for a kids camp and at the end nobody really felt responsible for anything anymore. Too bad. Now we will have another week of Éwécourse and getting used to the “Centre Culturel” and on August 26th there will be some other 5-6 volunteers arriving which will also stay up to one year.

At the end of the camp we still had to bring some of the kids back home to their villages. There were 2 groups and always 3 volunteers with each group. After arriving in the villages we still handed out some exercise books and pencils to the students for the upcoming schollyear. After that we still had a coke with the parentsrepresentative and the school director went right back home. The village we went to was 1.5 km away from the border to Ghana and it was a split village: half of it was on the other side of the border.