08/19/04

By now it is for shure:
malaria and amoeba, but I am already feeling better by now. We’ll see how long I still have to take the prescriptions drugs. 😉
I am feeling better than if I had the flew, but occasionally I am feeling dizzy and have a little pain in the stomach. After I decribed my symptoms to the others, another volunteer is now also going to make a test. 🙂 For the nights I am mostly still here in Kpalimé, just to make shure. It is just a pitty that I am missing some of the action at the camp, but I would only have to supervise some exams there at the moment anyway. 🙂

08/16/04

Today I am not feeling all so well, but I hope that it will be better in a few days.

Yesterday I remembered something that I had almost forgotten:
For quite some time we should visit the mayor of the village that we had been olding our camp in, because we should at least have an official meeting.
First we went there after he had not been there the previous three times.
Same thing the 2nd time.
The third time we had a Jazzgroup playing for the kids. As a little present we gave them a bottle of Sodabi (Togoian palmliquor), which of course had to be immediately opened and emptied – together with us. Alkohol is not quite my favourite, especially not liquor. So I asked our camp chief: “Do I really have to drink that?”. He answered: “You are going to drink now!”. That is how it all began.

I am not saying now that I have been drinking a lot of liquor later on, but:
The girls could manage to get only half of a glass, while I had no chance at all – they filled up my glass until it spilled a little and told me not to spill anything since I am a male ;).

Anyway, we still had to visit the mayor and now he was there and welcomed us – with a glass of Sodabi!
Before it was always the same problem: The mayor is asleep (politely for drunk), in the shower or just came back from a long trip.Reise zurückgekommen. Anyway, he was there this time and since the politness orders one to and secondly he had to cover the smell of Sodabi he had been drinking before, we had to have a drink with him.
I thought: Ok, I still wanted to do something with the kids tonight, but that will probably have to wait – until the second round came.
Of course once again the glasses were filled up all the way, except for those of the girls (I was the only white male) and let’s say that I slept quite well that night. I still know how I got into my bed and everything, but I do not have the need for something like that again. Must have also been a nice impression for the kids, since all the guardians were a little drunk that everning.
People in Togo need even less to get drunk!

So much for my memory. This morning I have been awakened by churchbells at 4am!
Older people go to church even in the morning (apparently). We were even close enough to the church to hear the organ and since the bells had woken up all the roosters nearby we could not even think about getting some more sleep!
What a morning!

08/14/04

…and once again another volunteer less. The girl left today and we had a farewell party yesterday for her and two other girls, who are leaving on tuesday. We got two days off from the camp for that and so I could finally sleep long again and get my laundry done. Another week and the camp will be over, but first, I have to get back again…

08/10/04

A little break once again.
By now I am getting enough sleep since the kids are quite exhausted after we proposed to the animator that he should do some sports with the kids in the evening :). Now they are also quiet a whole lot earlier! By now we are getting up at seven, because we would only be waiting for the breakfeast with nothing else to do if we got up any earlier. We, that are the boys sleeping in another house little off from the kids so that we do not get all the noise they tend to produce. I feel a whole lot better in the morning by now ;).
The kids are calling and referring to me as “the pricipal” by now, but they mean it more like a joke.

This morning I had the first meeting for the “Centre Culturel”. There were 7 people present: 4 from “Campagne des Hommes”, a deputy from the department of culture, one of the department of education and sports and finally one from the department of youth. I am working as an assistant to one of the employees of “Campagne”. He told me that the meeting would last 2 hours at the most. It lasted three hours, but some of my proposals were already beeing accepted ;).

08/07/04

So the Camp has started and I have taken a daw off. I will not get enough sleep there since the progamm starts at 5 am and ends officially at about 10:30 pm, but inofficially at about 9:30 and then the kids still have to get ready for their beds; we have breakfast at about 7am ;).
We parcially sleep on strawmats, parcially on matraces; the girls got the matraces for the most part :). The schedule says that there is also a siesta after lunch, but the kids are lostly screaming and playing around that time if I get up a little later, I am weary all day, but I am not the only volunteer with that Problem.

At first I have been sharing a matrace with another animator, but when I woka up one night and my legs where between his I changed the sleeping location.There is mostly whole fish in the food, with head and everthing, so I switched to vegetarian food, as well as some other volunteers 😉

Right the first day we had a meeting where the camp coordinator delegated some chores to everybody and since he is the person that I will leading the office of the cultural center with, he made me the principal of the school, so I had to make the time tables and enroll new students, but I had some help since a lot of the names are a whole lot different from the european ones 🙂
In addition to that I also became an english teacher.I had a book for the first period, most teachers (other volunteers) didn’t, but from the story I wanted to go through we had to translate the first three sentences taking up almost an hour. Fortunately there are only fife studens, so it should not become too difficult to teach them smething. I also got a new assistent now who is a english teacher, but the with way he pronounces some words, I know why they do not understand most of my english ;(.
The camp is something like a after school help combined with a holiday camp which is quite a nice idea.

This afternoon there will be a hint chase with two groups, which had been proposed by us Germans; it is used as a substitution for a excursion where even the coordinators did not of where it should have been.

The camp will last three weeks, we will see what is coming after it, but it will pretty much drench me; I know that much.Until then I am reading a lot since I am too weary to do anything with the kids most of the time, which rather sad.

08/01/04

By now the next volunteer has arrived and she is staying for 6 months. It is nice to see people cmong since most of the other volunteers are leaving now one by one, but there are also a lot of other whites within the city. “Peacecorps” seems to be sending in some volunteers, which stay for about two weeks for preparation before they are sent off to their respective locations throughout the country. There are also some tourists here, but sometimes one can still hear the “Yovo, Yovo” which is describing the white population here. A lot of the colored people are very friendly, but some are not that serious since they see in us only a chance to learn a foreign language and a possibility to get money and presents, which is sad, but the boys are still better off than the girls since a lot of the guys ask them after some time: “Will wou marry me?”

Tomorrow we will be heading off to the camp, which will last for about three weeks.

07/31/04

We are becoming less and less. The “old” volunteers are leaving, the next ones are due on august 14th and 17th and the new one will probably arrive in the middle or at the end of august. We are currently 9 people, but we can still party pretty well ;).

Today I got new clothes, even a whole suit, but I should start looking for an Internet café that is fast enough so that I can upload my pictures.
The clothes and tissue market is quite fabulous! You can buy a bunch of tissue (called pagne) of about 1*2 metres for about 1000-4000 CFA, which is about 2-6 bucks. Then you still have to go to the tailor and for an additional 4000 CFA one can get a pair of pants and shirt. (out of 2 pagne).

My birthday passed also auite nice. For the beginning I slept auite long, after that all the “Happy Birthday” greetings and in the ening a nice party with the other volunteers. Since another volunteer also head his last day we celebrated together. From him I will take over the “centre culturel”, which is organising a theatre festival the next spring in cooperation with 19 schools and some language courses in Englisch and German regularly from wich I will probably also be leading one.
The “centre” also has a group of drum players which mostly consists of the woodworkers that are working in our yard.

On August 30th the “President” (dictator) will come to town and hold a speach. Already by now there are already some police inspections at night and you are supposed to have your passport with you. That will also be the only daay of the year on which the street lights are on.:)

07/28/04

We where on the field today and did some cutting and mowing with a machete! At 8 a.m. we started with little motorequipped bike taxis towards the field. Nice feeling, i can tell ya! At around nine we reached a place near the fields, but we still had to walk for about 20 minutes. We all got a machete und were supposed to start “gardening” which consisted of cutting herbs 1m high and trees with a stem 2 inches wide. It worked out pretty nicely with the nice “cutting tool”. Later that day some of the workers saw a snake and where terrified. We had to work around the snake and hope that it would be gone later. 😉

Constantin, another volunteer lost a lot of water and looked pretty bad since we had only brought water for a “little gardening” as we had been told. He almost passed out and so we left at around lunch time and still had a coke (0.6l). Peter did not want all of his coke and so i drank a litre of coke and am writing here now ;). Tonight I will do some drumming with blisters on my hands 😉

07/27/04

By now I am here for 2 days and started getting used to the keyboard. Tomorrow I will start working on a field to see what it looks like.

The Ewécourse is quite funny. We are three students and are alwas asking things that are way ahead in the schedule. The whole time you can hear Reggae and/or drums from outside which is rather relaxing that ennoying. Our teacher is also quite funny and we always tell him what te things are in German.

Mosquitos are a real pleague, but they mostly only come during dawn and dusk. As long as you have protection on, it not really a problem.

I have a lot of time here since the way of life here is quite relaxed. A 0.6 coke costs about 350 CFA, which is about 40 Cent, wodka is 75 CFA per litre 🙂 No panic, I won’t abuse it 🙂

It is not really a problem to sleep without a blanket, so I just do it, just alittle change, that’s all. The only problem is that the bed is too short and I touch the moquitonet on both ends, so I have to wear socks at night. 😉

07/26/04

Well guys, I am in Togo now and have to get used to this *censored* keyboard.My project is not certain yet, but I will see about that in about two weeks. Until then we are still having language courses in Ewé; which is one of the local languages, in which a lot of words, pronounced a little different have a completely different meaning.

Yesterday we had a party since two other volunteers are leaving; for us it was a nice welcome.

The flight was long, even late, but was interesting for the most part.
We had 4 hours at the Paris Airport and could not get into the city, so we had plenty of time to kill.

We are currently 10 volunteers, but a lot of them will leave during the next month or so. At the moment we also have monsum (rain season) which means that we have an average of about 2 hours of hard rain every day.

It is a little different from what we thought: the volunteers are not eating together with the family and mostly something different; the day I arrived we had spaghetti. 😉

Coke and 50Cent also exist over here and I think that they exproted all the unwanted German Folkmusic to Afrika and they are playing them here now on the air along with the Vengaboys.

So much for now, I’ll try to keep you updated.

still in Germany

I will return on June 30th, 2005.

My exchange organisation is the International Cultural Youth Exchange (ICYE), which has branches all over the world and is working together with other exchange organisations, in this case “Campagne des Hommes” in Togo.

So far I have been on a seminar for all the exchangees from northern Germany together with other international exchangees from all over the world, two from India, but the rest mostly from South America. It was fun; we a had a camp fire on three evenings and stick bread, on one we even had baked apples and tschai (special tea, cooked over the open fire)

Felix