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? 🙂

Trip to a waterfall

Over the weekend we made another trip into the countryside, this time it was to a fall about 30 kilometres from here.
Some of us had already been there and some local “tourist guides”, which accompanied you without asking before, wanted money at the end. At first they said that it was 500 CFA,
but at the end it was 1000 CFA per person!
They also went withus this time, althoguh we told them that we had no need for them. When there was a big argument about it, we posponed it to the end, where Abalo (one of the housemates of Tine and Falk) gave them 500 to avoid any nosebreaking.
They always only wanted money when there were white people around.
The waterfall itself was not so amazing, rather a little water dripping off a cliff, but we made the best out of it, listened to music and ate pineapple and crêpes, which we had made before.
At the end it started to rain, but we found a cave nearby, which looked like a place to pray for some people, since there were a mat and some candles.
Anyway, we stayed there, until the rain got a little weaker and then tried to get to the taxi, which was supposed to be waiting. There it started raining again, and the taxi was a little late, but it was an nice trip after all.

Jamming session and dead dogs

Over the weekend we had a farewellparty for Joe Kiki and the visitors from DeKaWoWo from Germany. It was a nice party with a lot of music – drums, guitar, saxophone and vocals.
At the end we had a jamming session, meaning, that all the musicians played together without a concept, but since all of them were professionals it sounded just great!

On monday we aeven had a pool party also with a lot of live music and midnightswimming! Awesome!

Joe Kiki is now back in Germany, and I went with him and the visitors from DeKaWoWo to Lomé, to get the my Visa.
The ride went well, although Joe’s wife had a broken leg and it was a two hours ride. Unfortunately we also hit a dog on the way, which probably did not survive.
In Lomé I first got my Visa and also those of two other volunteers. The responsible just opened the passports, as soon as I saw the pictures, I could say that it was them and he gave them to me – without an authorization or anything!

I also went into the city, but this dumb moto driver went out of town with me! Afterwards I got another driver to get me into the city – now it was a 10 kilometre ride – very refreshing.
Afterwards I went to the supermarket to get some goat cheese. It was 5 € a piece, but it was worth it after three months 🙂

On the way back 3 out of 5 police controls stopped us. At 9 o’clock I was finally home, but since Falk still got the authorization to stay for another 3 months, we still had to celebrate!

Jesus’ Visa and flight ticket

On thursday I was once again in Lomé to renew my Visa. On the ride there I sat next to a woman that was going to the court of appeals. I had no clue what the case was about, but I could as well have been about her singing – she was “singing” for 2 hours and I had to put my discman on full volume!

Before I could apply for the visa, I still had to get pictures made. In the first store they told me, that it would take 1 1/2 hours at least, so I sat down and awaited the taking of the pictures. There a mouse passed by hat seemed pretty tamed and acustomed to humans. I asked te owner, if it was his pet. He was exploding: “A MOUSE??!!” and started beating it to death.
When it was dead, turned to me and said: “Are you ready?” (he probably still took care of the mouse later on).
After he had taken two pictures of me, he said that I could still go for a walk. I thought that 1 1/2 hours would be a little much, so I asked the next shop owner, where I could make some pictures real quick. He said that at his place, the least would also be 1 1/2 hours, but there would be another place where it took only about 20 mintes.
In the end it took only three minutes – for the same price! From there I went to the ministry of the interior to get my visa application done. The moto passed by the univerity, where the buildings looked as if they were from the 70ies (they later told me that it was build in 2000).
As we know officials, they told me to come back about 5 days later, although my last visa would already have expired by that time, so I will be an illegal immegrant until next tuesday! 🙂

I also changed the date for the flight back, because you can only book them for 330 days in advance and since I had to book before I got here….
In Lomé there are also supermekets as in America, only the prices are a little higher and there is no fresh milk 🙂 For the lunch I got a piece of cheese, which was quite awesome.

At the Togotelekom I also still had to gather some information for usage of the internet. Since the central (in Kpalimé they sent me to Lomé)was not open yet at 1pm, I had to wait until 2:30.
I did this in a bar, where the barmaid said, that my face reminded her of Jesus. OK, she did not gasp and say: “He is still alive!”, but she was not the only one, since today another man said independently the same thing. Let’s see when I can find my picture in the churches 🙂 :).

After the waiting I got into the combined central of the postal service and the Togo Telekom. There, they sent me back and forth and back again – but they also burned some cd’s for me, which I usually do not get done in a postal office. They also had screensavers with dancing aliens, but they were rather annoying, since it also had acustic support 🙂

The ride back was a whole lot betterand funny, since I had plenty of room for my legs and I it was a pleasant ride. Directly afterwards I still had to give language courses.

Language courses and America

Last night our hostfather (Claude) still wanted to talk with us. He said, that we should not worry, but he still wanted to talk with us after dinner for about 5 minutes.
We thought, taht it might be because of an unofficial farewell party the evening before, where due to a misunderstanding nobody had informed our hostparents.
But now he told us that he would go to America for more than one year, which I interpret as an emigrating. His fiancé, who has up to now been like a hostmother for us, is going with him, and a friend of the familiy, who is also
a member of Campagne des Hommes, is moving in. I already knew him beofre, but the other volunteers living with me did not even know his name until today
He would fly next saturday, but he would already go to Lomé the next day, because he still wanted to visit his family.
It was a pretty heavy shock! New new hostmother is also not as much at ease as the former one, she is acting more like a maid, but that might also be because she has no experice with volunteers and is younger than me.

Concerning that language courses, I seem to be back in business, since about 2 stundents wanted to change, one of them is the 60 years old one! So by now I have a 60 years old one and two student
– one mostly knows the grammar and the other two most of the vocabulary, at least there are only three of them!

Farewellparty, Lomé and Bank problems

Over the weekend there was a birthday on sunday morning, but I could not attent it, because I had stomach cramps and amoebas. It got better over the day and so I could got to the afternoon farewell party of Andreas
and the welcome party of Joe Kiki. He is a famous musician over here, who makes music for about 20 years now. He is a Togoian and for the uprising in 1992 one of his songs became it’s anthem.
So he had to flee and is now living in Germany but is still coming here about three times a year. That was also the case on sunday and musically he had a lot to offer!
He wrote many songs himself, but when he started at that party, his first song was a famous German one!
That night Andreas was still with us at the “La Case” and we talked all night.

On monday we were at Andreas’, because we wanted to accompay him to Lomé the next day, but the cellular network was not working. We (Falk and I) wanted to withdraw some money there, because it is not possible in Kpalimé anymore because of a order from the administration.

So we went to see Andreas in person. He lives a little bit out of town, and since no other moto was awaylable, we went there on a crossbike, but as it is the case quite often over here, we had a slight technical defect after a short period of time, the throttle was stuck! So we stopped to take a look at the problem, but after about 30 seconds another motodriver stopped to help us, and after 4 minutes even a skilled technician. After about 20 minutes everything was working again. We gave him 500 and went on.

When we arrived at Andreas’, he had just left for an internetcafé, so waited a little, which became about 2 hours, but we were talking with another volunteer who had just arrived a week earlier, so it was no problem. When Andreas returned at 10 pm, we still had the delicious rests of rice with ananas and curry (strange, that there had been anything left at all) und still looked at some pictures from his stay.
Two other africans, which had lived and worked with him, were also there.
When we wanted to get back at about midnight, the crossbike once again did not want to start, but we had it up and running again about another 20 minutes later.

So we went to Lomé this morning, since Andreas is leaving. After we arrived during the early afternoon, we ate in a restaurant, which is quite different from europe or America.
We also listened to Joe Kiki, since he had returned to Lomé – he is really a fabulous musician!
We were also at the fetish market, where they had a lot of dried animals and other voodoo stuff. The guide at first wanted 1.500 CFA from us, but at the end he said 1.500 per person.
We said that we did not have enought money with us and that we had agreed on a lower price earlier. We gave him the money and left – I think that my headache that night might be caused by hm :).

That evening there was a lot of in the city and we passed some trash dumpsm that you would not have expected between two bank headquarters.
I also got my money, but Falk was less fortunate. WIth Falk they said that they had problems with the traverlers check – although we already been at the banks headquarters!

At the end we also went to the beach, but we did not go for a swim, since there were two sewer exits at each side of us in a distance of about 50 meters.
After a nice day we returned quite exhausted at 6 pm, which took about 2 and a half hours with about 15 people in the small bus and someone always getting somewhere
Now my voice is a little weak from the smoke, but it was a nice day. Good night!

Internet, language courses and dry season

Once again a long break with writing…the 60 year old guy seems to resist his course change and since I do not have any inscriptions for my course, I will end it.

The internet seems to be quite strange through out the whole city. In none of the internetcafés you can get a connection and even on the telephone only one person can talk during a session – you cannot hear the other.

By now the dry season seems to start again, but it stays humid none the less. Is is raining less, but one can not sweat “effectivly” which is quite annoying.

Another ONG seems to be interested in the health centre also (RADI), we will see, how we can cooperate.

Now we are also doing the conception for a webpage for future volunteers, since there is very little information on Togo before you get here, except the telephone calls with former volunteers.
So the webpage is supposed give some information (also concerning the malaria prophylaxis)
I will let you now, when it is done 🙂