… means I am tired. I usually go to bed around 8 or 9 here after my final bucket bath of the day. It is HOT and I think the heat zaps all of my energy. I take 2-3 showers each day – and by shower I mean bucket bath because we don’t have running water. I live with a family named the Gakpetos who literally wait on me hand and foot. They won’t let me lift a finger to help! Three meals each day. I think they have two people who live here and help who aren’t actually part of the family. My host father works in microfinance and speaks a little English which is really awesome sometimes. Learning French is hard! Petit a petit is what they keep saying to me, and it’s true.
The Gakpeto’s house is very beautiful and I love living here even though we mostly sit around in awkward silence since I can’t communicate yet. My father speaks great French and the mother also speaks French. French is everyone’s second language in Togo but the one most commonly spoken – esp. in big cities. There are over 40 local languages in Togo!! The big one spoken in the South is called ewe (pronounce ev-vay). I know akpe means thank you. The kids at my house speak mostly ewe although the oldest is learning French in school now.
On my walk to and from training each day I hear the “yovo song.” It goes:
Ca va tres bien, MERCI!
Yovo means white person, but really they call everyone who works with Peace Corps “yovo,” even the Togolese teachers. Sometimes it’s funny and cute, sometimes it’s really annoying, sometimes it makes me laugh, and sometimes it makes me sad.
The good: Togolese nights are beautiful. Quiet, serene, like a warm summer evening. The people are incredible – so hospitable and gracious. Very clean – they, like me, shower all throughout the day! You kind of have to with this heat and no air conditioner. Boy do I miss AC. Bucket baths are awesome for cooling you down in the middle of the day. Last good thing, the other volunteers are so much fun to be around!
The bad: There is trash everywhere on the streets + hot weather + constant rain + dirt road = smelly, muddy mess. Ok, so I love bucket baths, but not a fan of latrines. I avoid mine at all costs. For those of you not familiar – a latrine is a hole where you go to the bathroom. And yes, there are bugs in it.
No big bug run-ins yet (knock on wood) except a giant cricket that got in my room and flew right at my face. You all know I freaked out and screamed before hiding under my mosquito net, petrified that it would find a way in. I think I killed it. …I hope.