Thursday, September 2, 2010

Post Visit July 7 2010

Updates from previous posts: cooked spaghetti for my family and it turned out delicious! I don’t remember if I mentioned that people eat with their hands here, but they do. NOT with the left hand; it’s really culturally unacceptable to do anything with your left hand here, including touching food and handing people money. Anyway, the kids were so funny with the dinner. They ate it Togolese-style! So they mixed together the spaghetti with tomato sauce, green beans, and garlic mashed potatoes into one big ball and ate it with their hands. I took pictures, so will try to post them at some point.

So I’m at my post right now and laying down in my temporary room because the current PCV is still here and living in her/my house. I have been sick on and off the past couple of days and it’s really tough to stay positive mentally when you are physically ailing. I haven’t been able to eat much and can’t really keep anything in my stomach that I do eat. It sucks so bad because I have lots of things to do and lots of people to meet in my new village, but just don’t feel good enough to be out and about.

Pagala is pretty big and post visit has been good so far. The first night was really hard because it was my first night alone in Togo and I had to kill two big spiders in my room. It was also my first night without electricity so that wasn’t so easy either! The next day I woke up feeling a little better about life and had a nice morning to myself. In the afternoon, I was to a VSL (village savings & loans) meeting with Emily, the current PCV in Pagala. It was really interesting and exciting. That night other PCVs from my “cluster” came to Pagala. A cluster is the group of people in or around an area in Togo, kind of like the ‘greater Pagala region.’ We all ate street food and watched the final World Cup match in this movie-theatre like room where someone had a generator to show the game. It was 100 CFA to watch, which is $.20 in American $. Life is cheap in Africa … yesterday I bought 3 bananas for 50CFA, or $.10. I think the street food is what made me sick even though it was just rice and beans.

The next day I met the chef de canton (chef of the canton, which is like a cluster of villages). He was super nice, but it was a little awkward since my French is so pathetic. Then my homologue (counterpart), Djobo, and I walk around the village and met lots of people. We visited the ICAT, an agricultural organization, and the high school. When I got back, I was really exhausted physically and mentally even though it was only 9:30AM! I slept for a few hours before finally feeling well enough to get up and meet Emily out at this bar called Plasir’s. We discussed all of the projects she has done here, and she has done so much!! From VSLs, to youth, to health classes, to starting a library. We met a few more people and saw the post office, hospital, and library. I started feeling really sick again so came back to my room to rest. Had my first breakdown in Togo. My emotions have been fluctuating a lot in correlation to my sickness. I was just feeling so awful and have had to use my mosquito-infested latrine every time I get sick. Being sick in Togo is the worst because it is so hot and there is literally no relief from the heat.

As of now, I am feeling much better. Emily is leaving for the rest of the week so I’ll be on my own for the next few days. Luckily, Emily has done a great job introducing me to people so I feel like I will be ok. I made myself a little menu for the week and a little schedule so I hope this is the last I will see of my sickness so I can actually get some stuff done. Friday, I’m heading to Atakpame for “post visit party” and Sunday will be going back to Tsevie for 3 weeks to finish up training. Miss you guys still!

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