Thursday, May 12, 2011

Camp Joie

Wanted to also put in a plug for an amazing project some volunteers from my training group are doing! They're trying to raise money from back home for a camp for handicapped Togolese children. Check it out here:

6 May 2011

Wow, it has been an eventful couple of weeks and you are about to get the highlights!

I’m going to be a trainer for the new volunteers coming in June. I have a week-long training in mid-May and then the new people fly into Lome on June 3. I really wanted to be a trainer so I’m super excited! I’m hoping that seeing all these fresh new faces will help to remind me how far I’ve come.

I went shopping in the marche for a duck to kill for Easter. I picked out a nice female, they tied up her feet and wings, and I put her in a bag for my 40-minute moto trek to my boyfriend’s village. When I got her home (and named her Little Lady), I felt bad about her feet and wings being tied up so we freed her to roam around an empty room. A few hours later, I went to check on her and she had escaped! After a 30-minute search, she was found wandering around village. We brought her back home and tied her to a log so she couldn’t run away again – maybe she knew her fate. Anyway, ducks are pretty cute and we didn’t have to heart to kill her ourselves, so we gave Little Lady to a friend to kill, defeather, and cook for us. We provided sides of expired canned French-style green beans and tomatoes stuffed with rice. They brought over pate rouge and “duck.” However, the “duck” tasted an awful lot like chicken, and though I can’t prove it, I think Little Lady’s still out there waddling around somewhere.

My boyfriend’s dog came home with an interesting treasure one morning. A baby goat’s head. Apparently, someone had eaten this goat but didn’t through the head far enough into the bush. The dog was so proud of his treasure, but everyone else was so grossed out, including me. I thought, “this is my life.”

There’s been a big vaccination campaign going on throughout Togo and one of my friends, a health volunteer, texted me to say she just had to “vaccinate” a voodoo doll.

Coming home from the marche in my boyfriend’s village (I spent a week there to recover from being sick), we stopped by the dispensary to greet everyone he works with. There was a giant bush rat being smoked over a fire and everyone was so proud of it. Just to say I have, I tasted it. It was actually kid of good, but it’s probably just because I’ve been in Togo for so long.

I met these missionaries in Sokode and after a wonderful lunch of roast beef, veggies, and real bread, we watched the 2011 Superbowl! Only a few months late, but I was excited anyway. Not for long because I suddenly felt achy, feverish, and overheated. Yes, I contracted le palu, or as we in America say, malaria. I started medicine immediately and felt better within an hour only to be waken in the middle of the night with a fever and chills under two blankets. I was back to normal in just a few days.

Camps will be starting in Pagala in a couple of weeks so that means electricity at the Peace Corps center all summer! It’s going to be great and I hope very productive. Also, there will be plenty of volunteers to hang out with when that village loneliness starts to creep in.

May 1st is the biggest party in Togo it seems! It’s their Labor Day and my village went all out. We had a parade, complete with moto drivers doing tricks, people singing & dancing, and inspiring speeches (about us getting electricity, yes!). After that, all the important people in village, chiefs, presidents, me?, etc. got a free drink of our choice and congratulated the party planning committee on a job well done. In the afternoon, the festivities continued with two hilarious soccer matches and a HUGE village-wide picnic. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen and I had such a blast.

The next 36 days (days left until VACATION!) are going to be really, really busy, but I’ll try to update when I can. I still miss you all terribly, but find that I’m adjusting to this crazy life here just fine. Being busy really helps. That’s not to say I don’t spend every day pining for a flushing toilet (I do), but I think I’ll make it to end. Thanks for all the letters, packages, emails, and phone calls!! I love knowing I’m not forgotten over in this remote corner of the Earth.

PS – You know the Chinese people left and took my electricity with them, but I heard a rumor that Americans are moving in next-door. I don’t believe it, of course, but anything’s possible in Togo.