Well, things are heating up! Not literally, the weather is actually cooling off because of raining season. But work is getting busy.
July 4th went well, but we didn’t play games. Unless you count Settlers of Catan.
Now preparing for things ahead. This week: met with a groupment to discuss growing moringa. A groupment is a group, usually comprised of women, who combine their money to buy land, crops, fertilizer, etc; grow and work together in the fields; and split the profits. Moringa is a hardy tree originally from India which Peace Corps pushes as a great alternative to multi-vitamins. The leaves are full of vitamins and, when dried and ground into a powder, can be added to food to save the lives of malnourished children and add a much-needed vitamin boost to the typical Togolese diet. The groupment and I are going to start teaching Pagala about the benefits of moringa and they are going to plant a few trees to try out. Next year, if all goes well, they want to plant a whole field of moringa and sell the leaves and the powder in the market.
My apprentice club is going well. We went from 7 girls too shy to talk to about 50 apprentices from all trades who are lively and motivated. We’ve talked about everything from their apprentice exam to condoms to marketing. I look forward to going every week and they have come so far already!
My club des meres (Mother’s Club) and I are going to be making pommade de neem on Thursday morning and preparing for our first Nettoyage du Village. Pommade de neem is a lotion people can use to prevent mosquito bites which is really important right now during rainy season and malaria season. Nettoyage du Village is going to be a village clean-up every Sunday after the Saturday market. Pagala’s market is the 5th largest market in Togo (not bad for a little village without electricity, huh?) and after the people come, they leave behind a huge mess! The club des meres and I are going out to the market, armed with brooms to clean the market and burn the trash. This is also in preparation for our big celebration the next day – African Women’s Day!
Friday is Pagala cluster’s traditional welcome party to welcome our newest cluster member – Lauren! Saturday is our regional post visit party and I spent the morning planning our somewhat American menu.
Sunday is a soccer tournament to promote clean water. The volunteers have a team and we’re playing against a team from Pagala, Waragni, and Tchere-bou. We’ll be bringing in the other village teams in bush taxis and motos, serving them lunch, and promoting water purification, hand-washing, and using pump water instead of river water. After a big party, it will be interesting to see how the volunteer team fairs, ha.
I’ll try to keep updating on the reg. Only 13 more months!