2 July 2011
So I’m sorry that I’ve fallen off the face of the Earth. Actually, I was in Switzerland which is a much more connected place than Togo, but was too busy eating cheese and drinking fabulous wine to post on my Peace Corps blog.
So training went well. On June 3rd, I welcomed 23 clean, bright-eyed Americans to the Lome Airport. They were so excited to be here and full of questions! Me and two other trainers hung out with the new trainees for a few days in Lome and taught them about how to filter our water, the importance of taking malaria medicine, and how to use a latrine. I then went up to Tsevie with them where they met their host families and began the first leg of their service in Togo – training. They definitely started freaking out after the first couple nights and the training manager took me aside to say, “go get them drinks and talk it out!” Everyone is still here and I think they’re getting the hang of things.
After my week of training, it was off to Switzerland with my boyfriend and his family. We stayed in a beautiful chalet in a village called Leysin. We had a view of the Alps and the city and were a two minute walk from a bakery, so we had fresh breads and pastries every morning! We also ate a lot of traditional Swiss meals such as raclette and fondu. We visited lots of friends and lots of friends visited us! We also hiked around Leysin, explored Gruyere, and swam in Lake Geneva. Overall, a perfect, and much needed, vacation.
Welcome back to Togo where taxi drivers try to overcharge you and people yell “yovo” when you walk by. Did I miss this? Not really. It’s been a tough adjustment back, but luckily, I have several projects going on so I’m keeping busy.
We stayed in Lome for a day to help us adjust back and then went to Atakpame for a couple of days to see other volunteers. A few times, I almost had breakdowns.
Example 1 – went to a “nice” restaurant for brunch for a volunteer’s birthday. We were so excited to get pizza and the waiter tells us there’s no ham. Ok, no big deal, cheese pizza is great too! Oh wait, there’s no cheese? There’s no beef? What do you have? Rice, spaghetti, and cous cous. Breakdown number one.
Example 2 – make it back to Pagala and have a girl do all of my laundry. She hangs it all on the line and leaves. A few hours later ... CRASH!! The entire clothing line fell down and all of my wet, clean clothes went right into the dirt. Breakdown number two.
I’m keeping Cousteau, my boyfriend’s dog, for a few weeks and he’s so much fun! I miss having a dog, so I’m looking into getting another volunteer’s dog when he finishes his service in November/December.
July 4th, duh! Always the hostess, I just couldn’t let July 4th pass without at least a little party. So we’re grilling out hot dogs with the traditional sides of pasta salad, potato salad, etc. And for dessert, brownies and s’mores! We’re also going to do some American games, so I’ll take pictures.
July 16th – post visit party. The new volunteers are visiting their posts for a week, so we throw them a little party every year to welcome them to the region. The Centralers voted that Pagala was hosting this year, so we’re going all out. Roasting a pig in the ground and having a good ol’ Southern barbeque.
July 24th – training, again. I’ll be heading back to Tsevie to spend another week with the trainees before they swear-in and become real volunteers!
One of the only things that made coming back to Togo bearable was having packages and letters waiting for me at the post office. Thanks you guys, I could never make it here without you!