This was a great trip and I accomplished my goal of experiencing a francophone country outside of France. I was able to see a different culture, but also use a language I already learned. This was a great experience that enabled me to see how people can think and act differently within a country and in different countries. For example, there are some people in Togo that highlight the positive influence of the French and others that disagree and cling to more traditional means or mentality.
Monday, June 4, 2012
We met two girls in the Peace Corps, Alicia and Mary, who came to the technical school with us and to lunch at the principal’s house. They had been there for a few years so they knew the local language, how to eat with your hands, and all things Togolese. It was interesting to see how they were so acclimated and used to the life style. Their project is helping a local program called PromoHandicap to “provide a basic service and education to the blind, deaf, and mute children of the Keran Prefecture in Togo, West Africa; to help alter the public opinion that these children have no value or function in society, and to provide them with a safe and secure environment to learn.” This program is important because special needs schools are usually far away and too expensive for students to attend.
In Kara, we had the chance to visit a technical high school where we were able to talk with the students about American and Togolese culture. We also surprised them with a laptop and they gave us a handmade wooden plaque a student made there for a final project. We are excited to hear back about the progress that the laptop has enabled. Before going, the principal introduced us to the prefect (which is like a mayor) of the area.
The museum in Lome included artifacts from the various regions and tribes in Togo. This was just recently established as the importance of conserving traditional culture grows with the increasing development.
Up north in Kara, we got to see a few more iconic sights of Togo. At the blacksmith, they were making the metal part of a shovel which takes a few hours to make just one!
Castle Tata is a traditional village close to the mountains where they make houses out of wood, clay, and raffia roofs. The tall mounds represent gods that are placed throughout the house in various sizes.
The plane crash memorial was to commemorate the former president who survived the crash. They left the plane exactly how it landed.
At the top of the mountain we climbed was a stone hidden in a small hut, which legend has is the foot print of the first man on earth.
The water reserve sustains the city of Kara and is not completely full until late summer.
We had a chance to see what a funeral at a mosque was like because we knew the colonial whose brother died.
On the way to Kara, we passed a mountain that was split in half in order to people to drive through.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Youki is a product made in Togo that I would compare to various flavors of Fanta. My favorite is Youki Moka. Le pate is a churned corn mixture that is put into a mold and served with a vegetable and fish sauce. Fufu is similar but is churned yam served with sauce. The fruit here is so good and fresh since it is picked and served right away. Mangoes are the group favorite and we are eating as many as we can because they definitely don’t taste the same at home. When in doubt-fry it.
"A multitude of nations, but one family"