Saturday, August 11, 2007

Heather~ Kate~ Megan ~ Carolyn “The fearless foursome”

Greetings from the yam capital of the world

So I am here yet again to let you know that I am still alive and kicking…kicking that is since I am in desire need to regain control of the time for myself. So when you are in “stage” as they call it here during the first three months in-country you are basically babysat and you have a “host” family to answer to. That means you will need to interact in the local language which is French with a little Ewe mixed in for good measure. I have two weeks left until I swear in as a volunteer which means that I will then be transferred to my post where I will be the only American there. Yes. that means that anything I want to do or say will then by way of the French language..a language that I have learned in a little over two months now.

Can you sense my struggle? Well it is learned bit by bit but ohh how much easier it would be to discuss business practices if I spoke the language. Enter sarcasm. That’s okay though because one can get by for a while by pointing and sprinkling the language as necessary. Oh yes…most everything is possible in Togo..but certainly not all…well not much.

Update on Health:

I just finished cleaning the infected bug bites on my legs. Right now 5 are covered with bandages…all the others are left to scab, of which there are probably about 20 on each leg and 10 on each arm.

Update: I am in Lome getting treatment for the 10 infected bites. But alas, I am fine...would love fabric bandaids of all sizes sent if possible...

I have not gotten Malaria yet and seem to be fine for the most part

I have not been able to get on a normal “potty” routine since my bowels are still confused by the massive amounts of fat and starch I consume daily.

I have gained what I think to be about 10 pounds yet feels like 50. Since I have not had the time to go running due to a number of reasons:
Heat, open sores on feet, constant fatigue, time…yes time….I will have such in 2 weeks time.

Update on Progress:

I have been assigned to a wonderful post in a small village just north of where our training is going on. It is in the plateau region which resembles what the Amazon may look like.

I am still…still tackling the French language…it will come ohh yes it will.
But wait. I will be forced to speak in 2 weeks once I get to post and am the only on there for miles around…ha ha ha ohhh geeez

I sprinkle in the local language whenever possible to entertain the community. How exciting when the “yovo” (foreigner) speaks the local dialect! You can pretty much get by with “YO” whenever you forget the rest of the salute.

I think I know what to start to work on once I arrive at post…but I really don’t. Let’s start with the youth…. “petite a petite” …..they say

Update on Cultural Affairs:

We all went to the Yam Fete this past weekend and had a blast after drinking a little “box wine” It took place in my town where the men run into the “enchanted forest” kill a goat and then run back out and dance. I was there dancing the “Cherie” dance and of course somehow managed to get on Togo Television. Can I say how excited my family is…TV is a big thing be on it is even bigger. I have yet to see the broadcast but somehow everyone saw me.

I am “Adjovi” in my town since that is the name given to girls born on a Monday. When they notice that you are gaining weight it is such a good thing that they even start to call you “Adjovi Gras” which means “fatty” Remember to be fat here is a compliment…but I am also called “Ah tee dwel dee” which is the word for toothpick in Ewe (local language)…so I must be pretty balanced.

I can take a bush taxi ride and turn it into an amusement park ride….with out the technician on duty to make sure the “ride is in working condition” So far still safe…no accidents yet though I may get hit by a moto coasting down the hill while I am walking on foot since most the time they are not minding the road.

I am a damn good bargainer when shopping in the marche and have folded many a marche mama into giving this “yovo” a good price. I think I can attest all that to my visits to the marches in China. That and since I am frugal and cheap.

I have embraced the local dress by buying the crazy cloth and designing numerous clothes out of them…sooo much fun!! Note the photos.

A word on Sanity:

Still searching on a daily basis for these things. Hard to maintain when your language skills are still developing and I need to make a list of “leave me alone” “I don’t want to speak with you” “I don’t want to eat meals made for 4 people” “I can do it alone” “sometimes you just don’t want to” “I have a boyfriend, fat chance, you can stop trying to get my attention and no I am not your “cherie””

I have 3 other girls who I have befriended to help me vent and maintain the focus needed to push on…we are there for one another from time to time. That’s what friends are for (cheesy song ..playing in my head)

Speaking of cheese if anyone sends me any I would love you eternally. Togo is without. Would love a Heritage Farms meat and cheese tray as soon as they hit the shelves for the holidays..or even a tub of Port Wine Cheddar.

My DVD player won’t work on this computer so movies are out of the question which is fine since I didn’t bring any with me anywho..but I will be fixing the computer……….anyone out there with any DVD’s to spare..send them in a padded envelope my way…
ohh and anyone out there with software to upload to fix the dvd reader please send too
I have two weeks until I am in Lome for swear-in where I will be able to ask the Ambassador what is going on in the world. It’s like I live on the moon here..I have no idea ….

Have learned that my boyfriend, Wil is withering away in Mauritania and recently got Salmonella poisoning and had to go to the hospital with other volunteers. He also smells like peanuts on a daily basis and eats nothing but rice and fish while living in an environment that could be described as looking “war-torn” I’m hoping that he will get some sense in him and have Peace Corps relocate him to Togo. Hopefully. but not at all possible…..he must make it through November before we will be able to visit.

Have yet to receive a letter from the home front………….anyone home?

Please write.

1 comment:

Maria said...

oh my god, those dresses are so beautiful!!! i love yours and the one on the girl to your right (my left).