Monday, December 17, 2007

dreaming of a white christmas

Well I know most of you are wondering where I’ve been…lets just say out and about. I am right now sitting in the bureau of the Peace Corps lounge. I’ve just heard the Fan Milk man toot his little horn. This signals that the ice cream cart is within range where for 100cfa a pop you can get an ice cold milk treat in a sac. The heat is too much to risk leaving the air-conditioned bureau for an ice cold treat. How I feel for that Fan Milk man trying to pedal his way through the sandy pit called Lome in search of herds of Yovos with spare pocket change. One things for sure in Togo since I’ve been here. They are not starving.

At least in my region. In joining the Peace Corps I had these ideas of going to sub-saharan West Africa to help the starving children. Well not exactly but most people do have those ideas. I can honestly tell you from what I’ve seen there may not be a well balanced diet, but they are not suffering to the extent that you see on tv infomercials. It’s not that I am here to bring these people up from the depths of poverty and I am now understanding that I am really here on a cultural exchange. So as long as I reach someone and connect with my village…I will in part be doing my job.

Life in village is fine and all but lately I have been kind of fed up with a whole lot of people. The gens have been a bit too much lately. You sure can’t hide from anyone in my village and most often during the day when there are way too many teens out sitting on their ass doing nothing..because there really is nothing to do. Same with me… I am bored out of my gourd.

I have however started to formulate some idea of whay work I may be able to accomplish in village…and as time passes maybe I’ll be able to get things up and running..but as for now I am awaiting the Holiday season with Wil in tow…he arrives tout suite!!


Update: 12-16

So Wil arrives in days now and so crazy it’s been about 6 months since we parted. I can’t imagine having to go another 6 months but that’s life..I will cherish the time we will get to spend together over the holidays even if it is 12 days short-lived. I talked to him the other night to get flight info and I can just see me jumping into his arms at the airport after trying to entertain myself with quite anticipation ….

Christmas here is hard but not as hard as I may have thought. I have decorated my house with cut snowflakes and dried pepper mistletoes…popcorn garland and some wonderfully donated twinkle lights from the Baptist missionaries. The only thing different is sweating my ass off as we enter harmattan season..the dry season here in Togo. Even though all of you are home shovelin snow …layering up and making cookies and trimming the tree…..I am trying to do just as much here. I’m even jammin’ to some good ole Christmas tunes…even though I can’t stand them most years..here you need all the reminders of the seasonal cheer you can get… The only thing missing is all that family…I am so glad to at least get Wil here with me. But it still won’t be the same without all of you. I miss you all so much..

So as for me I know I’ve mentioned earlier that village life had me on my last nerve..well it ain’t so bad lately. I feel like since I was gone for a bit with work in the capital they missed me a bit. My friends in village even want to throw a fete for when Wil gets here. I think they missed me a bit cause everyone has been more than hospitable. I even enjoy hanging out with them. I taught my omelet guy who runs a little café how to increase his menu options hoping to turn him into the next starbucks or city diner. We had a lesson in French Toast..and it was a hit. I am trying to teach him new options for what he can make with the ingredients he has on hand…so when one make egg sandwiches and omelets..you move into..french toast, quiche, develied eggs, and then throw in some new things like baked goods and cakes. He recently bough a gas oven and stove along with a fridgerator which he has yet to fully utilize so I prepared a list of questions for him to think about what he can do to get the most out of these investments. That’s the problem here..they make impulse purchases once they save whatever they can because they think automatic development comes with new appliances..humm sound like our culture too? But they need to continue thinking about how this new device is going to create revenue once they pay off the expense in purchasing it. Forward thinking is not popular here. They sit in anticipation waiting for you to tell them what to do and how to do it. That is how it goes.

So other than that ..life is the same. I have all the anticipation in the world to start my agricultural (café and cacoa) groupment on the path to Fair Trade (Commerce Equitable)…work with the artisans in Kpalime in the same manner…try to organize groupments (savings associations) among market women, some clubs with the lycee students-running-art…and all while trying to enjoy life in Togo. But the funny thing with me here is I have never felt so lazy in all my life and with such a lack of drive and motivation. I don’t know what it is about this place..can’t keep blaming it on the heat. But for some reason I am having a hard time trying to pump myself up to do anything. I miss the energy the states has..everyone in a constant progression forward. You have to try to work at these things a lot harder here while everyone sits around waiting for things to change on their own or in quiet contentment for life as it is.

I’m sorry that everytime you read my blog it seams as if quiet complaints underlind the fact that I am not enjoying life here. I do enjoy some things..other times feel I am in a prision..but I am not ready to leave..this country is forcing me to figure out things about myself ..what I want out of life and how people live outside of the little bubble of the great US of A. I am not ready to leave but hope that I can start to figure out how to increase my capacity of enjoying my time here and stop thinking of all the things I want to do and become once I leave. It’s a nice forced pause in my life since I know that if I was still in Chicago I would be running around filling my schedule with things to do. This place has slowed me down to a simple life..and I think I kinda like it. Like I’ve said before..

I’m ready for that home life…open up a bakery/café…live small and simple..without the daily grind.

Wishing you all the best this Holiday Season…I hope that Santa reaches you in good cheer….health and safety. I miss the snowflakes and gingerbread men…spicy hot cocoa from Vosges and marshmallows, sugar canes, icicle lights, smell of evergreen and even the feel of defrosting after coming in from the cold. Family and friends and giving gifts…even some of the stress associated with finding the perfect Christmas gift. Wow..my first Christmas in a place far far away…where I am still in flip flops and tank tops wiping the sweat from my brow.

6 comments:

amo1n said...
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amo1n said...
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amo1n said...

Megan,
I have been enjoying reading your blogs (and other american PC volunteers blogs as well) for a long while now. I am togolese myself (currently living in the US). I have a question for you and would greatly appreciate feedback on it: When you say - trying to figure yourself out in your last entry, I quote "this country is forcing me to figure out things about myself ..what I want out of life and how people live outside of the little bubble of the great US of A" - what do you mean? I run into so many american mates who tell me : I have yet to figure myself out - I have a hard time understanding how going off to Africa would help them to that, since they land there and realize " oh blimey- these people are not really starving out out here/ I just want to understand that, I've lived in lome my whole life and I never went farther than 120km in the northern part of the country.

vange said...

merry christmas!

i've loved reading your posts and am amazed by your life. on the drive up to mi maria and i talked about your life and what a couragous decision it was to volunteer.

i am in ludington- it is cold and grey and very very quiet today.

how amazing that will is able to be with your for the holidays!!

much love,
lavange

ps i have been known to send things to friends overseas...

Winter Garden Wolverine said...

Hope things are going well Meg!

Jodis said...

Megan, OMG I read through all your blogs. Love it! You are so good at writing. I apologize that I have not written or sent you anything. I have thought about it many times and wondered how you were doing there. I forgot that you would be posting something on blog. It looks so neat there. How was Christmas with Wil? How is he doing where he is? Have you been to visit him in the village that he lives in? Not much is new in the states here. Just working and as you said moving in warp speed. Super-bowl is this Sunday.... We will probably just watch the game and hang out. I love the pic of you and your host family. If I were to send you a package what is something you need?
Your hair is so long and dark. It looks great. Well, hopefully you took some pictures while Wil was there and you can posted them. Ok... can't wait to read more blogs. I am adding it to my favorites. Miss you.... can't wait until you are back and we can sit and you can tell me all about your great times.

Love, Jodi