Plan Togo West Africa

Students in Togo, West Africa, Jan. 2014Where has the time gone?!

It’s already February and my blog is seriously lacking. The silver lining is life here is getting busier and this place called Togo is feeling more and more like home.
Second semester started January 6th & I began my second round of teaching English to my Cinquieme class. Additionally, with a Togol

ese volunteer from an NGO, Plan Togo, we created a Gender class for each of the classes in the Middle School.

After the school bell rings (well, here it’s a whistle) I’m keeping busy with a Girls’ Club, English Club, and a Life Skills course with local apprentices. The dream is to continue all of the above and more. Next weekend I’ll be heading to a training with my counterpart to think about bigger projects, that’ll hopefully take my mind off of the increasing heat and, more importantly, make an impact on education and gender equality in my village.
Work aside, the most notable experience of 2014 thus far was a few Thursdays ago.
On my way back from work I stopped to greet a 52 year old, seamstress in my village, Moulika. She asked if I was free that evening and wanted to go to an event- since both of our French is minimal, I said “sure” and didn’t inquire about the specifics.
Que thirty minutes later, I’m in a bush taxi holding a live chicken on my way to what will be an all night beauty pageant, which names a contestant who will go on to compete for the Miss Togo title. And that began the whirlwind weekend with Moulika and her husband, Sonya, of celebrating what is now my new favorite holiday, Koudapaani.
The following day, Friday, was a giant feast and Saturday was filled with each village showcasing their tribal dance. The schedule: Fufu, dancing, more fufu, more dancing, etc.
Koudapaani celebrates the Tchokossi (also known as, Anufo) heritage in the Savanes region. My village is primarily made up of the two tribes, Anufo and Gam-Gam. The Anufo are generally Muslim and the Gam-Gam tend to be Christian. However, there are several tribes in my village and at least a dozen languages I’ve come across so far. Other prominent religions are Lutheran, Baptist, and Animism.For the moment I’m in the regional capitol relishing the joys of internet, electricity, and running water. Tomorrow I head back to Sagbiebou to check out how my kids do on their week of exams (fingers crossed!). But most of all, getting mentally prepared for the hot season looming around the corner.

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