Happy 4th of July to all my American friends 🙂 We’re planning on celebrating tonight as a team with patriotic songs and chocolate!
We only have 3 days left in Togo. I can hardly believe how quickly the past month has flown by. These last few days we’ll be in Lome, going to the market and visiting some touristy sites in the city. I’m sad to be done with teaching and spending time in villages but I’m planning on soaking up every moment of my life left in Africa!
Every day is full of adventure and new, fun experiences! I wanted to give you a little “taste” of African life by sharing some of the “highlight” moments of the trip, the little things that make me smile and laugh. Our African friends love to laugh and have fun! There are so many times when the intersection of two such different cultures — the food, the language, the expressions — makes life both interesting and hilarious! 🙂
- After watching our team use hand sanitizer at meals, our African friends now ask us if they too can “sanctify” their hands before eating.
- When explaining “foufou,” the traditional yam dish of Togo, we were told that it tastes best when served with “kitchen soap”. After several clarifications and much laughter, we realized that “chicken soup” was the intended phrase.
- Over time, my unofficial title has become “team leader of the white men”. I never know what the appropriate response should be…
Dish washing, African style.
- The locals think it’s so funny when we get excited about taking part in their everyday experiences like washing dishes outside, buying bananas at the market and pounding yams. They tell us – “You are now American Africans!”
- While visiting one family, one (unnamed) teammate tried to her hand at farming. Her entire audience of neighborhood children exploded into ground-rolling laughter when she vigorously attacked a patch of crops instead of weeds!
- The traffic here is absolutely crazy, as in no one ever follows any rules but somehow everyone (well, for the most part), makes it where they need to go. My favorite road trip adventure was the night we fit 22 people + luggage in the 15 passenger van to drive the steep winding road up the tallest mountain of Togo. Traveling mercies are duly appreciated!
- One of our favorite team activities is to walk to the “supermarche” for “FanMilk” – the local soft ice cream – or Nutella for breakfast, which is seriously the reason most of us are able to wake up in the morning.
- People here love Obama and are so proud that the American president is African! In the city, there is an “Obama Bar” on every corner. We’ve also seen hair salons, supermarkets and schools named after the president. There is even a village in Togo that changed its name to the Obama village!