Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Life in Togo

I will try to give you a few glimpses into life here in Togo!!! 

 It is a tropical area, so with the rainy season, everything is beautiful and green.  The compound is in a valley, but at the base of a mountain.  We often go for walks up the mountain road behind the hospital which looks out over the valley – this was especially beautiful at sunrise!!!!

 The hospital is on a large compound that is walled in.  On one half of the compound there is the hospital building, clinic buildings, an administrative building, and a small building for the nursing school.  There is also a shelter area for patients and families to stay while waiting to travel home, or waiting for frequent clinic visits like daily dressing changes.  This is a unique area as there are only a few private rooms and the rest is common areas where they are able to sleep or have fires to cook over so they can eat.  The other half of the compound has about 8 houses, a small school building, the guest house kitchen and rooms, a pool, and a basketball court.   

 I live in a 4 bedroom house with 3 other single missionaries.  We are able to share life together, cook together, and enjoy fun movie or game nights every once in a while. There are two amazing things about living on this compound: clean drinking water, and a generator.  The water here on the compound is clean and drinkable straight from the tap.  The electricity goes off frequently, however, all you do is count to about 5 and then the generator kicks in and the electricity for the hospital and all the houses on the compound turns back on!  Only one time it has not worked, but that is very very uncommon!!! Without that, life here would be much more difficult!!! 

 Cooking is basically all from scratch, and food mostly comes from the market, a roadside stand, or picked fresh from the tree.  On the compound there are mango, orange, lemon, avocado, and grapefruit trees, so we just help ourselves to fresh fruits!!!  We have ladies who come once a week to help clean and cook - they make us some wonderful African dishes!!!

I’ve not lacked for any good food while here.  Some examples of the meals we have made are: pizza, parmesan crusted tilapia, granola and yogurt (both homemade) with fresh fruits, cinnamon rolls, avocado tacos with homemade tortillas, avocado smoothies, peanut soup and a number of other African dishes, and we have even had chocolate chip cookies!!! Peanut butter sandwiches are amazing since they are made with homemade bread and homemade peanut butter!!!  The best might have been the chocolate torte that was made for me on my birthday!!!   

 The roads through the village that I’m living in are paved, but there are huge potholes in the roads which makes for very bumpy rides.  Walking through the village or town is never an uneventful experience as all the children yell “Yova” (which is their term for a white person) and excitedly smile and wave.  Try as I might, I will never be able to blend in here =)  Watching for cars and motos swerving to avoid potholes can also makes you pay extra attention while walking down the road!

Getting clothes here consists of going to market and choosing from hundreds of brightly colored fabrics.  Then choosing a design and going to a seamstress to have it made.  A piece of cloth here is called a panya, and can be used for basically everything!!!  I’m working on list of all the uses for panyas!!!!

Life here for me does not seem that much different than life in the states.  Life for the Togolese however is very very difficult and yet they are amazingly resourceful!!!  I have a lot to learn from them!!!