13 August 2008

Mission Tove

23 July 2008

Mission Tove is a small village. Today we walked around to every quartier to visit each chief – it took about an hour and a half, and that includes sitting down and chatting a bit with two chiefs (all the others were away working in the fields.)
There's a tabou here – people do not work in the fields on the 6th day. What I mean is, tomorrow, Thursday is a 'forbidden' day – a day of rest. Next Tuesday will be the next day of rest. Presumably the ancestors here used a six-day week – so the day of rest roughly corresponds with the Christian Sunday/Jewish Sabbath on a seven-day rotation.
It inspires me to find out the creation myth in the region – maybe the local god is so efficient that she only needed five days for creation
(so the sixth was for rest) Will have to ask about that. :)
Anyway – because no one will be in the fields tomorrow, almost the whole village was out working this morning. My homologue Da E and I will head out to do the tour again tomorrow and try to catch the other chiefs.
I was lucky enough to be assigned two homologues rather than the usual one. A homologue is a volunteer's in-country counterpart. They take responsibility for helping the volunteer settle into their village, encourage the locals to interact with the etrangere and often provide a focus for volunteer's work. During the week of post visit (now) the homologue takes the volunteer around the village to meet all the important people like the chefs des quartier, the gendarmerie, various heads of the community groupements, trade associations and/or churches.
So that is what I've been up to this week. I arrived in Mission Tove on Saturday afternoon, bought some essentials like candles (no electricity here – despite being 15K from Lome) and tomatoes and onions for dinner. My days have been spent mostly hanging out along, which is kinda nice. I need the reflective time for yoga and journalling especially after the intense frustration of trying to cook balancing a charcoal pot on a ledge. Argh. I can't wait to actually be in my own house.
Oh yes – I'm not currently in the house where I will be living for the next two years. They only found a suitable location last week, so they are currently in the process of putting bars on the windows, whitewashing, cleaning and putting in mosquito screens. Instead I've got a room in a large compound with several families. I look forward to getting to know the family of the man who owns the house – they all seem really lovely and they al speak good French, even the kids (which is notable here, where most kids I've talked to seem to only know Ewe) I've been crash-coursing in Ewe too, of course. I think my Ewe skills
are going to skyrocket as soon as I get here permanently – they will have to! It must be so hard for the volunteers who barely speak French (much less the local language!) Yuck. I hope they're all doing okay.
Having good French is really useful, but having Ewe would be fantastically useful.
Da (which basically means sister and is used to prefix most female's names as a sort of politeness). Da E and I went to the marche today – which is a night marche, very unique I'd imagine. It is tiny. There were three veggies available – tomatoes, eggplants (white tiny things) and onions – oh and some spinach-like stuff called gboma. This worries me a bit. I'm definitely going to have to get a garden and an extensive collection of canned veg going.
I bought a new pagne! It is really pretty – bright green and blue with some gold thrown in, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it yet. One of my fellow volunteers was wearing a very pretty complet the other day, maybe I'll try to get a version of that. I really need to get some trousers made – for bike riding. Just can't ride a bike in a long skirt. and short skirts are too prone to flying up and exposing my blindingly white thighs. I already have to fight the children off when they see my calves, I can't imagine trying to evade the gaggle of children that would gather to gawk at my upper legs. Ha!

music: Dante's Prayer – Loreena McKennitt
Book: Where There is No Whopper: A Peace Corps Togo Guide to Fine
Cuisine (brilliant!!! I'm totally taking this thing home with me it's

Picture is of me in the pagne complet I had made out of the pagne I
bought in Mission Tove. L (of I and L) is showing off his new complet
too- dragons!! awesome

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