Yesterday I saw a chicken become roadkill. There was an awful pop and then a quiet time while the truck passed by. Then five different people ran out into the road to claim the chicken. It was gross, but so macabre that I could only giggle uncomfortably at the scene that unfolded. The shouting and carcass-claiming of the villagers for whom the eggs of the chicken would probably be much more valuable than its body
The traffic has been ridiculously heavy ever since the bridge on the National Route collapsed. The National Route goes straight up the country and is the main artery for commercial traffic. Somewhere between Tsevie and Notse, a bridge has been washed out or collapsed- the details have so far evaded me. It’s been a particularly long rainy season. Floods have been devastating especially through the North. A few people in Soutouboua died in the flooding. It’s been an interesting lesson in news delivery in Togo. My host family doesn’t have a TV, so I haven’t personally experienced televised news. But accounts from other volunteers show that because video-cameras and film teams are so expensive, the only news that makes it onto TV is news sponsored by NGOs (or the government) that have enough money to hire a film crew. These news spots are basically publicity for the NGOs. This is not to say that the NGOs aren’t doing good work – just that there is no secondary/impartial news reporting – they just can’t afford it.
News on the radio is much more accessible to me. The main problem there is language. I have a much harder time following a disembodied voice than interacting with people. It’s something I can work on, I guess. One frustrating thing is that the “news” is usually just finishing when I sit down for a meal (my family keeps the radio in the room where I eat). Instead of news, I get to hear “la page nécrologique” – the obituaries. They present obituaries three times a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). It’s monotonous. Every family uses the same phrases: Chief ... and his family from ... with family in ..., Etats-Unis, France, etc. (they always emphasize the relatives who have left Togo – I have to imagine whether or not they are still in contact) would like to express the très sad news that our chère Madame... has died. She was called back to God on... The family will have the funeral on... the church ceremony will be at... the interment...
And under it all, a dolorous song plays, in about a 30-second loop.