24 September 2008
Today the Security Director for the Peace corps came for a site visit. He arrived around 11am. I was dressed in a complet, knowing we’d be going out to see the chef du village. We discussed the site for a while and I filled out a security evaluation. I told him the only security thing I worried about was the presence of the French man who had come here to be exorcised of his violent demon. He was never aggressive, but my chats with him convinced me of his considerable insanity. Truly, I think he belongs in an institution for schizophrenia. So I did my best to avoid him and he left yesterday morning so is no longer a problem.
After the little interview at the house, we went to the chief’s “Palais Royale”. The chief is rather ill, and was receiving therapeutic massage when we arrived, so we went away to see the gendarmerie first.
The gendarmerie is all the way in Kovié, almost on the road to Noafe. I’d been to visit with my school teacher homologue back in July. The Maréchal des Logis-Chef said that if I have an emergency at any time in the day or night, he will answer his phone and respond to it. He is very enthusiastic and seems quite young to me, although I have a very hard time estimating the ages of Togolese people. The Marechal and my director spent about half an hour regaling one another with bragging stories about shooting deer when they were 10 years old with big huge rifles. I expect I was meant to be impressed, but I’m not much of a hunter or a hunter-admirer. The stories were inspired by the presence of two rather ancient rifles nonchalantly propped up against the wall in the Marechal’s office.
After the gendarmeries, we returned to the Palais Royale to see the chef. he greeted us warmly and spoke a bit about his experience working as a police officer, getting his accountancy certification in Ghana, being chosen for chef in 1976. He estimated that there are about 20,000 people in Mission Tové. Most people are farmers, in recent years with the help of Chinese experts, the farmers have explored cultivating rice on the banks of the local river. Tove is one of the few places wet enough to support rice-growing.