18 October 2008
20 October 2008
Saturday: left for Tsevie. I ended up waiting for an hour before a car (taxi) arrived so I could go with my bike to Agoe. My brand new shorts, made as a copy of my fabulous Thai farmer’s trousers that I love, rip halfway through the journey. Big hole right in the crotch. Not going back to that tailor! I get dropped off in front of Leader Price, which is on the intersection of the road to Mission Tove and the National Route (that goes through Tsevie). Leader Price is a ‘yovo store’ – it carries items like Snickers, cheese, tea, etc. for the ex-pat community, at ridiculously inflated prices of course.
I pick up mint tea and kitty litter for my friends in Tsevie who’ve found that sand is really difficult to collect when rain is falling torrentially everyday. Besides, kitty litter smells better when soiled than sand from the street.
I get hit on by the store manager and am forced to make a vague promise to email him (he gave me his card – who has business cards in Togo, really?!?!) Then I successfully dart across the busy National Route to grab a taxi to Tsevie, my bike is thrown haphazardly onto the roof of the van and I stumble in to squeeze as the fifth person in a row designed to seat three.
It’s only noon when I arrive and L and I are in the process of making bean burritos for lunch. I help roll out tortillas and cut up avocados while we chat about everything and nothing and what are we doing after PC (the most popular subject of volunteer conversations BY FAR) After lunch I and I make up a couple characters for a silly swashbuckling piratical adventure role-play.
L & I are planning to make a big soy teriyaki meal for all of us for dinner, including R and her homologue, who will be spending the night in Tsevie before heading out to Tabligbo for AIDS ride the next day.
When R and homologue show up the atmosphere gets a bit awkward – they have already eaten so the huge amount of food L & I bought and made is going to go to waste and we halfheartedly try to converse in French but R’s homologue is not particularly conversational. I tries to get them to choose where they will be sleeping and they want to be as little fuss as possible so they let her choose. Which only serves to frustrate and confuse I who just wants to be a welcoming host and feels lost when people won’t accept her generosity.
I spend considerable time being rather neurotic and debating how to get to Tabligbo – bike with R and homologue, get a taxi by myself, or go down to Lome to get a taxi with others. Weighing on this decision is my dreadful tendency to overpack. I have both bike bags nearly full, plus my camelbak backpack. Compared to R – who only have one bike bag full. Deciding that traveling in company is better than alone, I decide to bike with R and homologue and spend some time frantically overanalyzing the content of my bags:
“hmm... well I guess I only need 2 ibuprofen per day, so I can take out 4 pills...”
as if a couple pills would really make a difference.
I wish I’d gone ahead and brought everything I’d originally packed – things like a second sheet of pagne would’ve come in handy.