29 October 2008
On Thursday night, M, one of the teachers from the school who lives in the house behind me stopped by my house reeking of alcohol. He drinks pretty regularly, but that doesn’t make his drop-ins any more palatable. I stayed behind my locked screen door to say hello and encouraged him to go home and sleep. He made kissey faces at me and wanted me to do the same for him but I refused and insisted he go home.
When I mentioned the incident to my homologue, Da E, she told me that at some point in the late 80s/early 90s during a time of violent political unrest, M’s wife was shot by a stray bullet when she went outside to hang up laundry. He’s taken the bottle as life partner ever since.
Another teacher at the lycee is getting married on 22 Nov (and I’m invited! sweet!) T (a third teacher and the catechist for the French language “Ecole de Dimanche” Sunday School at my nearby church) made a couple jokes about the teacher marrying another man. The teacher said “I am marrying a woman but... she has a beard and has to shave.” Generally Togolese people have very little body or facial hair – so it’s particularly bizarre for a woman to have enough of a “beard” to require shaving. But in my short time here, I’ve already seen two or three woman who have chest hair – curly black hairs that reach above the collar of their shirt.