18 May 2009

Fast food in Togo

Hello! I hope you are doing well.

I'm in Lome today working on getting all the information to start up the administration of the Karren Waid girls' scholarships. It's all really exciting. Tomorrow I head to the new training site for the group of volunteers who will be arriving on the 6th of June.

Things have gotten pretty hectic at school with students preparing for exams, but I was finally able to get the students to read over your classes' questions. It's always amusing to hear their reactions and try to explain the cultural differences.
In response to:

Period 1—Hello from first period history class! We liked hearing about your day and the sports you play. We all play sports too. We like soccer (what you call football), basketball, riding horses, softball, volleyball, cheerleading, and tennis. We do not know what “star tennis” is—could you explain that to us? Also, we were wondering if there is fast food in any of Togo’s larger cities, like the capital. Thank you for your letters!

From the 4eme class:

Star tennis is the same as table tennis or ping pong.

Fast food

I explained fast food to them as restaurants that you can find all over the US where you can go in and quickly get food and then leave.

The students then listed what kinds of ‘fast food’ they can get.

rice, beans, salad, bread, pineapple, pate, banku (the pate of cassava), fufu, soja, millet porrige.

We find these in the market. We sit on benches and eat quickly. Sometimes we stand up to eat. We eat out of a bowl with out fingers or sometimes a spoon.

Many of the students have not been to any of the big cities yet so they wouldn’t know what is available there. So I will also answer your question myself – there aren’t any of the fast food franchise restaurants like Burger King, KFC or McDonalds here. The ‘fast food’ here is street food – women selling prepared food cheaply and quickly. At any restaurant here, even if all you want is salad, you will almost always have to wait for about 30 minutes minimum to receive your food.

But... I have seen a food place called ‘Al Donald’s’ that is painted in the same red and yellow as McDonalds – and even has a single golden arch as part of its logo!

I have yet to eat there, but I plan on getting a picture :)

Period 2—Hi, we are Ms. F’s second period class. Thank you for sharing with us how your day is structured and what you have for snacks. We liked hearing about the sports you play. We play soccer, track, horse riding, swimming, tennis, and water polo. We also like to dance! We were wondering what subjects you study at school. We study religion, math, English, literature, history and p.e. (physical education). Also, do you have any pets? We mainly have cats, dogs, fish, and birds. Some girls have horses and more exotic animals. Thank you again for writing to us!

From the 6eme class (youngest in the middle school - roughly equivalent to 6th grade)
Subjects we study: English, Math, History and Geography, Civic and Moral Education, French, Life and Earth Sciences, Physical Labor/Field Work, Agriculture, Sports.

Some of the animals we have at our houses: frog, cats, snails, dogs, mouse, ducks, bat, turkey, rabbit, goat, sheep, rat, pig lizard, horse, monkey, chicken, cockerils, crabs, parrots, crocodiles, elephants, and lions
(the last four were a joke - one of the students said his father is an elephant and everyone else chipped in from there comparing their family members to animals. It was very silly and fun)

I'll work on getting a response to the rest of the questions next week!


I've attached two photos of 'fast food' in Mission Tove

The first is of me with the ladies who come to the school to sell food at the break
The second is of a group of apprentices eating during their morning break at the local rice and beans stand.

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