26 January 2010

Visite du chef

26 January 2010
I've just arrived at the chief's house for our expedition to Afedome - a small village that is part of the Mission Tové canton. We were supposed to leave at 7 am. This is impossible as it is 7 am and there is no car here. The chief isn't even dressed. As I arrived into the little private paillote in the inner courtyard of his house, I glimpsed him through the window - naked to the waist (possibly further, but thankfully that's all I could see). He saw me as well and grinned sheepishly.
We left at about 730, not bad considering they had to reinflate two of the four tires. A fact that made the chief both giggle and fume - he just bought the tires in Ghana last week!

We took a really tiny winding path out to this tiny village. The path would have been tiny and winding on my bike - in the car we just crushed everything for several feet on either side. I lost track of the turning early one, but I'll try to be more observant on the return trip.
We are not sitting at an itsy-bitsy primary school. There are only twelve students. It's just two paillotes. It looks like they have more bancs than pupils!

This meeting is being conducted entirely in Ewe. Occasionally Togbui (the Chief) explains a bit to me in French. He's very disappointed at the number of people who have shown up.
Apparently each quartier has created a village. The Chief wanted to bring me ot the village from his quartier - a bit of admitted nepotism.
The kids seem kinda shell-shocked. They aren't tittering or getting excited about seeing a yovo in the way I've gotten used to. I took a couple photos and then shook each of their hands to try to entice them into reacting. It was fun. Now they're smiling a little.
The breeze is cool, the sky a familiar Edinburgh gray, which is slightly confusing in contrast to the red earth and bright green farmland. The gray skiy of Edinburgh seemed a natural extension of its stone buildings and black tarred streets. The brightest spots of colour were the Lothian buses in fire-engine red. I wonder if the gray skies here will burn off into a hot day or actually deliver their promise of cooling, life-giving rain. Probably the former, but I'm still hoping.

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