23 March 2010

Correspondence Match March 2010

Sorry that I've been quiet for so long! I've been both travelling and staying in village - both things keep me far from internet and communication with you. My best friend J came to visit me for three weeks so we went exploring. J spent some time as a child living in Ghana, so the trip here wasn't too shocking for him although it's been many years since he was in West Africa. Unfortunately his trip coincided with the hottest part of the year - it cooled off to 90 degrees at night and soared to unknown heights during the day. We found a fantastic refuge from the sun one day as we were travelling. We met up with my friend R in a city called Kpalimé - cute little
city that's well-known for its attraction to tourists and foreign volunteers because it's in a beautifully lush area full of fruits and vegetables and ... waterfalls!

We took motos half an hour outside of Kpalimé to a tiny village called Wa Me, then hiked up a long barren hillside for 3.5km before arriving at a sweet picnic area and a steep downward climb. At some point someone put in rock steps into the hillside, which helped the descent, but were also rather slippery because of the rain the night before. As we descended, the shade gathered around us, huge palm leaves
diffusing the sun's midday rays. We arrived at the bottom of the canyon and picked out way over and around trees and huge red ants to discover a lovely little waterfall that tumbled gently into a wide pool, sheltered in a cavern-like enclosure. It was a perfect little haven and the water was so cool I got goosebumps! I don't think I've ever had goosebumps in Togo outside of air-conditioned buildings.

Of course, by the time we made the steep climb back out we were hot and sweaty again, but that hour was magnificent.

The Presidential election was on March 4th and the incumbent President, Faure Gnassingbe was re-elected for a second five-year term. There were some security worries but so far nothing more dangerous than tear gas to disperse crowds. I've been completely safe and in fact spent the day of the election having two amazingly
scrumptious meals with local families wishing to show their welcome for my guest, J.

While J was here, I received a package from an International Art Exchange that I'd enrolled my students in. They created art in class - I sent off the 25 'best' (see: most representative and interesting) pieces to an NGO in the United States. We received back 25 pieces from all over the world - China, eastern europe, the caribbean, Montana.
The kids have been so excited to see all the different art- but even more interested to see all the photos of their peer artists from around the world. I'm mentioning it because I think it would be really cool if your school joined in as well. They have two rounds of exchange - one in January and one in May. I'll be entering the May one as well because half of the students I work with didn't get to participate last time, so they wanted a chance. I would highly recommend looking it up!

I hope you all are well. Looking forward to spring break? I have lots of plans, but they mostly involve working - I have to take advantage of school being out to do my non-school meetings.

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