Archive for August, 2007

Lome, Togo

Friday, August 31st, 2007

Finally, a photo on_line. This is the outfit my host mother gave me. Since she is une grosse, the top had to be taken in several sizes to fit me, but it is beautiful, isn’t it. I’m with my friend Coco, before she shaved her head.

More photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ohkamala/

Officially a volunteer

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

On Wednesday, all 33 Peace Corps trainees said good-bye to our host families and caravaned down to Lome.  Saying good-bye was sad, as I have a fantastic host family who has embraced me as a friend and sister.

The official swear in ceremony was Thursday.  We dressed in our best African complets, and met at the country directors house.  The US ambassador, several Togolese ministers, and other important people like our host families were in invited.  We trainees dressed in our best new African complets and gave speeches in the local languages of our posts (not French).  The event was televised, and the hostel staff commented on the tv show this morning.  We swore to defend the constitution of the United States and now we are official volunteers.

On Monday we are driving up to our posts, our real homes for 2 years.  I know I am thrilled to begin work and to finally unpack.  I know many of you are eager to hear about the actual work I will be doing, and I hope to write about that soon.  In the meantime, one of my fellow volunteers has posted some pictures which I will refer you to get some ideas of our training experience.

http://picasaweb.google.com/david.ganske/PeaceCorpsTogo

Togolese Food

Sunday, August 5th, 2007

Before I left, many of you asked about Togolese food.  I’m quite happy with my host mother’s cooking and am pleased with the availability of fruit and vegetables at the market.  It certainly does not compare to the US, but at least I can get fresh tomatoes, onions, okra, bananas, and pineapples.  Of course, these things are only available in season.  These fresh food items are not available throughout the country. In the northern Savannes region water is more scarce and the fruit and vegetable are harder to find.

The lack of refridgeration changes how things are prepared. There is little or no dairy outside of Laughing Cow cheese (which is expensive and not widely popular).  There is also a type of cows milk cheese called wagash.  It can be boiled in salted water and then fried or served with rice and sauce.  There are plenty of peanuts and peanut butter is available.  I just have to be careful to get the kind without hot pepper added.