Archive for April, 2008

Oui, on peut. (?)

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

    I got a stack of Newsweeks, and I’m finding it interesting to look at the political scene in the States. Since I miss out on live events and details, I hesitate to make my preferences public. However, I can tell you about the general reaction here.

     First I should probably mention that race is noticed, remarked on, and felt deeply here. Colonialism wasn’t that long ago, and it is still the ‘whites’ with the money and power. When I visit high school classes to let them practice English, I am probably the first white person most have talked to directly. I get a lot of questions about racism in the US and about my own level of racism. “Would you marry a black man?” is a frequent question. Another question used to gage my racism is whether I support Clinton or Obama.

     Most literate Togolese know about Barack Obama and find him incredibly exciting. One teacher said, “It shows that America isn’t racist.”  I can see that a half-African candidate inspires hope in many people here – hope that the most powerful country in the world doesn’t hate blacks and Africans.  That they aren’t unknown or forgotten in their povery and struggles.  Americans might be tired of hearing about inspiration and hope when talking about Obama, but I see it here in faces and in words. People are watching us Americans, and they like what they see in Obama.

Radio show

Monday, April 28th, 2008

I’ve finally found a homologue for my radio program.  Homologue is French for counterpart, and in Peace Corps terms it means a Togolese who can work with you on a given project and help with all the cultural and language snags that come up.  A good homologue is also enthusiastic and willing to input their own ideas.

My radio show is called “English Time” and the main goal is to give people a chance to listen to a native English speaker and learn some English. 

My homologue is an English teacher who also is interested in music and video production.  He’s good at editing and splicing together the interviews I  do in English with volunteers and local students.  Additionally, he has lots of good ideas to add.  Plus, he speaks French and translates during the program, which takes a burden off my back.

I am more and more convinced that good homologues are the key to any Peace Corps project.

Lhaso dancing and drums

Monday, April 28th, 2008

More pictures from cultural week.

For new volunteers

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

Just a quick note to anyone who recently received their invitations to Togo.  Welcome.  We are looking forward to meeting you.
Don’t stress about packing.  Bring what you want.  I brought a yoga mat and I’m glad I did.

Eat lots of good food before you come.  Cheese, arugula, wine, microbrews, etc.

See you soon.

living the luxury

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

I’m in Lome for a week, working on the toolkit for the volunteers who are coming in June.

  • I have had pizza twice in the past week (my second and third time since June 2007)
  • I have had 2 hot showers (my first and second in Togo)
  • I have had relatively high speed internet.
  • I have been speaking English for the majority of my time here.

So I’m feeling luxurious.