tranportation around the city


 Transportation in Sokode has strict heirarchal categories, like a pyramid.  Walkers are at the bottom, and they are usually women and children.  People with bicycles are one step up.  Sometimes students from wealthier families will have bikes to go to school; some men can be seen tooling around town on their bikes.  Then come the folks who have a motorcycle.  Since most roads are small and unpaved “motos” are an excellent way to get around.  Most teachers and professionals have motos.  At the top of the pyramid, and with the smallest numbers, are cars owners.  Usually these are government officials or people who work in Aid agencies  or NGOs.  (There seems to be a requirement that all NGOs have white Toyato LandCruisers. I’ve heard that this is true throughout Africa). 

Peace Corps Togo volunteers get bikes, and I spend about an hour a day on mine.    I used to love biking, but now I find it tiresome.  I arrive at most meetings sweaty and hot.  I get many strange looks as I wipe my brow or get embarrased by the pool of sweat I leave on chairs.

In a classic Catch 22, Peace Corps Togo recently started allowing volunteers to take motos on certain approved routes if they have a moto helmet.  They recognized that taking a car on most roads is impractical and some distances are too far for bikes.  But there isn’t enough  money to provide volunteers with helmets and we aren’t allowed to buy helmets with our own money. 

I’m still pedaling and sweating away.

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