This week was French immersion week. We had a cook off on Tuesday using local cooking methods to make a meal for the judges to try and explain how we made it in French. We made Pad Thai and it was pretty fantastic, but lighting the coal fired stove is pretty challenging to do before every meal. I also understand why one of the major killers in Togo is respiratory illness since many women are inside cooking on coal stoves all day. We are going to our permanent site on Saturday next week and the only way we will be able to cook will be with the coal stoves, but when we return to Lomé to swear in as Peace Corps Volunteers at the end of August we will be able to buy gas stoves before we go to site permanently and I will most definitely be doing that. Not only for cooking, which is one of my favorite pass times in the US, but we also for boiling all the water I drink before filtering it.
Yesterday, we had to prepare and present our welcoming speech that we will say when we arrive in community, in French of course. Then today we had a language evaluation to determine our progress so far in French. I feel like I have been doing pretty well, I can pretty easily communicate on a daily basis, but I still have so much to learn when it comes to speaking French specific to community health.
Monday is a very exciting day, we finally find out where we will be living in Togo for the next two years! I can’t believe I have already lived at my training site for a month and next week I will finally see where I will be living. I will try and update where I will be, but it may not be possible until I have Internet again after I get back from my two weeks at site. Next week, we begin local language training specific to where we will be living and we meet our work counterparts for our community also known as homologues. A homologue is the person who will help me get to know my community and we will work together on projects in the community. Then on Saturday my homologue and I will travel to my new site and I will be able to see where I will be living the next two years. This is a very exciting and scary time. I will be at site for two weeks doing a community assessment to evaluate the health of the community, infrastructure, access to health care and education as well as learning from the community what projects they want me to work on for the next two years. Hopefully all will go well, but this is a process that will continue after I move to site at the end of August.