http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/8015922I feel like I am always talking about how Togo is under represented by international development. This is a great read by a former PCV in Togo.
I have been hesitant to write since I came back from the US because so much happened while I was there and it was hard to process feeling like an outsider in Seattle where I have always felt so comfortable. As soon as I left the airport I remember thinking first, I have so much space with my own seat in a car and second, there are so many lights! Everything felt extravagant and unnecessary, even a shower, which I was looking forward to felt like an outrageous amount of water. A visit to Costco was simply overwhelming with enough food in one store to feed all of Togo. What really felt strange though was trying to explain my life in Togo and people being shocked by little things I don’t even think about anymore like bucket baths or transportation by motorcycle. Then not wanting to hear about the real challenges like sexual harassment and staying healthy. Fortunately my family is just weird enough to understand where I’m coming from and even ate the Togolese food I made them without complaint. Leaving again was hard, but it was easier this time knowing what to expect coming back to Togo and having so much work lined up for the next few months.
My mom, sister, and I at Ebey landing.
Work has been trucking along, we finished the community led sanitation trainings in all the neighborhoods today, and will be starting the follow up in the next few weeks. Friday I have my first meeting for Malaria Action Committee and afterwards will be traveling to Pagala for another training with all the volunteers. This time we are each bringing two work partners with us that we will be training with to improve community projects. I will be going with Eli to learn how to improve our community outreach and the midwife to plan our project to improve women’s health. Went on a hike with Eli and his family last weekend to meet with the chiefs of the villages up on the mountains. We went to discuss our project and how it could be implemented in smaller villages. The Cheifs were eager to get started and amused by the Yovo speaking Ewe. We drank Palm wine and made a plan to meet again in March.
Last Friday, I finished up my bucket bath and was greeted by children shouting ‘Elle a fait un bébé!’, went into the house to find that my neighbors dog, Akuvi, who spends most of her time at my house had given birth to her first puppy….on my bed. Rather unfortunate when you don’t have a washing machine. So I scooped her up with the baby and brought them into the kitchen on a blanket where she gave birth to 5 puppies. Wow, is it disgusting. This is after seeing many births at the clinic, but I really think they should show a dog giving birth to high school kids to really deter teen pregnancy. It was a pretty incredible experience all the same. Akuvi is back with her owner with her puppies now, but I still go to visit at least twice a day. The owner asked if I would like to carry the mama and babies around on my back in pagne like the woman do and I don’t think she realizes that’s exactly the type of crazy thing I would do.