Monday, June 13, 2005

Greetings from Togo

Monday June 13, 2005 6 PM local time (7 hours ahead time of the west coast.)

This may be more information than you want to read - but for those or you who are interested, here is how we are doing.

We have arrived from Philly without any problems and are in "Stage" training in Lome, as opposed to Pre-Stage training in Philadelphia. It rained pretty hard as we drove in from the airport, but stopped by the time we got to our "hotel". Actually we are staying in the American School residence where teachers stay and there are a few rooms to spare. The humidity is very high (92%) and the temperature in the upper 80s in the afternoon. Our mosquito net looks like 5 fine lace table clothes stitched together hanging from the ceiling by 4 corners. Our upstairs room is pretty nice with a private bath, but (as expected) without hot water. The windows are screened and of the horizontal slat type on opposing sides of the room. But without a fan to create much airflow, we are plenty warm. After getting settled in our rooms and an official greeting from the PC Director in Togo, we went to a nearby PC favorite bar "La Regent" for beers with the director and some PC staff. Other volunteers had come to town and were there to greet us and welcome us into the "PC family".

This morning we woke up to roosters crowing at a very early hour. This evening we are listening to sounds of a 3-on-3 soccer game being played by young men on a side street closed off for the game. The side streets, here by the coast in rainy season, are not paved but made of wet sand with some rocks thrown in for texture. First impressions include women walking balancing loads on their head (like a large platter of new flip-flops), looking down at he street and finding chicken tracks as well as footprints in the sand, and noticing quite a few large old satellite dishes on roof tops of the 2 and 3 story buildings. It seems to me that Lome is less developed than Guayaquil, Ecuador based on the number of paved streets and the small number of tall buildings. But the poverty level seems about the same. There are about 1 million people who live in the city and outskirts.

We got more shots and medical training today as well as a tour of the American medical facility for embassy personnel (of which there are 12 with 5 Marines to guard them) and Peace Corps (which numbers about 100 volunteers in total). We also got a language assessment test so they can group us according to our ability when we start language training on Thursday, 2 ½ hours north of Lome. Our test was short as we couldn’t say too much J. We continue to get to know the volunteers in our group better as well as the 4 experienced volunteers that are here to answer questions and help out during Stage training with cross cultural training. On Thursday we will be placed with a host family in Abade and the intensive French begins.

We walked about 8 blocks to the same bar again as last night. Played hearts and drank beer. Met some more PCVs from previous "stages".

Tuesday, June 14, 2005 11:15 am

Slept pretty well again last night. It was 83 F in our room when we went to bed and 79 F when we woke up. It’s not comfortable, but we sleep well anyway. More medical training today as well as more shots. Today covered how to use our water filter as well as how to use the stool sample preservation kit. This afternoon is cross cultural training from the experienced volunteers.

So we are doing fine and are using the internet café for the first time. Not sure what the access will be to internet cafes during training. We may have to resort to snail mail. More later

We are well and having fun.

Love to you all,

Wayne & Cate


Riggaloo said...

Good afternoon to you both! It is great to here from you and read about your new digs. It sounds like quite the relaxing vacation so far -- playing cards, drinking beers, and talking to locals. I am jealous! We hope that you will have an internet connection so that we can stay informed about what is kickin' down in Togo.

Sierra and Jesse are also in the same place in their training. They are each in seperate villages -- one in southwestern Mongolia and the other in Northeastern Mongolia.

D and I have had a relaxing last couple of days. I watched Anne of Green Gables with some of my girlfriends from church all day on Saturday. Sunday was filled with seeing a bunch of people -- Sierra's mom and boyfriend in the morning (come to pick up the truck) and then Claire and Tyler. Claire, Tyler, D, and I went to the Wingdome (chicken wings are its speciality) for dinner on Sunday (I had a veggie burger). Then, we went and saw Mr. and Mrs. Smith -- totally cute, fun, and hilarious! We had a nice little visit with both C&T. Yesterday, D went into work, and I spent the morning reading Into Thin Air . Following my relaxing morning, D and I met up with a number of my poli sci profs for a retirement party at a dive bar in the U-District... After three glasses of wine, I was finished and off to bed at 9pm. My profs, etc made a great deal of fun of me for being such a light weight ;)!

Other than that, I am trying to get somewhere with my research and D is working on his NSF proposal and a presentation for tomorrow. Dut returns home tomorrow evening (Wed) and then my folks are coming for Father's Day weekend on Friday. We will all head to a Mariners game for sure!

Ok -- that is our lil' update.

Much love to you both -- Julianna

LMW said...

Dearest Wayne and Cate - What a beautifully written blog. I could see in my mind's eye just what you were describing. It sounds hot and poor, but charming. I was surprised at how large the city was; I had expected it to be much smaller.

Dustin and Julianna both miss you very much. You are such an important part of their lives, so, it is good that they can keep in touch with you so easily. I hope that we all won't have to resort to snail mail! :) But, knowing you, Wayne, you will soon have that problem fixed.

Have you found a tailor yet, Cate? Ot is it too early to do such things. What I really hope you will soon be doing is producing your wonderful pieces of art.

We will be thinking of you two while we are in Seattle this weekend and will raise a Happy Father's Day toast to you, Wayne.

You are in our thoughts daily. Hugs - Phyllis

LMW said...

Wayne and Cate - I forgot until I posted the last blog answer to you that I was using the name that Sierra calls me - LMW (Little Mama Washington). I am using the same password, etc on both sites! It probably caught you a little off guard to see a response from an unknown person named LMW! Hugs - Phyllis