Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Togo Top Ten

As we are getting ready to leave Togo in about a month, our thoughts are drawn to reflecting on what we have done in the last two years. So not to blow our own horn, but just to give you a better idea of where your tax dollars are going, we will list, in David Letterman style, our Togo Top Ten: (not counting experiences like eating fu-fu, doing the chicken dance, tolerating the heat, risking our lives on public transport and bonding with lots of great PC volunteers):

10. Stayed relatively healthy (in spite of living amongst malaria-carrying mosquitoes, rampant amoebas and 2 outbreaks of cholera in our town).

9. Served as Good Will Ambassadors for the USA and got to see some of Africa up close while learning there is no good recipe for Development.

8. Aided in publicizing and supporting a local Stilt Dancing Festival to help preserve traditional culture.

7. Served on the organizing committee of an annual 5-day Theater Festival for sensitizing the public on AIDS prevention and treatment, reaching 20,000 persons.

6. Facilitated courses in business and computer skills to small entrepreneurs. Created websites for four NGOs.

5. Learned enough French to communicate most of what we needed to say to survive for two years.

4. Authored grant proposals and oversaw funding sustaining two NGOs that work with people living with AIDS, including opening 2 Internet Cafes on their sites

3. Launched two “Village Savings and Loan” associations, enabling 50 entrepreneurial “market women” to save money, earn interest and make loans to themselves to improve their small businesses.

2. Shared with you the life and culture of Togo as we experienced it via our blog website and email and hosted six family member visitors.

1. Became endeared with the Togolese people, learned from them and their culture, and shared with them the life of two crazy old Americans.

We hope and assume we have made other small differences in ways we’ll never know. Perhaps they will end up being more significant than any of the above.

In the end we know that we will be taking back more than we have given. It has been a life-enhancing adventure and unforgettable journey and we have no regrets! We feel blessed to have had this opportunity with Peace Corps.

We’ll have one more email before we leave. Thanks for staying with us and having interest in our West African experience. We’ll soon be home!

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