My daughter, Lara, and her Peace Corps Journey

panorama de Lomé Licence Catégorie:Photos du Togo

panorama de Lomé Licence Catégorie:Photos du Togo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

indexIt is 2:15 AM and where are my thoughts? In Togo. My daughter, Lara, arrived there safely last Tuesday, June 11, 2013. She spent the first days in Lomé.

Since Sunday, she has settled in with her host family for the next two months, as she learns more about the culture, the language and the customs of the people with whom she has come to share her life. The first days were a bit of adjustment, dealing with a little homesickness–if she hadn’t missed us a bit, I would have been more worried!–but now that she is with the wonderful host family she says she is happy and more at ease.

Eventually, Lara will be teaching English and Gender Equity in a middle school somewhere in Togo. Forty-four  young people, including Lara, are in the present Peace Corps group in Togo. Amazing young people out to share in another culture and widen their understanding and perspective of the world. Forty-four light beings traveling to share their talents and gifts and who will receive so much more than they can ever imagine!

To say I miss her is to put it mildly! My heart is with her on every step of the journey. I woke up at this time and she was the first person my thoughts went to, thinking is she sleeping well, is she eating, what is her day like. By now she is well on her way beginning the day.
I went to the refrigerator to get some cold water…my thoughts immediately went to her, thinking the family does not have a refrigerator. They cannot get cold water whenever they want; she cannot get a drink of cold water when she wants.

Yesterday it was 90 degrees in Wisconsin. I had the air conditioning on. It was 90 degrees in Togo, as I was able to speak to her for ten minutes via Skype and on her cell phone, the use of  which we keep at a minimum. The first two calls were less than a minute. Yesterday was the longest. We are economizing and  I think she feels a bit awkward to have a phone, in the midst of so much poverty.  Returning to the temperature–I thought, “Yes, I can live in coolness; she cannot; the family she is living with cannot. So much we take for granted, when so many in the world live without.  Now my daughter is going to experience an entirely new level of what it means to live with less things, less convenience, less water, less food.  But she will experience the intimacy of people– that is so beautiful! People who live simplicity… 1-581910_10151461320396819_1357631649_n-1 When I taught in Kenya almost 40 years ago, that was the image impressed upon my heart — the simplicity of the people. No facade. No pretense.Yes, I miss her everyday and I think about her so often throughout the day but now I know that she is happy and following her dream and she will be okay.

22 thoughts on “My daughter, Lara, and her Peace Corps Journey

  1. Chris says:

    You are a great mother and you know what a beautiful and learning part of Lara’s journey she is experiencing right now. May all go very well always for both of you!


  2. Praveena says:

    Beautiful post 🙂 Your love and care towards your daughter flows in your writing.Let her dreams comes true.


  3. What a beautiful post. You and your daughter are both very courageous, sensitive and understanding. May God protect your daughter on her wonderful way to peace and humanity with His infinite love and light, every moment.


    • Dear Mary, thank YOU so much for your many visits to my blog! Your presence encourages me so…I have been feeling very lost lately…but the writing brings me out of myself. Thank you for your wonderful thoughts and prayers for my daughter, Lara! Your prayers are a blessing to her and a comfort to me! Thank you! I love your sculptures…you have sensitivity in your creations…your loveliness comes through each movement that I see in the lines of your sculptures!


      • Dear Jane, you’re most welcome, the immense love and light that you transmit by your pure thoughts and beautiful words from your kind heart, are just reflected from the hearts which they touch, through the prayers and warmest wishes, to you and Lara.
        I admire your brave heart, mothers like you are a great blessing to this world. And I just love your blog, wish I could find more time to comment and read more. Thanks to you for sharing so much love and purity, which are so needed in this world. And thanks for your encouraging and inspiring words about my sculptures, they meant so much to me.
        May God protect you and Lara every moment and on every step you take, and fill your brave hearts with serenity and peace.


      • dear Mary, your words bring tears of love and gratitude to my heart and eyes! thank you!


      • dear Jane, thanks to you! You’re a wonderful proof that angels do exist!


      • Well…that is a kind thought, thank you…though, i have a long way to go to be an angel!


  4. Jane, Lara will be fine. I hardly know anything about Togo, though she is our nearest neighbour In fact, a drive form Ghana to Togo should not take more than four hours maximum. My husband actually comes from Togo; some of the Anlo tribe from the Volta region of Ghana have lots of relatives in Togo. Years back before Independence from Britain, the borders between Ghana and Togo blurred and Anlo land stretched far beyond into Togo. So there was a plebiscite to determine the demarcation (Togo was colonised by Germany and then France) and those who would wanted to be part of new British Togoland. This later became part of the Volta region of Ghana.


    • dear Celestine, thank you for your words of reassurance. Interesting history of Togo. Colonization –I have many thoughts on that–mostly not good. I see firsthand what is has done to our indigenous Native American people. I hope this experience will give Lara the sense of we all are ONE…the Earth shared…and to give the BEST to one another. Thank you, Celestine!


  5. Best to your daughter, and what a gift she is bringing forth to the world sharing her heart.


  6. Thank you, Wildflower Women…she is receiving a great opportunity to live with others on this Earth…and I know she will be blessed with much from this experience.


  7. tigger0198 says:

    I hope that you will compile all your posts into a book for Lara. She will appreciate it. Thank you for educating all of us about living in a small African country will be like. We take far too much for granted. Your love for your daughter is expressed so well.


  8. God bless you both


  9. Best wishes to your daughter, Lara, in her new surroundings. I’m sure she has learned as you – and I – have that we are so very fortunate. The material things are less important.
    I posted a quote recently that stated “I have learned to give, not because I have too much, but because I have known the feeling of NOT having.”


  10. Judy, great quote…it says much! Walking in the shoes of others increases our awareness,,,waiting for the politicians to do this! Thank you for your kind wishes and for your many visits to my blog! I appreciate your taking time to read me and your comments!


  11. Nancy Vernon says:

    Thank you for this blog. My son is in the same group as Lara, there in Gbatopae. I am anxious, pleased for them, and preoccupied with everything that concerns them. I’m in Saint Paul, MN, where, like you, we are enjoying the long days — and I think of equatorial days — where we enjoy the heat — and I think of hotter days with no ice cream. How in the world did Lara do Skype? We have had just a little cell phone time.


    • Nancy, thank you so much for writing! I do not know how you found me, but I am so happy you did! I find great comfort in knowing another parent with a child (ok…young adult) in Togo! I echo your words! I live near Palmyra, WI. I meant that I use SKYPE to call Lara…I use their calling plan because it is 27cents a minute–cheaper than US Cellular…not the video! Unfortunately! Lara does not have computer access at this time, as far as I know. I did not even know the name of the place they were in! Lara told me it was confidential? But I am glad that you told me. I am on Facebook if you are…Jane H. Johann. I will write you at your email!


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