Lara, Peace Corps Volunteer, Update from Togo, West Africa

Lara giving her first speech in Anufo, Togo, West AfricaWhere has the time gone?!

It’s already February and my blog is seriously lacking. The silver lining is life here is getting busier and this place called Togo is feeling more and more like home.
Second semester started January 6th & I began my second round of teaching English to my Cinquieme class. Additionally, with a Togol

ese volunteer from an NGO, Plan Togo, we created a Gender class for each of the classes in the Middle School.

After the school bell rings (well, here it’s a whistle) I’m keeping busy with a Girls’ Club, English Club, and a Life Skills course with local apprentices. The dream is to continue all of the above and more. Next weekend I’ll be heading to a training with my counterpart to think about bigger projects, that’ll hopefully take my mind off of the increasing heat and, more importantly, make an impact on education and gender equality in my village.
Work aside, the most notable experience of 2014 thus far was a few Thursdays ago.
On my way back from work I stopped to greet a 52 year old, seamstress in my village, Moulika. She asked if I was free that evening and wanted to go to an event- since both of our French is minimal, I said “sure” and didn’t inquire about the specifics.
Que thirty minutes later, I’m in a bush taxi holding a live chicken on my way to what will be an all night beauty pageant, which names a contestant who will go on to compete for the Miss Togo title. And that began the whirlwind weekend with Moulika and her husband, Sonya, of celebrating what is now my new favorite holiday, Koudapaani.
The following day, Friday, was a giant feast and Saturday was filled with each village showcasing their tribal dance. The schedule: Fufu, dancing, more fufu, more dancing, etc.
Koudapaani celebrates the Tchokossi (also known as, Anufo) heritage in the Savanes region. My village is primarily made up of the two tribes, Anufo and Gam-Gam. The Anufo are generally Muslim and the Gam-Gam tend to be Christian. However, there are several tribes in my village and at least a dozen languages I’ve come across so far. Other prominent religions are Lutheran, Baptist, and Animism.For the moment I’m in the regional capitol relishing the joys of internet, electricity, and running water. Tomorrow I head back to Sagbiebou to check out how my kids do on their week of exams (fingers crossed!). But most of all, getting mentally prepared for the hot season looming around the corner.

Students in Togo, West Africa, Jan. 2014

Posted by Lara at 1:33 PM

How can you get in touch with me?

Get me by snail mail with:
Lara Johann-Reichart, PCV
B.P. 102
Mango, Togo
West Africa
If sending packages, you can use the address above, just keep it under 5 lbs. Letters, pictures, or food are most certainly appreciated, perhaps even slightly worshipped. Thank you!
By Phone:
From the USA, dial: 011. 228. 93.10.38.06

Care Packages

Have I mentioned how attractive and above average you are?1-1780697_10151989352621819_956186435_n 🙂 If you’re so inclined to ship a box overseas, here’s the dream:
Art supplies! Kids here love drawing but markers and paper are hard to come by. So paints, crayons, GLITTER, and brushes would be awesome.
French or English books at the elementary/pre-school level. Literacy is low throughout the village but everyone is eager to learn how to read – kids and adults, alike.
Maps, Posters, Pictures, Classroom decorations, etc.
Doritos.

Peace Corps Disclaimer

The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps.

when the rain sits still on the window sill

there is that time between…

when there is no seamless seam

when all is lost…no forever dream

there is that quiet time…with no fill

when all stands still…

when the rain sits still on the window sill…

there is that time of season

where there is no reason

every event appears like treason

there is that quiet time…with no fill

when all stands still…

when the rain sits still on the window sill…

it is within that stillness that we must go

travel deep into the snow

cleanse and breathe and give it one more show

there is that quiet time…with no fill

when all stands still…

when the rain sits still on the window sill…

… can’t reach the bottom rung

 

Bloodred Sunset

 

 


I  h
ave reached           

outwards and in                    

I  have reached           

 

beyond my sin

I  can’t gather             

the strength to reach              

the bottom rung               

no use to preach   

it all seems beyond         

my futile grasp                                 

it all seems too hard       

how long will it last

sometimes                        

we have to fall apart                

to come together            

back to start       

I do not know how                 

I feel I have nothing left           

I feel so empty…              

so bereft      

writing out

my sadness      

is all I can do       

in my blindness

writing out

my heart         

searching for you        

avoiding the dart

writing out

my heart

searching for a

solid part